Business Intelligence Tools Go to University

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Business intelligence and universities may not seem like a right combination to explore – after all universities are not businesses, right? However, the higher education market has become fiercely competitive. Many non-Ivy universities and colleges are marketing themselves to prospective students. To succeed, educational institutions– be they colleges, universities or technical training schools – need to successfully vie for student dollars. Another area of competition in higher education sector is government and research funding. The funding dollars have become as important as (and in some cases more important than) the tuition dollars. The tremendous competition in student and faculty recruitment and retention, funding for research and programs and many other competitive factors, are forcing colleges and universities to analyze their data and use Business Intelligence tools.

 Successfully addressing these funding streams and delivering effective responses, requires access to timely and accurate student, research and operational data. Fortunately, almost all Higher Education institutions produce large quantities of such information, and are realizing that leveraging the insights within that data is crucial.

Leaders at higher education institutes are aware of the benefits of adoption of BI tools in the industries like finance & banking and Healthcare. The list of benefits to these industries include Improvement and simplification of process and operational efficiencies, Improvement in services and products, better Customer retention, improved pricing and better control over costs, and awareness of the effects of marketing strategies. So, these leaders have started adoption of Business Intelligence tools to turn data in to insights and actions.

Another main reason for growth in adoption of BI tools on higher education campuses is that most of these tools have moved away from being IT centric to being self-servicing. Newer BI models are easier to use, have simpler interfaces and can be operated and understood even by the most technologically-adverse team member in a company.

Predictive analytics is a talked-about new feature in the BI space. Being able to predict success rate of students and extra-curricular programs is a major priority for universities for optimum use of investment. This is going to be new growth area of the BI tools on university campuses.