“It is the successful intersection of information technology and information ownership that becomes the important factor in whether campus data analytics efforts yield usable results. Too often, that intersection does not take place, and data analysis becomes the limited world of the few, not permeating the campus community…”
Top-Ten IT Issues 2013: Welcome to the Connected Age
EDUCAUSE, May/June 2013

In case the May/June issue of EDUCAUSE hasn’t floated to the top of your reading list yet, we wanted to point you to this year’s higher education IT report, “Top-Ten IT Issues 2013: Welcome to the Connected Age.” We’re always impressed with how tidily this annual feature sums up the major technology challenges facing higher ed, and, for the second year running, the 2013 report includes an issue that we found particularly resonant. It seems that “Using Analytics to Support Critical Institutional Outcomes” (Issue #10) is a top priority not only for Evisions, but also for the industry as a whole.

As you might imagine, the report has some excellent insights into using analytics at your institution effectively. The quote above, for example, is part of their discussion on the importance of not only good data tools, but also a good data culture surrounding it. (If you’ve been reading the blog, that subject should sound pretty familiar.) The report also touches on tearing down data silos and cultivating cooperative analysis across different functional areas. They also emphasize overcoming the cultural resistance that can keep institutions from adopting strategies and practices from the business world.

The full report is available for download here. We definitely recommending squeezing it onto your to-do list sometime soon. In the meantime, we thought we’d leave you with the following list of strategic questions from the report, intended to help institutions evaluate and advance their analytics practices:

  • Has the institution taken the ECAR Analytics Maturity Index to measure its analytics maturity and identify strengths and gaps?
  • Blog Editor’s Note: The Analytics Maturity Index is an interesting tool developed by the EDUCAUSE Center for Analytics and Research (ECAR) as part of their “Analytics in Higher Education” report, published in 2012. Based on your answers to a short survey, the tool will produce an infographic that illustrates the current status of your institution’s analytical capabilities.
  • How is the institution applying analytics today?
  • Does the institution have a culture of data-driven decision making? If not, how can leadership help create this culture?
  • Is the institution viewing analytics as a strategic investment or as a new cost?
  • What strategic questions identified in the institutional strategic plan or accreditation report would benefit from analytics?
  • Has the institution performed a resource inventory to identify the campus skills and resources that could support analytics? What key skills or resources are missing that would be essential to success? Which executive is responsible for analytics services?
  • Do current data flows, definitions, and architectures need to be restructured and redefined to support institution-wide analytics? Do data owners guard their data or share it?
  • Does the institution have strategic priorities for analytics to ensure that analytics initiatives have a clear and constrained focus? What constitutes success of an analytics initiative? How will the institution evaluate success in two years, four years, and beyond?”


What other questions you would add to this list? Share them with your peers, in the comments section below.

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