A priority investment area in the JISC Strategy 2010-12 is helping institutions to be efficient and effective particularly through the development of their corporate and business systems. JISC’s work is intended to help institutions use technology to support their strategic priorities.
The Business Intelligence Programme is funded by JISC’s Organisational Support committee in line with its aim to work with managers to enhance the strategic management of institutions.
For the purposes of this programme the following definitions are being used:
a. Business Intelligence (BI)
Evidence-based decision-making and the processes that gather, present, and use that evidence base. It can extend from providing evidence to support potential students’ decisions about whether to apply for a course, through evidence to support individual faculty/department and staff members, teams and departments, to evidence to support strategic decisions for the whole institution.
b. Business Intelligence System (a BI system, a management dashboard)
A system that compiles and presents key internal and external information in a concise, pictorial or graphical format, to support decision-making, planning and strategic thinking. It provides easy interactive access to reliable, current, good quality interdepartmental information, when needed. It allows senior management to be confident in the integrity and completeness of the information as they move between an overview and a detailed view. Advanced BI systems provide reliable, comprehensive information to all interested parties and include flexible user-defined views for senior managers and planning staff, and fixed views for public access and other users.
JISC has recently commissioned a study into the information needs of senior managers and current attitudes towards and plans for BI within further and higher education. This study consulted with relevant sector organisations and bodies, including HESA, UCAS, the National Student Survey and the National Planners Group.
The findings of this research have been synthesised and developed into a new online resource created and hosted by JISC infoNet. This resource will form part of their existing Strategy infoKit.
JISC has commissioned 11 projects to further explore the issues encountered within institutions when trying to progress BI.
The outputs from the funded projects are likely to form part of the JISC infoNet BI resource.
The Objectives of these projects are:
- To help further and higher education institutions build BI systems which will provide senior managers with better and more timely access to accurate data resulting in improved predictions, forecasts, benchmarking and other reports in order to meet business goals
- To benchmark your institution’s current BI maturity in a number of BI data subject categories and increase that maturity
- To work with providers of BI data and suppliers of BI systems and support to enhance their understanding and offers to BI in further and higher education
- To field test core elements of the JISC infoNet BI resource in ‘real world’ settings proving, refining and demonstrating its value to other institutions
- To provide the JISC infoNet BI development team with feedback and ways by which aspects of the BI resource might be improved in the light of real-world usage. Such feedback will then be considered by JISC infoNet and used to inform any future revisions to the BI Resource
- To help raise awareness of the JISC BI resource within the sector
- To provide practical experiences and ‘lessons learnt’ which may then be considered by other institutions when using the JISC BI resource
The outcomes of these projects are expected to be:
- Validation of the new JISC infoNet BI resource
- Greater understanding of the business case for investing in BI initiatives
- Enhanced interactions between further and higher education institutions and external data asset owners and BI suppliers
- Evidence that the sector is realising benefits offered by appropriate BI for FE and HE
- Improved opportunities for benchmarking through the provision of sound BI
- Improvements in related aspects underpinning successful BI implementation such as data definitions which have been identified by the JISC infoNet study as representing a challenge within both individual institutions and across the sector as a whole to making progress with improving standards of BI (see JISC infoNet - challenges institutions and JISC infoNet - challenges sector)
- Showcase examples of emerging good practice in relation to the realisation of successful BI within an institutional context