Business Intelligence Case Study
- Education Service Provider
Key Business Requirement
Budgeting is a big part of any education provider. An internally
designed system using Excel spreadsheets was distributed to around
50 department managers, based at three local campuses and four regional
centres. Each manager worked on their own spreadsheets, then returned
them for central collation. This was inflexible and time consuming,
let alone prone to errors.
In addition, analysis was limited and the entire system relied
on one or two individuals who knew how it worked.
“We spent 80% of our time trying to get the information out
of the system rather than analysing it in any detail". And,
the entire budget process could take up to three months to complete.
This was unacceptable.
A business intelligence application was sought to integrate with
payroll, general ledger and student management systems.
Producing the annual budget used to be a complex and unwieldy task
for planning staff. More time was spent extracting data from financial
and student management systems than actually analysing it. The business
intelligence solution means staff no longer have to pore over reams
of hard copy spreadsheets.
The new budgeting system, allows us to monitor the budgeting progress
of Managers against defined timeframes, which in turn, enabled tighter
Managers can now compare data from three sources - payroll, general
ledger and student management systems - in one place, this has considerably
shortened the budgeting process.
The data input and collation of the budget this year took two weeks
compared to 1 to 2 months. This provided more time for analysis
and challenge processes to occur.
“We use these reports as an analysis tool to look at which
costs are going up and down and for what reason.”
We can also now forecast student numbers with more accuracy.
Existing Data Infrastructure
Reporting and forecasting capability had been limited due to the
difficulty of extracting and comparing information from three different
Around 100 people use the new BI system.
Several vendors were considered.
Applix TM1 Business Intelligence Software. A large part of this
decision was based on the presence of a local implementation vendor,
with a track record of several large implementations.
- The past five years data was imported to provide a basis for
- Live data is automatically updated when changes are made.
- Budgeting system implemented
- Reporting and forecasting tools added to forecast student numbers
and costs and revenues relating to those volumes.
- Custom budget review reports were designed, which compare expenditure
to date with last year’s budget.
- Contract-based revenue budgeting is provided, along with the
necessary audit trail.
Planned Next Step
No future development plans stated
"The new system has given a lot more power to the department
managers....They can switch between views, look at information based
on student numbers, information based on revenue and can see what
student volumes are worth in terms of money.”
How Macquarie University
uses BI to improve its world ranking
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