Why Education Dashboards are becoming essential in Higher Education
Most educational institutions have had some sort of visual reporting tool in use for about the last 10 years. Different departments have relied on these visual reports to consolidate and view their data. Institutions that had the foresight to develop a tool internally were especially ahead of the curve.
Do you want the good news or the bad news first?
Let’s try the good news. Visual reports have been helpful in showing key performance indicators (KPIs) of whatever metrics the institution wanted to monitor. Over time, the administrators have learned all the shortcuts and tricks to building (or programming) these visual reports. I have seen many customers with homegrown tools they built in Excel, or a similar data source. Many times, it is already paid for and hopefully they do not have to pay a third party to make any changes (for example, programming).
Are you ready for the bad news? It is outdated, clunky and rarely (if ever) upgraded. There are no drilldowns. It is time consuming. It is static and compared to the newest technology, it does not look appealing anymore.
Remember, dashboards are meant to make it EASIER to monitor your metrics. So why do institutions take so much time to rebuild static charts? Loss of time, money, production… you name it. Over the past five years, dashboard technology has left the homegrown tools wondering what they were intended to do in the first place.
Do universities need a new, huge business intelligence stack that will take a year to deploy and cost six figures? No, of course not, but they do need to look into a new, dynamic dashboard solution.
Why Education Dashboards Really Matter
In a time when people are short on patience, time is of the essence, and everyone is accustomed to having information at their fingertips, the at-a-glance access into key performance indicators (KPIs) that dashboards offer is becoming increasingly important.
A digital dashboard consolidates information that is pulled from multiple data sources and transforms the information into a visually rich interactive chart. Digital dashboards are designed to be easy to read, and its framework is modular so you can incorporate the most important information representing your priorities into the dashboards. Essentially, a good dashboard solution will allow users to customize their dashboards to access, analyze and drill down through their information for effective decision making.
A dashboard answers questions like, “What is my month-to-date revenue?”, “Is our enrollment pipeline better or worse than this time last year?”, and “Are our students being succesful?”. A good dashboard should answer key questions like these, be easy to use, and at the same time help you better accomplish your job.
A dashboard can bring all your key business data together in a familiar and easy to understand interface, as well as be customized to suit the specific requirements of your business. Education Dashboards let you focus on instittutional priorities by filtering out information that is not relevant. They also help you spend more time making better decisions rather than wasting time trying to understand what a report is telling you.
Education Dashboards across Multiple Campus Universities
Some of Higher Education customers have taken advantage of their web-based platform to keep employees informed across various campuses. One customer is using Education Dashboards to communicate with all of their campuses (nearly 100). The old way of having IT develop reports in Excel was proving to be a waste of time every week. The man hours lost building these charts every week and then sending out static data was becoming more and more archaic, especially since the school had prided itself on the fact they were on the cutting edge of technology. Education Dashboards connected directly to their database and used their right-click technology to make it easy for the users to create dashboards. Once the school had built the education dashboards, they put it on their intranet for all campus employees to access.
Another university is using Education Dashboards as a scorecard to track different metrics for an upcoming certification. In similar fashion to the last university, Education Dashboards provided the real-time tool to keep all of the administrators across campus updated. The tool they were previously using wasn’t Excel, but an add-on dashboard module from one of the big business intelligence (BI) stacks. When speaking to the CIO about the module, he commented on how they originally felt very comfortable with the add-on because it was offered by the BI ERP company. Unfortunately, the problems started piling up when they wanted to get the dashboards implemented quickly and realized the amount of programming required just to see one chart in a dashboard. The IT team didn’t have resources available to put an employee on this module full time, so the end result was having somewhat, but barely functional static dashboards that were usually delivered late. Not only was it taxing on IT, but it also made them look bad in front of the VPs and Directors of the university. Why would anyone want to continue practicing this?
The more success Education Dashboards have in the Higher Education space, the more we see common heartburns for any university, small or big, relieved. It’s pretty simple – Education Dashboards gives institutions a solution to implement a best-of-breed dashboard that is dynamic and easy to use. No more paying for two months of services to see an inkling of a dashboard. No more waiting six months for programmers to be available to come onsite. No more ugly, static charts.