The University of Aveiro has a large school community, and innovation, continuous improvement and quality have always been important points of differentiation. Last year, the Portal of Indicators was the focus for a Data Analytics solution, which offers appealing reports and dashboards, inclusion of information from external sources and decisive predictive analytics.
Created in 1973, the University of Aveiro (UA) is a public foundation under private law whose mission is the intervention and development of graduate and postgraduate training, research and cooperation with society.
With a great capacity for attraction and internationalization, the UAveiro has more than 15 thousand students, around a thousand professors and close to 500 researchers. The university also has 16 departments and four polytechnic schools, which brings management challenges, but also allows for many synergies and interdisciplinarity.
The Internal Quality Assurance System was certified in 2017, but for UAveiro, quality is an ongoing project.
Hence the need to implement a Data Analytics solution that optimizes all processes and involves Academic Services, Human Resources, Management and Logistics, Research and Protocols. With the involvement of the Institution’s employees, there was an increase of 382.43% in the use of the new Portal of Indicators, as explained by Loraine Nazaré, Advisor to the Vice Rector for the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of the UAveiro.
The University of Aveiro had a Data Analytics solution that was not structured in a way to respond to all needs and only reflected one of the UA’s mission areas. “In addition to this situation, the fact that the data was accessed through reports built through the report builder, which made the system very static. Thus, the use of data was very limited and as such the employees did not take advantage of it”, begins by explaining Loraine Nazaré. In other words, there was a Portal of Indicators webpage that contained several reports with pre-defined layouts, but which proved to be too static and unappealing.
With the increasing need to develop true Quality Assurance Systems, there is a need to implement a Data Analytics project. The main challenge was to regain the trust of leaders and employees, have consistent data in dynamic format and ensure their quality.
Timely decision making and very positive experience
New functional areas of analysis with new indicators, construction of new attractive reports and dashboards, inclusion of information from external sources or predictive analytics were some of the initial requirements.
In the short term, the institution intended to reduce the analysis, certification and quality times of published data, automate processes and free up the team for strategic and critical analysis of the data. Therefore, processes had to be based on correct information. In the long term, the objectives include improving decision making, optimizing internal processes and evolving analytical needs.
According to Loraine Nazaré, “the gains are immense given that the use of data is being carried out by those who need to make timely decisions, freeing technicians to carry out other work. In our case, the customer does not perceive these changes. But the prestige among the partners is invaluable”.
Although not enough time has passed, since the system only came into operation in April 2021, to get a true sense of the impact of this system, “we can assure you that all the satisfaction surveys we carried out on the same show a perception and a curiosity that increases with each passing day about these topics”, says the project manager.
Adding that “it was a very positive experience. It worked extremely well. BI4ALL’s employees are of remarkable professionalism”.
Loraine Nazaré believes that other institutions have a lot to gain from investing in Data Analytics solutions, so she says “in fact, HEIs share knowledge in their genetic code. If as an institution we can gain from this partnership, it makes perfect sense to share this experience with the rest of the community”. For her, “all HEIs can be much more competitive if they have a better knowledge of their true performance”.
Always with an eye on the future and innovation, the UA defined that the next steps involve the expansion of the Institution’s mission areas and the creation of predictive analytics in some sectors. For Loraine, BI4ALL’s role was important in systematizing the institution’s reality. However, the UAveiro already knew well what it wanted and had defined its action plan and all its indicators.
"It was a very positive experience. It worked extremely well. BI4ALL's collaborators are of remarkable professionalism."