Get a BI Boost

On-demand business intelligence makes the grade for student services.

Keith WeroshKeith Werosh is the university registrar at the National University of Health Sciences(IL), where he recently oversaw the deployment of a comprehensive student administration system. He realized the system could offer a wealth of valuable, actionable information— if only it could be accessed more easily; getting the right information to the right people at the right time could make all the difference. With this in mind, Werosh guided the implementation of, an online report-sharing platform from Business Objects, to enable “on-demand” business intelligence. Here, Werosh draws on his BI experience at NUHS and shares his Top 10 tips for creating and fostering an information-centric culture, to improve business operations and student administration.

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Build a single data repository for all student-related information.

  • Bring information from disparate applications into a single data warehouse.
  • Use this “one version of the truth” to ensure that all staff are accessing consistent and accurate data.

Use the central repository as a foundation for collaborative information sharing.

  • Make sure the data repository is accessible to authorized users across campus.
  • Encourage cross-departmental data sharing.
  • Offer reporting tools and dashboards that deliver data in easy-to-understand formats.

Pave the way for greater acceptance and adoption by identifying and satisfying your users’ particular IT and business needs.

  • In the design phase, consult with users to find out what data is most important to them, what format they want to receive it in, and how often they need it.
  • Create a BI center of excellence that includes representatives from all functional areas across the organization.
  • If necessary, leverage consultants to overcome departmental divides.

Assess your IT resources..

  • Use web-based apps to minimize internal hardware and software investments.
  • If your IT department is short-staffed, maximize the team’s productivity by selecting applications that are fast and simple to deploy.

Remember that for users, simplicity is king.

  • People are excited when they can get important information right away and by themselves, regardless of their technical expertise.
  • Choose user-friendly interfaces that are welcoming.

Warehouses ho! Think: ‘Real-time data or bust.’

  • Deliver information in real time so people can manage performance proactively.
  • Banish spreadsheets. By the time they’re completed, analyzed, and shared, the information is out-of-date.

Show executive management the benefits of improved data access.

  • Demonstrate a system that delivers a solid grasp of how the overall institution is performing at any point in time.
  • Show how staff can align their everyday work to longer-term, strategic organizational goals.

Compare your university’s performance metrics to industry norms.

  • Include both operational and student information in comparisons.
  • Analyze attrition and enrollment trends as you tailor program offerings.

Keep an eye toward the future with BI.

  • Understand how current performance metrics map to future goals.
  • Predict new business, enrollment, or educational trends.

Don’t forget the students!

  • Use BI to improve all student service operations, including registration, financial aid, and housing.
  • Leverage data to identify and resolve academic issues, helping to maximize student potential and improve graduation rates.
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