Data collection occurs across a higher education institution, with each department collecting data for different purposes. The process leaves higher education leaders with an overwhelming amount of data that does not speak directly to institutional missions. In fact, inefficient data processes can limit institutional growth. Data silos, poor data flow, and a lack of visualization tools make collaborative decision-making extremely difficult.
Colleges and universities collect massive amounts of data, but too often, valuable information ends up inaccessible due to system constraints or single points of contacts designated to retrieve important data, which can result in a data silo.
Consider, for example, departmental data tracking majors as they progress toward graduation. Often, this information exists separately from administrative data on student engagement or recruitment efforts that affect the size of the student body.
These data silos – along with a lack of data flow between departments – can create discrepancies or redundancies. Instead of working collaboratively toward institutional goals, departments debate the data. Even worse, limiting access to data can impact transparency and shared governance.
With the right data, higher education leaders can identify at-risk students, stay within the budget, and forecast revenue. By making data-driven decisions, colleges and universities are able to optimize daily tasks and achieve strategic goals.
However, in order to use data effectively, institutions have to go beyond data collection to successfully analyze and visualize institutional data. Instead of scanning spreadsheets populated with data, administrators can utilize a data dashboard with integrated visualization tools that will display relevant information more efficiently and in a digestible format. As a result, data dashboard visualizations help administrators turn raw data into mission-driven actions.
By enhancing data analysis through visualization, higher education leaders can quickly shift from micro-level data to the big picture. Data dashboards help institutions integrate data from disparate units and guide strategic choices.
Dashboards communicate large amounts of data quickly, and integrated data dashboards offer powerful analytical tools. These tools allow administrators to compare departmental expenditures with long-term tuition revenue forecasts, identify enrollment and faculty research trends, and transform data collected by departments into a macro view of the institution’s health. Effective data display tools translates to decisions rooted in sound data.
With the right technology and knowledge, colleges and universities can achieve their institutional goals, gather data from diverse sources, and promote collaborative growth.
By prioritizing a unified view of organizational data, institutions can make daily progress toward key goals and objectives. For example, dashboard visualizations can identify weaknesses in recruiting efforts or challenges that impact student experience.
Higher education institutions can more effectively address issues that cross departmental lines – such as faculty productivity or student retention – with a data dashboard approach.
Many colleges and universities struggle with cross-departmental communication. Similarly, top-down decision-making risks losing the buy-in of faculty and staff. A more efficient and streamlined approach to data utilization can improve communication. By sharing data across departmental lines and working toward institution-wide objectives, an integrated approach to data encourages joint decision-making and improves shared governance.
A centralized dashboard creates a unified data set, which avoids the distrust that comes from discrepancies in interdepartmental data. The synchronization of data across departments allows for more strategic decisions to be made in a timely manner.
In order to reach institutional goals, schools must effectively compare past trends with their forward-looking forecasts and targets. Data dashboard visualizations provide a seamless process to display and analyze past and future budgets, enrollment forecasts, and departmental targets. These tools also let administrators quickly compare data across units.
Building and calibrating data dashboards can give colleges and universities a competitive advantage. Effective visualization tools help decision-makers quickly scan large amounts of data to make better decisions in real time.
Hartman Executive Advisors specializes in IT strategy for higher education institutions so they can optimize and streamline their data dashboard to achieve their missions’ goals. Reach out today to discuss how data dashboard systems can help your institution.