Executive Summary

In all spheres of business, including higher education, increasing emphasis is being placed on the role of Information Technology in becoming more competitive. More effort is being placed on aligning the goals of IT with the corporate strategic plan. Attention is being focused on the value of the investment in information resources and its potential, through improved decision support, to gain a competitive advantage.

Corporate data processing has traditionally had an operational focus, rather than a decision and analysis support focus. More and more information was available to executives via standard management reports, but there was no unified approach to placing analysis tools and supporting data in the hands of these decision makers. Data Warehousing is seen as the technology which attempts to address this problem.

Data Warehousing began to be a popular term in the mid 90’s, even though the concepts had been practiced in some places for many years. The emergence of Data Warehousing as a so-called new technology came about for a variety of reasons.

This report documents a study into Data Warehousing and its application to providing management assistance at Avondale College, a small independent University in New South Wales, Australia. The report describes a pilot project at Avondale College which set out to build a data warehouse, develop decision support models and implement business intelligence desktop tools.

Broad Objectives

After analysing a broad spectrum of management needs, two factors were chosen from the academic administration area that were considered to be of paramount importance, that were not available from the current system, but that could be delivered via a data warehouse with appropriate business intelligence tools. The two factors were:

  1. cohort retention rates
  2. student performance

At the time of writing this report, the project is languishing somewhat, due in part to the Project Leader (the author) being transferred overseas. The project is reviewed, and conclusions and recommendations are given in Section 5.

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Last Modified: Monday, September 2, 2002 12:12 PM