Often, it’s the last mile that’s the hardest. This is true of getting your admitted students onto campus, operating supply chains, and even running marathons—and it’s certainly the case with data and analytics. We can collect all the data we like, from every corner and every system on campus. We can aggregate and model it in a next-gen data warehouse to support our analytics efforts. But if nobody can access and interrogate the data, the road to insight and innovation stops there.
For a decade at EAB, we’ve been helping higher education leaders understand and prioritize ways their data can support institutional transformation. It started with defining 10 No Regrets Analyses for every institution and progressed through helping academic leaders isolate the 14 metrics they need to support adaptive course planning. Today, it continues with the acquisition of Rapid Insight, which will add a suite of direct-to-user data capabilities to support decentralized innovation within Edify—EAB’s education data platform.
Introducing Rapid Insight
At hundreds of institutions, Rapid Insight’s industry-leading analytics capabilities already provide users within enrollment, admissions, student success, and advancement teams with the tools they need to access campus data and generate local insights. Below, I explore two examples of how Rapid Insight is powering campus strategy today—and why we’re excited about the opportunity that these capabilities will bring to our partners.
Case Study 1: Enrollment forecasting in a volatile economy
Bucking nationwide trends, Western Carolina University found themselves in the enviable position of seeing their enrollment numbers increase through the past decade. Despite the good news, predicting accurate enrollment numbers remained critical for successful strategic planning. “Our enrollment projection numbers are what our state funding is based on,” said Operations Research Analyst Johnny Lail. “If we underestimate, we have left money on the table. If we overestimate, we owe money back.”
So with funding on the line, WCU turned to Rapid Insight’s drag-and-drop interface to build a custom predictive model using historical campus data. In addition to historical Banner data regarding fall enrollments, Lail was able to incorporate data from the institution’s unique “Summer Bridge” program, which complicates freshman admissions by offering alternative start dates for students who do not yet meet the criteria for fall enrollment. When tested, the model had a 99% accuracy rate—and predicted WCU’s largest freshman class enrollment gain to date, enabling them to secure full state funding for the incoming class.
Case Study 2: Revenue attribution to inform institutional transformation
For Tennessee’s Southern Adventist University, allocating resources across the institution’s 64 majors and 9 graduate degree programs requires careful and complex analysis. To be consistent with the campus mission, revenue attribution must account for the impact that specific programs and courses have, both within and beyond a home major. This ensures that Chairs and Deans make resource decisions with a full understanding of their potential ramifications.
Using Rapid Insight, Southern Adventist’s Doug Frood and Ryan Harrell partnered to build a configurable report that allocated student income to credit hours. They then used the tool’s visual data preparation capabilities to tie in finance system data to attribute costs to individual instructors and courses. The result—a detailed net revenue analysis that merges cost and revenue workflows into a single dashboard—equips campus administrators to view revenue by course, in addition to aggregated information that distills an individual program’s impact on other programs.
The power of EAB’s expanding data capabilities
At both Western Carolina and Southern Adventist, getting powerful, intuitive tools into the hands of business users fast-tracked data-informed action. These tools empowered users to identify pertinent questions to ask and to test related hypotheses before putting new insights directly into action. With these user-friendly data preparation and visualization capabilities incorporated into the Edify data platform, EAB can bring actionable data to the fingertips of every leader on campus.
Equipped with Edify’s next-gen data warehouse and data documentation, technology leaders on campus will retain the ability to centralize data governance and deliver trusted data across the ever-sprawling ecosystem of campus systems and data stores.
Meanwhile, Rapid Insight’s sleek and graphical data exploration, manipulation, and visualization tools will empower more users on campus to dig into that data directly. By embedding data processes and custom analytics into their workflows, campus leaders can address emerging and shifting needs in the immediate term as they rely on a central data source to build confidence and trust in the strategies being implemented.
Growing and evolving with the Edify community
In addition to the 80 institutions using EAB’s existing Edify platform, our new Rapid Insight partners bring almost 200 new schools into our growing higher education data community. Together, EAB and Rapid Insight will leverage our joint capabilities to unify and unlock data to inform strategic initiatives across this community—from enrollment to retention to advancement and beyond.
Faced with uncertain market shifts and changing student needs, institutions must identify and respond to changes in real time. The new and improved Edify will deliver forward-looking insight, enabling our partners to move from reactive to proactive interventions informed by data they trust.
Ready to learn more?
Join the webinar to learn more about the power of Rapid Insight.