There is no shortage of data in higher education systems, but the challenge is that it’s often siloed across customer relationship management systems, student information systems, learning management systems, and marketing platforms. Schools are hungry for easy access to insights about the entire student journey so they can increase student retention, improve student outcomes, and boost enrollment.

The solution? Data enablement, which is the process of collecting data from the disparate systems, connecting it in a central location that is easy for appropriate parties to access, and then activating the data. Activating data could mean using insights to make strategic programmatic decisions, like identifying programs based on their affordability, attractiveness to the market, and potential job opportunities for graduates. Another example of activation is developing targeted, audience-based marketing strategies that pinpoint the right time and right message for engagement.

Graduating to Data Discovery

What if you could integrate technology and data across your enterprise so every business user could answer their own questions related to the student journey? What if institutional leaders could see the performance of marketing strategies and investments? That’s the objective of data discovery.

Data discovery is all about providing the data and reporting capabilities for appropriate parties in the university to access at any time. Making business intelligence available to all, rather than locked away in someone’s monthly report, benefits the whole institution and creates opportunities for innovation.

When every business user has access to self-service analytics, leaders are equipped with the knowledge they need to drive and fine-tune strategies that can have immediate impacts, allowing the school to be more proactive in shaping their future.

It’s an exciting prospect, but unfortunately not one that is easily accomplished.

The Challenges of Data Enablement

Connecting, collecting and activating data is what Collegis terms “data enablement” — the precursor to data discovery. Our work with colleges and universities has identified these hurdles to data enablement:

GAPS: The school doesn’t collect the right data, the data is low-quality or incomplete, or there are critical gaps in their data (e.g., missing ZIP codes).

SILOS: The school has plenty of data, but it is siloed in disparate departmental systems and/or applications (e.g., LMS, SIS, CRM, MIS).

VALUE: Data may be connected, even if imperfectly or manually, but the school doesn’t have the tools or knowledge on how to leverage it to generate value or provide guidance.

Most schools are wrestling with a combination of the above, with departments or functions at various stages in the data enablement evolution. Until all data is connected and collected, schools cannot activate it to unleash its value as business intelligence through data discovery.

Enable Data Discovery with a Partner

The talent schools need to break down data silos and create an ecosystem in which data can flow freely across the enterprise can be hard to find and, these days, even harder to afford.

Collegis believes data discovery will be an indispensable capability as higher education evolves to meet today’s market challenges. With our best practices for integrating systems and leveraging the Google Cloud Platform, we give colleges and universities the tools to leverage data across the entire institution to generate deeper insights, inform decisions and, ultimately, increase ROI.

The key to a sustainable future lies within your school’s data. Begin the journey of discovery with Collegis.

This article is part of a series covering data enablement’s capabilities. Read the previous or next installment.

Author: Collegis Education staff

Collegis is passionate about education and driven by the technology that keeps institutions moving forward.