Educating learners both nationally and internationally, Otago Polytechnic’s goal is to provide students with innovative and worthwhile education that leads them onto successful career pathways. As aspiring leaders in the education sector, accurately monitoring educational and financial performance not only helps bring this goal to fruition, but helps them provide accurate, insightful information to stakeholders so they better understand requests, such as programme changes and funding. With a need to dig deeper into organisational and student performance, a powerful system that could handle data from multiple areas of the business was needed.
Gayle Reihana, Otago Polytechnic’s BI Data Analyst Developer, explains:
“When we had our school annual review there would always be discussions around whether the data represented was right or wrong. Our staff and stakeholders didn’t have confidence in our system due to the cumbersome manual task of collating the data. We also needed a system that could produce reports in real-time for staff on a day-to-day basis.”
Otago Polytechnic’s current in-house business intelligence system was unweildy. Staff wanted to find out more about the students; they wanted to track their learning journey and find out where students were doing well, and where they were doing not so well, to ensure the best education is being provided. Having a reporting tool that could easily communicate this on a regular basis was key.
As Gayle reflects, “Our current system wasn’t sustainable to build on. It was reliant on one person to construct the reports, which included scripting and programming to deliver information. When it came down to making changes to the report we would need to manually re-code the data and start again. We could only manage reporting on a fortnightly – monthly basis. With future goals to monitor our educational and financial performance in more detail and on a frequent basis, we needed to be able to drill down into the data in real time.
“With data spread over multiple areas of the business, and with the manual task of collating, we were in need of a strong, intelligent system that could automate this itself. This is especially important for us when providing information to our stakeholders. We needed to be able to provide accurate evidence, not only for ourselves internally but also externally when requesting change to programmes and funding requests.”
With Intergen on board, the Microsoft SQL Server Stack and WhereScape RED was built into Otago Polytechnic’s current data system, resulting in a strong, reliable data warehouse that the staff could trust to deliver insightful, accurate information – all at the touch of a button. Integrating reports into Otago Polytechnic’s SharePoint intranet was also required to help provide easy access to reporting for staff.
Otago Polytechnic can now accurately monitor its educational and financial performance from every angle, across the business and on a daily basis. As Gayle concludes:
“We now have much more flexibility with reporting. One of the main differences is that all reports are found via our intranet portal instead of being buried in a directory structure. Everybody can easily find and construct their own individual reports and monitor the performance of their programmes on a daily basis.
“Staff can easily change views and add new factors into their analysis, allowing them to dig deeper into financial and student performance. For example, we can include factors such as how age group, ethnicity and previous education relate to students’ performance. And the best thing about it is our staff can do it all, without the need for a programmer.”
Otago Polytechnic can now see its student and financial performance organisation-wide, at the touch of a button, making their business decision making a lot smarter.