Developing business intelligence | Jisc

“Business intelligence (BI) is an umbrella term that includes the applications, infrastructure and tools, and best practices that enable access to and analysis of information to improve and optimise decisions and performance”
Definition: Gartner.

The issue

Institutions require access to accurate, timely and meaningful information about their core businesses and the environment in which they operate if they are to adapt and thrive in a fast-moving environment.

This can prove challenging due to a range of factors including available resources, internal data issues and the complex area of external data from countless sources. Staff may also not have the relevant skills to obtain, analyse and present data in a meaningful way.

What you can do

Find out more about business intelligence systems

BI systems can help institutions gather information and present evidence on which to: plan for the future, benchmark different aspects of their performance against other institutions, and deploy limited resources to best effect.

Our more detailed business intelligence guide is based largely on the practical experience of UK institutions and helps to address some of the challenges and highlight the potential benefits available. It includes a BI maturity model for universities who wish to gain a fresh insight into where they currently sit with regards to differing aspects of their BI capability. This can help in planning ongoing development.

Make sure your information is in order

Your BI system will only be as good as the data held in it. Our accompanying guides around records management and information management can help to ensure you have robust practices in place to begin with. Our quick guide can also help you in managing research data within your institution.

Get the best out of your data

Data strategies need to take account of how data is collected, processed, stored, and acted upon. Governance, provenance, and quality concerns, and the data literacy of both staff and students also need to be considered. Our report on the future of data-driven decision-making can help you move to a data-led culture in your institution.

Looking ahead: what’s new in business intelligence

We’ve joined forces with the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) to deliver a business intelligence shared service for higher education (HE).

Incorporated in this work is Analytics Labs for higher education, which offers a unique chance for UK HE institutions to develop business intelligence for the wider sector – an excellent continuing professional development (CPD) opportunity. In a fully-supported live data processing environment participants collaborate with peers and experts and, through Agile practices, rapidly create proof-of-concept community dashboards.

The most promising dashboards are made widely available through Heidi Plus – HESA‘s dashboard delivery service – in beta. Released quickly and with minimal quality assurance, they are considered by our experts group from within the HE sector. Those receiving the most support will be fully quality-assured and further developed for release as full community dashboards.

We’re also working with a range of representative bodies from across the sector to identify topics for dashboard development. This provides opportunities to reduce duplication of effort in analysis and allows for pooling of resources using standard toolsets.

Visit our business intelligence project page and joint website with HESA for more detailed information on this developing service. You can also keep up to date by joining our Jisc-HESA business intelligence mailing list.

Finally, make sure you’re prepared for the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Our GDPR resources can help.

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