Argos is “Christmas in July” for Office of Undergraduate Admission
La Salle University
For the Office of Undergraduate Admission at La Salle University, there was a need to have immediate access to real-time information on applicants, accepted students, and deposits. The office was relying on Microsoft Access for their reporting. However, this resulted in a long list of challenges: it took a while to run and gather reports (even longer if adjustments were required); the reports were not visually pleasing; end users could change the reports they were downloading; and there were no guidelines or standards around the reporting process.
In addition to the challenges of using MS Access for reporting, Undergraduate Admission relied on one staff member from Enrollment Services to run those report queries. And when that person ended up leaving, reporting – especially ad-hoc requests – took even longer to put together.
It became clear to the Admission staff at La Salle that this older way of doing things was out of date and slow, and it was consuming too much time and energy. Therefore, they began to search for a new solution – one that would quickly provide them organized and accurate reports to suit their needs.
The Office of Undergraduate Admission at La Salle University learned that their colleagues in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness were using Evisions Argos to meet their reporting needs, as well as to provide reports to others on campus. They were impressed with its quick view and ability to provide statistics on-demand for multiple end users. They were pleased by the sharp and organized graphics of Argos reports because it enabled them to more easily interpret the data. Especially attractive was that Argos was completely secure and already set up to look at Banner data. Its ease of use also meant there was no need to replace the position that was lost. Once the Executive Director realized these capabilities, and its advantages over other products, he said, “It’s like Christmas in July!”
The main benefit La Salle’s Admission Office sees from Argos is the amount of time it saves. Previously, when the Executive Director had to prepare for a presentation, he would have to run multiple MS Access reports and ask for updated information ad-hoc. Depending on the workload of support staff, it could take some time to get the information needed. Now, he can pull in trend data, YTD data, demographic, high school, resident vs non-resident, and other data in any format – including graphs and charts – ready to be copied and pasted into a document or presentation. With this dashboard, the Executive Director could prep for a presentation in five minutes.
The staff can now answer many questions in a matter of seconds. For example, they can view a chart or they can get raw data (in CSV format) with the actual applicants from a semester to see if they were admitted and if they enrolled. They can view minority trend data in graph form in mere seconds, rather than having to send a request to get an update from last year’s information or from information that’s a few weeks old. Also, instead of having to search month-old reports, the end user can just change the YTD dates that are set up in the report and they can instantly see what was going on a month ago compared to what is currently happening.
One specific feature of Argos that has been of great value to the Admission staff is the interactive charts. Before Argos, they were using tables, PDF reports, and spreadsheets, which often made it difficult to find the details they needed. Interactive charts give them a quick visualization of how they’re doing year-over-year, year-to-date, or when examining final numbers. Additionally, the drill down capabilities follow a logic for which the Admission staff was already familiar, helping them move from summary “big picture” type data down to more detailed information.