Scottish Planners’ Forum – April 2015

By Sophie Haworth and Janette Hillicks

I (Sophie Haworth, HESA) attended the Scottish Planners’ Forum (SPF) in Glasgow on 27 April with Janette Hillicks (Jisc) to share communications on the HESA and Jisc Business Intelligence (BI) Project. The event was attended by a record breaking 55 delegates from planning departments in Scottish higher education providers (HEPs).

Janette and I shared information about Heidi-Plus, an enhanced Heidi service, and Heidi-Lab, an exciting new national analytics experimentation service (these are both working titles until service launch).

During our session, planners took the opportunity to participate in a short workshop on quick and wider wins for investigation within Heidi-Lab.  Participants were asked to put forward their suggestions as to what data sources and/or information they would find particularly useful. The most important wins identified by the planners are:

  • Data reported at lower level other than just Scotland
  • More availability of HESA fields in Heidi
  • Outcomes and methodologies of how league tables are calculated (planners are already doing this but the current process is resource-heavy)
  • Student fee rates availability (planners currently obtain this information via individual competitor websites)
  • Subject level data/subject mix (this is difficult to do currently in Heidi as there are too many clicks involved)
  • Join up high school information for destinations analyses
  • School attainment data; research council data; grants information

The event also included presentations by colleagues from University of Edinburgh, University of Stirling and University of Strathclyde on how they have matured their own business intelligence through new systems, strategies and internal projects. A particularly interesting presentation was from Craig Middlemass at the University of Edinburgh, who explained to us how data governance and quality are fundamentals providing a foundation for business intelligence ventures (view Craig’s presentation here). If you’re a Scottish higher education planner and are considering attending an event hosted by the Forum we definitely recommend it.

From communications on the day it’s clear to see that HEPs now consider business intelligence a vital part of informing decisions, driving improvements and creating opportunities. With this in mind, it becomes ever more exciting to see how much value Heidi-Plus and Heidi-Lab will bring to the sector.

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