Business Intelligence Software: Feedback from IR Professionals

68percent.jpg
Business intelligence (the skills, applications, and technologies used to leverage an institution’s data to support data-informed decision making) is growing in popularity in higher education. Choosing the correct software solution for your institution can be challenging. Business intelligence (the skills, applications, and technologies used to leverage an institution’s data to support data-informed decision making) is growing in popularity in higher education. Choosing the correct software solution for your institution can be challenging.

The Association for Institutional Research (AIR) conducted a survey in April 2014 to determine institutions’ use of business intelligence (BI) and members’ roles in selection of BI software.

 

Choosing Reporting and Analytics Software Tools

  • 76% of respondents said their IR offices either participate in decisions or are the decision makers in their institutions’ reporting and analytics software tools.

  • 68% of respondents said their IR offices either participate in decisions or are the decision makers in choosing their institutions’ BI solutions.

  • 42% of respondents said their IR offices either participate in decisions or are the decision makers in choosing their institutions’ enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

Evaluating Software Tools for IR Work

We asked respondents to identify the ideal features for software tools:

  • 74% of respondents noted they desire tools that provide access to all required data.

  • 69% would like the ability to capture historical data and decisions.

  • 48% of respondents said their ideal software tools would have built-in key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics for tracking institutional performance.

We presented survey respondents with a list of KPI tools currently on the market and asked them to indicate their satisfaction with the tools they use. We found:

  • Excel was the software tool selected by the largest group of respondents (60%). Of those, 90% were satisfied with its functionality.

  • Tied for second place as the next most-used software tool for KPIs was Crystal Reports (16% of respondents). Of those, 57% were satisfied with its functionality.

  • Microsoft SharePoint was also identified by 16% of respondents as software used for KPIs. Of those, 53% were satisfied with its functionality.

We asked respondents to identify all barriers they experience when using their current software tools for IR work:

  • 39% reported they need additional training to use their tools more effectively.

  • 38% said cost was a barrier.

  • 33% said the right data aren’t available to inform their work.

How do these findings about IR and business intelligence software resonate with your work? Share your thoughts and comments below.

This report is the second in a four-part series of the impact of business intelligence on institutional research. The first article, titled IR and Key Performance Indicators: An Essential Relationship, was featured in the June 2014 issue of eAIR.

 

 Comments

 
To add a comment, Sign In
There are no comments.