Summary

Our business intelligence project delivered four key services:

  1. Heidi Plus, launched on 30 November 2015, helps staff from UK higher education (HE) providers and not-for-profits harness powerful insights from HE data. Users are able to easily create data visualisations and dashboards to inform planning and decision making. This service has replaced Heidi (the Higher Education Information Database for Institutions) service. Further information about the Heidi Plus service can be accessed here
  2.  Analytics Labs, an experimentation area that will examine new opportunities for business intelligence through cross-institutional collaborations. Successful Analytics Lab outputs will be migrated to the Heidi Plus service.
  3.  Maturity service pilot that allowed our customers to benchmark their own business intelligence maturity.
  4.  Advice, guidance and support that will allow UK higher education providers to develop improved business intelligence capabilities.

The service effectively built upon the strong foundation provided by HESA’s Higher Education Information Database for Institutions (Heidi). This service delivered a range of data sets covering both HESA and non-HESA sources to those HE providers that are full subscribers to HESA, as well as other not-for-profit organisations such as funding bodies and government departments. The system had become very well-known across the sector and was considered by many to be one of the pre-eminent online data resources available to professionals within the HE sector.

Jisc also identified an opportunity to develop an ‘educational analytics experimentation area’ to explore cutting edge features and bring wider benefits to our customers.

A further aim of the project was to widen the user base of these services beyond data professionals to senior managers, planners and others with an interest in the information.

What are the benefits of good business intelligence?

Whether your organisation has little to no business intelligence provision or you have a mature coordinated service, these new HESA and Jisc services and tools will bring many benefits:

  • Greater leadership and business acumen by enabling senior and middle managers to make sound evidence-based decisions at strategic and operational level
  • Saves money through reduced need for commercial benchmarking
  • Saves staff time through easier and faster data compilation and analysis
  • Greater efficiency and effectiveness through innovative use of data to support process improvement
  • Value for money through enabling a wider range of staff to use these services regardless of their expertise in data analysis and with a much wider set of data
  • Demonstrating to government and other stakeholders a commitment to understanding and improving efficiency
  • Enhances business intelligence skills and consolidates best practice through delivering training and cascading expertise.

What are the current obstacles preventing people from making the most of business intelligence?

Barriers to successful business intelligence implementation include:

Technical – data cleanliness, definitions, ownership and currency
Non-technical – data literacy, interpretation and the usual issues faced when using technology to underpin change.

To address these, we aim to:

  • Promote sector maturity and capability for business intelligence
  • Bring the benefits of business intelligence to wider staff groups.

We will do this by:

  • Building on HESA’s expertise and experience of Heidi
  • Providing a new technical service with supporting material comprising:
    • Heidi-Plus, a data explorer service offering visualisations and analyses to answer compelling business questions
    • Analytics Labs, an experimentation area to allow analysis of wider data sets for actionable insights
  • Measuring current business intelligence maturity and tracking impact