Real Data = Real Decisons

March 30, 2015  |  by: Todd Yates
Higher Ed Tech

The importance of solid, data-driven decisions in the development, expansion, and deployment of an ever-expanding service portfolio in higher education cannot be overstated.

For many years as a technology executive on campus, I struggled with how to best determine where my limited resources needed to be applied. There was always a large pool of potential projects, critical business demands, and a changing landscape of new software and devices.

The tools we used to gather data were varied and complex. Many even came with their own embedded technology resource burden or skillsets to maintain. We distributed surveys on a frequent schedule, with consistently low response rates and scattered data points. We mined large troves of information for inclusion into a data warehouse and reports. Anecdotally, I would also hear from student or faculty focus groups about their dissatisfaction with a service or a desire to obtain the latest cutting edge tool and how critical it was for them.

My job at the beginning of every budget planning cycle was to become Kreskin. I would take the varied sources of disparate information about the thousands of service contact points we maintained with faculty, staff, and students, and assemble them into my very own crystal ball. I would peer into the future and try to determine the best way to spend our limited time and money. I would then submit my plan and budget with carefully assembled data points and hope we made an informed decision.

Today we work and live in an environment of distributed personal devices and systems that make this decision cycle more difficult. In some cases cloud-hosted solutions may not provide access to “good data” or I may not be able to tell what my pass-through rate is for a mobile responsive page. Alternatively, I may never obtain the data point or trigger at all because people are using Google to search then going directly to an external service without ever traversing through my tech stack at all.

Enter OneCampus, the cloud-based service discovery platform that organizes these disparate campus services into “tasks” and provides real-time visibility and insight into user behaviors and trends. For example, its deep integration with Google Analytics helps administrators pinpoint the end-user devices or browsers, peak usage times, and the most accessed services. Even when students use Siri or Google to search for campus services, the OneCampus task portfolio will be returned in their search results because the platform leverages natural language metadata and SEO. This increases the likelihood that administrators will get an accurate gauge of how a service is being used.

The innate yet simple design captures user feedback, ratings, and dynamically repositions tasks (i.e. Most Popular or Highest Rated) to improve communication and expose users to relevant services. Direct and indirect user data from OneCampus also lets administrators know when they made the right (or wrong) decision about a service change, helps pinpoint with laser focus where the next project cycle effort needs to be applied, and may even help them decide what services may be pruned from the portfolio.

As the higher education landscape continues to expand, there is an increasing need to make services simpler and more accessible for all of our users. The same can be said for data and  analytics — the way in which decisions are based for these front-facing services.

With OneCampus, we strive to maintain that ideal balance in our service discovery platform: simple, accessible, and comprehensive.

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