Despite barriers, university leaders doubling down on analytics investments
While financial and cultural barriers exist, one in five institutional leaders plan to double their analytics budget over the next year and a half.
- Higher education leaders understand the increasing need for analytics programmes on campus
- Perceived barriers to implementation were similar across most leadership roles
- College leaders are divided on the priorities for analytics—improved learning outcomes, retention or operational efficiency
Ellucian, the leading provider of software and services built to power higher education, today published the findings of a survey of 200 institutional leaders, titled: “What Will It Take to Build an Analytics-Driven Campus?”
“Presidents, provosts and C-level leaders in higher education told us that institutional analytics are a priority,” said Ellucian Senior Vice President of Product Management, James Willey. “Despite the challenges that come with breaking down data siloes, these leaders are committed to improving operational efficiency for students, faculty and staff.”
Analytics is a priority on campus
Higher education leaders understand the increasing need for analytics programmes on campus. 61 percent of respondents have an analytics programme at their institution today and only one percent do not have and are not considering an analytics programme.
Most institutions that have an analytics programme have enterprise programmes (59 percent) rather than departmental programmes. Four-year institutions are even more likely to have an enterprise analytics programme when compared to two-year institutions (63 percent vs. 53 percent).
Perceived barriers are similar across most leadership roles
Presidents, CFOs and CIO/CTOs were evenly split on whether financial, cultural or technical barriers were the biggest obstacle to implementation, while provosts cited financial barriers (64 percent) as the most difficult to overcome.
Respondents cited high implementation costs (83 percent) and unclear return on investment (61 percent) as top barriers to analytics adoption. Nearly half said that unwillingness to share data across departments and colleges was the most significant roadblock to implementing an analytics programme.
Leaders divided over how much is enough
While analytics is a priority, college leaders are divided on their priorities for the analytics programme—presidents, CIOs and CFOs cited improved learning outcomes, provosts cited improved retention and completion and CTOs cited improved operational efficiency. Leaders are also divided on whether their institutions are currently investing the appropriate amount in analytics.
Despite the lack of agreement on whether their institutions are investing the appropriate amount now, many leaders are looking to invest more heavily in analytics in the future: one in five said they plan to at least double their analytics budget in the next 12-18 months.
Most higher education institutions have already begun investing in analytics programmes or plan to do so in the next few years, but college leaders need to overcome cultural barriers that hinder implementation campus-wide for those analytics programmes to fulfill their promise to improve both institutional and learning outcomes.
“Enterprise analytics programmes must address the differing priorities of campus leaders to be valuable,” said Willey. “From reports that track retention and completion data, to metrics on operational efficiency, and early warning systems to improve learning outcomes, colleges that address issues across departments and functions can successfully build an analytics-driven campus.”
To learn more, read the full survey report.
About the Survey
The Analytics Survey was managed by Ovum via phone among 200 higher education leaders between January and March 2018. Quotas were used to ensure representative and statistically significant numbers of administrators by title, four- vs. two-year, and public vs. private institutions. The margin for error for results is +/- 3%.