The benefits of good business intelligence to support evidence-based decision making are well known, yet there has been little join up to help institutions exploit it.
HESA and Jisc have joined forces to address this through the development of new and improved services that will enable a wide range of staff to access quality assured data sets and analysis tools to help make sound business decisions.
- Replace the HESA Higher Education Information Database for Institutions (Heidi) system with an improved production service to bring better business intelligence to a wider range of staff roles and increase capability across the education sector (working title Heidi-Plus)
- Create an experimentation area to examine new opportunities for business intelligence through cross-institutional collaborations (working title Analytics Lab)
- Provide advice, guidance and support services to allow UK education to develop improved business intelligence capabilities.
Progress so far
HESA’s Heidi Plus service launched on 30 November 2015, bringing better business intelligence to a wider range of staff roles and increased capability across the education sector.
Users can creatively analyse and generate insights from extensive and detailed HESA data sets using the latest data exploration and analytics tools. HESA’s official data on students, leavers, staff, finances, business interactions and estates will all be able to be analysed for new business insights.
Dashboards and visualisations are being developed to help answer common business questions and make it possible to generate bespoke analyses and visualisations based on HESA data sets and other sector data.
Heidi Plus is freely available to HESA subscribing HE institutions with a full HESA subscription, enabling them to gain competitive insights and inform strategic decision-making. Non-profit HE sector bodies can also subscribe to Heidi Plus as an invaluable tool for research, reporting and policy-making.
Analyics Lab (formerly referred to as Heidi Lab) is up and running and includes an experimentation area examining new opportunities for business intelligence.
Cross institutional teams from university strategic planning departments are using our new agile methodology to analyse HESA and other data sources for new business insights.
We have completed the first of three development cycles (winter 2015, spring and summer 2016). Successful data-driven insights and features in Analytics Lab may migrate into Heidi Plus.
In Analytics Lab we are working to:
- Identify and negotiate access to a wider selection of data collections not available through Heidi Plus, enabling expert analysts to gain valuable new insights that answer user generated business questions
- Provide opportunities to innovate through collaborative working, for example across planning functions
- Support improvement in sector efficiency by exploring the uploading of institutional data (safely, securely and ethically) for submission and analysis of professional services cost benchmarking data
- Explore the potential benefits learner analytics could offer
- Training, advice and support to help with the related technological and non-technological issues of implementing business intelligence strategy
Library data labs
The library data labs project is a continuation of the business intelligence project but incorporating library data to get library-specific insights. This work is also a continuation of our library analytics and metrics project (LAMP) project.
We will be working with academic libraries to explore the possibilities of using and analysing library data in conjunction with HESA data. Participants will have the opportunity to work with the Analytics Lab toolset (based on Tableau and Alteryx), offering new opportunities to produce visualisations and dashboards they would not have the capacity to create alone. It is also an opportunity for participants to get practical experience of agile development and work in cross-institutional teams.
Project teams will begin working in July concluding with a showcase event in October 2016 where teams will present their visualisations and dashboards and share their experiences overall.
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