NACUBO Analytics: Our Key Takeaways

Thoughtware Alert Published: Dec 16, 2019
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Information is power.

This phrase is normally attributed to the control of information over the needs of others. This form of power creates silos and stagnates progress. However, imagine how powerful information can be when university leaders harness data analytics across the entire campus. While data and data analytics are far from new concepts among institutions, leadership is now discovering its true power to make data-informed decisions.

The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) recently announced its intention to raise awareness on data analytics. NACUBO just released a survey that addresses data analytics use and the perspective of business officers. More than 300 institutions representing public, private and community colleges participated in the survey.

Enrollment Management

Facing sharp declines in traditional-age college students, many schools have turned to data analytics to understand, track and predict enrollment management. Enrollment, admission and student progress topped the list of functional areas using data-informed decisions. According to the feedback received, 90 percent of business officers indicated that greater importance should be placed on using analytics “in operational efficiencies, cost of instruction, internal academic program assessment, and faculty workload planning.” However, institutions continue to struggle with pulling data in siloed systems and a lack of collaboration. Many business leaders cited a lack of time, workforce capacity and costs to invest in core analytics staff as a result of siloed data sources and structures.

What BKD Is Doing

More than 13 years ago, BKD invested in our Big Data & Analytics practice. Soon after, BKD’s higher education leaders saw a great opportunity to serve our clients. We developed the Program Economic Analysis, which creates a data-rich visualization tool to help empower data-informed decisions on academic program margins.

Our margin software helps leaders understand their cost of instruction and faculty workloads—two key functional areas that business officers want to place more importance on with data analytics (see Figure 2 from the study). Knowing the capacity barriers to gathering and reconciling data from a variety of sources (Figure 4), BKD works with your team to query the right data and perform the analysis within weeks.

To help institutions address enrollment struggles by using data, BKD recently partnered with Gray Associates to launch a robust Academic Portfolio Review. This service resonated with nine out of 10 business leaders who cited “academic program assessment” as a key area to increase analytical awareness (Figure 2). Working with academic leaders, BKD extracts key external data from your external market to score your current and potential academic programs based on actual demand. This data-heavy approach allows institutions to make data-informed decisions regarding which programs to start, sustain, grow or stop.

For more information on how we can help your institution with data analytics, reach out to your BKD trusted advisor or use the Contact Us form below.

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