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Gut feeling vs. hard facts: Why data should guide your decision making

Running an education institution has perhaps never been harder. Between balancing tight budgets, efficiently distributing resources and delivering a stellar student experience, senior leaders now manage many vital responsibilities.


Making the right decisions at the right time is therefore vital. So, managers are leaning into data to guide and inform their decision making. Arguably they’re becoming more business-like by using metrics to measure success and to target interventions and investment.


This blog post explores this trend in further detail and highlights the benefits for institutions in moving away from intuition and experience. In today's data-driven world, cold, hard facts are the best tools to guide your choices.


What is data-driven decision-making in education?


Traditionally, many educational decisions were made based on experience and existing practice. Data-driven decision-making offers a powerful alternative. It focuses on using the wealth of information and data points that institutions collect to make informed choices.


The approach typically involves:

  • Gathering data on student performance, learning activities and resource allocation / utilisation etc.
  • Analysing this data to identify trends, correlations and areas for improvement.
  • Drawing insights that illuminate student learning journeys, staff effectiveness and operational efficiency.
  • Utilising these insights to guide strategic choices in curriculum development, resource allocation and student support services.

It’s important to note that data-driven decision-making must be seen as an ongoing process. Only by continuously collecting, analysing and acting on data insights can universities ensure that they're evolving to meet the changing needs of students and staying at the forefront of technology transformation.

This contrasts significantly with the traditional approach of relying on gut instinct. Intuition can be clouded by biases, outdated assumptions and a lack of objective evaluation or evidence. Arguing for a solution because "it's always been done this way" is no longer sustainable.


Unlocking data-driven decision-making for your university

Data isn't just about numbers on a spreadsheet; it should be seen as a powerful tool that unlocks a wealth of insights into your institution’s operations. Let's explore some of the concrete benefits of leveraging data to guide your decisions.


  • Optimize resource allocation: Stop throwing money at the wrong problems. Data can reveal which departments, initiatives and software are most effective, allowing you to strategically allocate resources based on actual performance or usage.
  • Enhance student experience: Don't let students fall through the cracks. Data can help you to see at-risk students early on, to personalize learning experiences and ensure all students receive the support they need to succeed.
  • Boost operational efficiency: Data helps you to get the most out of your existing resources. Whether that’s streamlining administrative processes, optimising usage of campus facilities or showing areas for cost reduction.
  • Strengthen strategic planning: Invest in the future with confidence. Data-driven insights enable you to make more informed decisions about programme development, faculty recruitment and strategic investment opportunities.

Data-driven decision-making for smarter software investment

One immediate application for using data to inform your decisions is around software investment. Education institutions constantly strive to equip staff and students with the right digital tools, but limited budgets and a lack of usage data can make software selection a gamble.


Importantly, Academic Software’s platform empowers CIOs and IT leads’ data-driven decision-making. This solution makes best use of available resources and helps prioritise learning outcomes. The platform helps customers to:


  • Gain insights into license use, software usage, and cloud consumption. You can easily find which tools are truly driving value for faculty and students.
  • Dynamically assign licenses based on actual usage data, ensuring resources are directed towards the most impactful tools.
  • Automate license deprovisioning and check tool usage through SSO passthrough and IP whitelisting.
  • Track VDI usage and use a comprehensive dashboard for data-driven insights. You can now make informed decisions needed to create / support a thriving learning environment.

Ready to make data-driven decisions?

The future of higher education is data driven. By using valuable data and embracing data analytics, institutions can be better positioned to thrive.


Explore Academic Software’s data analytics platform that’s been designed to empower universities like yours. We also offer a free consultation to discuss your specific needs and to explore how data can help your institution flourish.