NWU PeopleSoft Database Optimization

NWU PeopleSoft Database Optimization

North Western University, a leading private research and teaching institution, embarked on a critical project to assess and optimize its database system. Established in 1851 and located in Evanston, IL, NWU has been at the forefront of academic excellence for over 70 years. The project aimed to address the challenges faced by the university's database system, which is integral to managing various aspects of the university's operations.

Company Description

NWU is renowned for its commitment to research and teaching. Over the years, as the university expanded its student base and business requirements, the need for an efficient and secure database system became increasingly evident. The university's database system, which had been in use for several years without a comprehensive review, was crucial for managing human resources, student records, customer information, and supply chain operations.

The Challenge

NWU's database system was plagued with several issues, including slow query performance, data growth, security concerns, and scalability limitations. These challenges were hindering the university's operational efficiency and posed risks to data security and system scalability.

The Solution

To tackle these challenges, a comprehensive database assessment was undertaken. The project involved a detailed review of the database architecture and infrastructure. The team focused on identifying performance bottlenecks and implementing solutions to improve query response times. Security measures were evaluated and enhanced to protect sensitive data. The project also included a review of monitoring controls and thresholds, along with an enhancement of backup and disaster recovery processes. A significant part of the solution was assessing the database's scalability to ensure it could handle future growth.

Astute’s Services

Astute's role in this project was multifaceted. The team began with an initial assessment, working closely with NWU's IT and operations teams to understand the specific challenges and objectives. This phase included interviews with key stakeholders to gain insights into their needs and concerns. Following this, there was a phase of data collection and analysis, where the team examined the database's schema, data volume, query performance, security measures, and hardware infrastructure. Performance tests were conducted to identify and address bottlenecks, and a security audit was carried out to assess and improve database security measures. The team also evaluated NWU's growth projections to recommend scalability solutions and reviewed the university's data backup and recovery procedures.

Results Delivered

The project yielded significant improvements across the board. Query performance was enhanced through various optimization techniques, leading to faster and more efficient data processing. Security measures were strengthened, including the implementation of multi-factor authentication and data encryption, to safeguard sensitive information. The team proposed strategies for both horizontal and vertical scaling to accommodate future growth. A comprehensive backup and disaster recovery plan was developed to ensure data integrity and minimize downtime during critical events. Additionally, the project addressed the management of historical data and file attachments in the database and emphasized the importance of regular database maintenance and patching.


The database assessment and optimization project at NWU was not just about addressing immediate issues; it laid the groundwork for a more robust and scalable database infrastructure. This initiative led to improved operational efficiency, enhanced data security, and preparedness for future growth, thereby benefiting the university's overall performance and stakeholder satisfaction. The project underscored the importance of regular assessments and updates to the database system, ensuring that NWU's data management capabilities continue to evolve and support its expanding operations.

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