You are here

Business Intelligence

While most auxiliary service departments look for opportunities to bring in more money as a means of funding their operations, examining ways to reduce expenses can work just as well. That’s what Bradley Markley, director of facility services at Messiah College in Grantham, Penn., has been doing for the last four years, with impressive results.

an arrow holding a dollar bill on a dartboard

As the name reveals, auxiliary services will never be directly related to the core mission of colleges and universities. But as ever-tightening resources have become the reality for institutions, the revenue-generating possibilities for these departments have become more important than ever.

In light of the current economic conditions and the decreased value of most endowments, many organizations are re-examining their investment strategies. Often overlooked: Spending policies must have not just the proper annual spending amount but also be adequately defined. 

Given federal and state regulations­, especially now, there are many policies and procedures related to applying for, awarding, and disbursing aid that can’t be avoided. Still, in our travels, we often see aid offices making unnecessary extra work for themselves or students by clinging to outdated procedures or implementing policies for the entire student body because of concerns that impact only a select few. Scannell & Kurz has compiled this “hit list” of time—and money—wasting policies and procedures that should be reconsidered:

Growing numbers of students came to campus this fall, as they have for over half a century. The beginning of school year ritual seems to go on forever, but for the first time, there are signs that, in its present form, it won’t. And it is the oft-ignored college town outside the campus that will be most affected.

Steve Jobs once opined, “It’s more fun to be a pirate than to join the Navy.” Today, this classic metaphor provides us with a cogent expression of Jobs’ counter-intuitive resistance to the temptation of conformity, and his passionate desire to explore uncharted territory and discover unfound treasures.

How many 140-character messages were tweeted today? How many posts have been published in the past 24 hours? How many photos have been posted, and liked, on Facebook since yesterday? Hundreds of thousands, if not millions.

Robert B. Smith

Deep admiration for the self-made men and women of business is all but encoded into Americans’ DNA. This is all well and good. Where would we be if innovators like the late Steve Jobs were reviled instead of admired? Where would our colleges and universities be without the businesslike approach to management that has become their hallmark?

Institutions should invest as much effort in “getting to their data” as they do in choosing and installing a business intelligence tool, says Daryl Orts, vice president of engineering technologies at Noetix.

“Good data models are essential, whether you’re doing real-time operational reporting, building a data warehouse, or both,” Orts relates.

Have you noticed colleagues on campus talking more about business intelligence lately? Considering how much these tools have evolved recently, it wouldn’t be surprising.