Most educational institutions have had some sort of visual reporting tool in use for about the last 10 years. Different departments have relied on these visual reports to consolidate and view their data. Institutions that had the foresight to develop a tool internally were especially ahead of the curve.
Do you want the good news or the bad news first?
Let’s try the good news. Visual reports have been helpful in showing key performance indicators (KPIs) of whatever metrics the institution wanted to monitor. Over time, the administrators have learned all the shortcuts and tricks to building (or programming) these visual reports. I have seen many customers with homegrown tools they built in Excel, or a similar data source. Many times, it is already paid for and hopefully they do not have to pay a third party to make any changes (for example, programming).
Are you ready for the bad news? It is outdated, clunky and rarely (if ever) upgraded. There are no drilldowns. It is time consuming. It is static and compared to the newest technology, it does not look appealing anymore.
Remember, dashboards are meant to make it EASIER to monitor your metrics. So why do institutions take so much time to rebuild static charts? Loss of time, money, production… you name it. Over the past five years, dashboard technology has left the homegrown tools wondering what they were intended to do in the first place.
Do universities need a new, huge business intelligence stack that will take a year to deploy and cost six figures? No, of course not, but they do need to look into a new, dynamic higher education dashboards. Try out a few dashboard providers – you will see what you may not know you are missing!
Jon Salmon, iDashboards