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Enterprise Analytics: Taking Business Intelligence in New Directions

Business intelligence (BI) is not new to enterprise IT organizations, which have long provided departments with access to production data to help run their areas. Enterprise analytics, however, takes BI in new directions. Senior administration is asking for data from across the institution to make informed decisions about critical issues and services. Analytics on enterprise-wide data can be used to see patterns in large quantities of data and to support predictive modeling.

At the recent EDUCAUSE Institute Leadership Program, Ron Kraemer, VP and CIO at the University of Notre Dame, stated that institutions are increasingly interested in analytics, understanding its importance for data-driven decision making. He cited a range of factors, including imperiled endowments, that are putting many institutions under pressure to make thoughtful and careful financial decisions.

Institutions need insights into academic and administrative areas—ERP data combined with LMS data. Governance and policies must be in place with effective data definitions and data classification. A central organization, such as institutional research, partnering with central IT will help federate enterprise-wide data. Sara Gomez, associate vice president for information management at the University of Washington, is helping her institution move away from “many versions of the truth” with an enterprise data warehouse. According to Gordon Wishon, CIO at Arizona State University, dashboards are useful for increasing the consumption of data, which has become a strategic asset for higher education.

What makes a student successful? Why are students dropping out or transferring? Which students are at-risk and why, and can targeted interventions help retain those students? Are courses aligned with corporate needs? Are graduates finding jobs?

What are the costs of IT services, and how satisfied are users with those services? What nonacademic services can be outsourced to achieve cost savings? Indiana University does an annual analysis of the cost and quality of its IT services to provide a sound basis for resource allocations.

Due to its understanding of the institution as a whole, the enterprise IT organization is well positioned to take a critical role in the use of enterprise analytics to help answer these and other questions.

All indications point to analytics as being a force in helping the institution achieve its goals in major areas by measuring progress and taking steps to make corrections. Susan Grajek, vice president of data, research, and analytics at EDUCAUSE, noted that analytics is an investment in the future success of institutions. Campuses that align their governance structures, enterprise needs, and IT are on the right track.

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