Taking the Enterprise Reporting Philosophy to Higher Education



I think you’ll agree that it’s an understatement to say we have seen considerable technological changes over the last 30 years. The internet, the rise of innovative technology, and the emergence of enterprise reporting systems have swept across the world. Yet, we are nowhere near the end of the change snowball as we accelerate into the future.

Higher Education and Technology Today

Amongst all this change, higher education’s reporting systems remain a lumbering giant. If higher education is not able to deliver, by teaching students the skills they need to succeed and power the changing economic environment, we are quickly going to hit a point where we don’t have enough people with the required skills. You would think this would be the first place to adopt new technologies to ensure students are prepared for an evolving and global career landscape.

Furthermore, how we access knowledge and how we record information has shifted to massive electronic data portals. (Does anyone even go to the library anymore?!) We are adding 2.5 quintillion bytes of data to the internet on a daily basis. Of course, some of this information is duplicated and can lack in quality. Still, these changes hold great significance in the world of higher education.

Higher education needs to take the bull by the horns. It can begin by using technologies such as enterprise reporting systems to solve the particular problems in their sector.

The Benefits of Enterprise Reporting Systems

#1 Increased agility

A key benefit of enterprise reporting systems is that administrators can get a profound grip on their data. In higher education, data powers decisions: How many students can they accept? Does a recruitment drive need to take place? How well are students being retained? How well are students succeeding after graduation?

The digital world accepts nothing less than a fast pace of change. Higher education must keep up with more flexible processes that focus on time efficiency and value-added tasks. With the costs of four-year degrees consistently on the rise, universities must learn how to become more agile or they will completely price themselves out of their target market.

Higher education institutions can use modern enterprise reporting systems to prevent future losses and improve methods of work all across their organizations. The nimble approach to reporting is quickly becoming the standard in the digital world. A university that fails in agility will eventually fail as a whole, simply because they just can’t keep up.

How Enterprise Reporting Leads to Agility

In terms of the benefits, many companies enjoy how enterprise reporting tools offer a centralized database. While processes are categorized under different functional areas, they are also automated and offered in a common database format. Departments can now quickly share information with each other, in real time. This real-time access to data is what enables the agile approach and couldn’t be accomplished using desktop or homegrown reporting systems.

Enterprise reporting systems help to support a flexible and agile culture across the board. For higher ed to cross technological boundaries and secure its place in the future of our global society, it must create environments where processes can be executed autonomously. A world, moving at hyper speed, will not wait for higher ed to play catch up. (Consider the fact that humans now have a shorter attention span than goldfish.)

#2 Improved surveying efficiency

Enterprise reporting systems can also help institutions improve how they conduct surveys. This new technology makes completing surveys easy and efficient for students, faculty, parents, etc., thus increasing the likelihood of their participation. Moreover, it improves the way staff can analyze the data they have collected.

It goes without saying that many higher education systems have extremely complex structures built upon layers and layers of redundancy. How does anyone get anything done on time, and accurately? What’s needed now is less paper work and more data-driven processes. As redundancies are reduced in number, costs will invariably go down as well.

The world we live in today is inundated with big data. This makes it far more challenging to manage large quantities of data with manual and/or outdated technological processes. When data is automatically collected and processed, sample size and volume of data no longer become an issue.

Data-driven technology reduces the chance of human error and allows decision makers to view information quickly and from a 360-degree perspective. When higher education institutions can collect data efficiently, they can use this information to quickly identify areas in need and then take action to improve them.

#3 Reduced Costs

The cost of higher education represents a massive barrier to many potential students. Harnessing enterprise reporting systems and other emerging technologies can help colleges reduce their costs. Initially, there is a cost for setting up and training on the new system. However, over time, they will see massive savings.

Let’s go back to surveys, as an example. When you manually conduct a survey, as is often done, it takes a huge amount of time and staff resources to collect and analyze the data. Using enterprise reporting systems, though, you can considerably reduce the people required to carry out the surveys and analyze the results.

Administrators can then redirect savings to improve other areas, or they can pass those savings to students by offering reduced rates for courses. Reducing costs may also enable an institution to increase its admissions and thus potentially increase its profits.

Efficiency and real-time data

Enterprise reporting systems can bring everyone together to create more effective processes for your university. (As opposed to working with a disparate set of systems, where each person or department works alone.) Progress becomes much faster and more simplified. Contributors can receive updates in real time. This effective and accurate reporting of data is part of what will keep higher ed competitive moving forward. Plus, you achieve better quality results at a lower cost and in less time.

Using the right enterprise reporting tools, you have access to visual dashboards that give you real–time output of your current and selected processes. You get to view the “overall health” of all your activities. Then, you can more easily research correlations between varying data sources, right from the comfort of your computer or from your connected devices while on the go.

The Future for Higher Education

One of the generational epiphanies which has grown over the last decade, and is gaining ground among young people, is the idea that they don’t need to obtain a degree. I’m not suggesting that higher education is obsolete. But the truth of the matter is, with rising costs of a formal education and a changing world where information has increased in accessibility, an increasing number of prospective students are asking the question, “Do I even need a college degree in order to succeed?”

One of the ways higher education organizations can ensure they maintain relevance is to utilize efficient technologies such as enterprise reporting systems. By doing so, they maintain agility to adapt to a changing landscape, possess the infrastructure to better collect and analyze data, and have given themselves a way to reduce costs and boost efficiencies. Together, these benefits enable institutions to improve their operations and promote student success.

Dave Crosser is the Professional Services Manager with Evisions, working out of the company's headquarters in Irvine, CA. He graduated from California State University Channel Islands with a degree in Computer Science in 2013. Dave has been with Evisions for three years, starting on the Support Team helping clients learn the ins and outs of Evisions' products, and then most recently as a Sales Engineer supporting and advising potential clients. When not working, Dave enjoys golfing, movies, and his family.

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