Survey: Colleges lack the data analytics tools they need

Only 29% of higher ed leaders say they have good data and the resources to analyze it

Colleges are universities may be awash in big data, but not all of them know how to properly use the numbers to inform decisions, according to a survey from KPMG.

This year's Higher Education Industry Outlook Survey of 102 higher education leaders found that less than one-third of respondents say they have both good data and the resources to analyze it.

About 22% of respondents say they have good data but don't use it effectively to make decisions, while 36% of schools say they outsource analytics.

Could you be doing more with your data?

Data forecasting has been noted as a way to improve student retention and acquisition, but the adoption rates remain relatively low:

  • 41% of respondents say they use predictive analytics;
  • 29% report using data to inform strategic decisions; and
  • 42% say they use data to support fundraising.

The most frequent issues respondents say they run into are:

  • Data falling across multiple functions, 60%;
  • Low data quality, 40%; and
  • Implementing new analytic techniques, 39%.

"The significance of data analytics professionals has been stressed by the fact that data is useless without analysis skills," Vincent Stokes writes. "Compared to previous years, there will be more job opportunities in data analytics and big data management in the future. IT professionals should be prepared to invest time and money in the training."

On a related note, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says statistician employment will jump 34% from 2014 to 2024 (Burroughs, Ed Tech Magazine, 4/8).


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