I recently had the privilege of presenting at the 2018 IASBO Conference. The Illinois Association of School Business Officials is a professional and collaborative association dedicated to providing their members the tools, resources, and services that promote the effective use of educational resources and best practices in school business management. In alignment with that mission, I discussed how these finance professionals could leverage data for effective business decisions through Business Intelligence (BI) solutions.
Challenges and Opportunities
These school business professionals are tasked with two key priorities: running the school as a business and providing the resources for education. They are also challenged with the fact that they need to do more with less (time, resources, funding), that their funding is tied to performance measures, and various stakeholders are constantly looking for information. Education, just like other industries, needs to become more agile in order to respond. You can read more about that topic on an earlier blog post HERE.
Business Intelligence (BI) solutions provide a wonderful opportunity to help them focus on their priorities while addressing those challenges. Through BI, they are able to bring together high volumes of varied data, simplify that data through reports and dashboards, reduce management and complexity, and conduct faster analysis by being able to access that data in real time.
Specifically for these school administrators, there are 3 areas where they can immediately find value through BI solutions:
- Workforce Management
Through these solutions, from an academics standpoint, they can gain greater insight into trends in student subject preference and performance. They can better track academic performance against organizational and government thresholds for proactive intervention. Additionally, these solutions make it easy to drill down to various levels such as grade, class, and even individual students.
From an administration standpoint, they can bring more effectiveness and efficiency in overall management of the organization by helping monitor and predict enrollment and class sizes over time while also helping keep track of finances. BI solutions can not only provide point in time information, but can assist in looking towards the future so that targeted campaigns can be created to attract and retain students and proactive measures can be taken for right sizing programs. These solutions also then provide the necessary reporting for compliance with government requirements as well as industry regulations.
Finally, BI solutions can also assist in overall workforce management within the school. This can not only assist in reviewing student-teacher ratios to help with workload balancing, but can assist with performance evaluation for both students and teachers. Administrators can make more effective decisions on curriculum, timetabling, and extra-curricular subjects while being proactive on hiring plans and processes.
During this session, I spent time discussing how these tools help us move from the data to information to knowledge, which ultimately provides wisdom. Additionally, we have helped organizations progressively move through 5 maturity levels of analytical capabilities: reporting, analyzing, describing, predicting, and prescribing. There are several quick and easy ways to get started which you can learn more about HERE or you can also reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to help!