Schaffhauser, D. (21010) Florida State U Transforms Reporting with Business Intelligence Campus Technology, April 26

This article shows how business intelligence (BI) tools have been implemented at Florida State University, initially for HR and Finance, and for research project management, and now for the student information system.

Why is this important for e-learning? Because BI tools enable front-line decision-makers to get immediate access to data to support decision-making, and eventually this will spread to academic decision-makers.

At the moment, FSU has focused dashboard applications on mainly administrative data. However, once the university has set up the student information system data for BI analysis, instructors planning courses will be able to look at enrollments trends, for instance. So if a new or updated program on microbial infections in the School of Nursing is being planned, the program director will be able to see how student demographics, grades and completion rates have changed over the last few years. If she finds more and more of the students are not coming straight from school, but are working in hospitals, for instance, and already have degrees, the program could move more to e-learning and flexible delivery, and could break out some of the courses into a self-standing certificate. To get that kind of data now in most institutions would require a special request for a report to the IT department or the Registrar’s office. With BI tools, the program director can drill down immediately, play around with data, and customize the reports for her own use.

One of the great ‘scandals’ is that we are investing huge sums in technology in universities, yet we have no data relating investment in technology to academic performance. The way financial reporting is done in universities and colleges at the moment makes this very difficult to do. However, once the data bases are set up properly, BI tools will make this much simpler. So I suggest we watch this development very carefully. It has great promise.

Declaration of interest

My son is a knowledge architect working on strategies for business intelligence at Oracle, a major provider of BI tools.


  1. It’s great to hear that a public institution is adopting a tool that has been integral in the private sector for several years now. I strongly believe we will see more public organizations institute these types of solutions in order to better manage increasingly finite resources.

  2. Good start! It’s called a “return-on-equity” 🙂 and is common practice in other places to see how effective invested dollars are used.
    It must be in best interest of the stakeholders (in public institutions – it’s us, isn’t it?)to know this kind of facts and bring them out of shade.
    Way to go Tony, good review.


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