Our Business Intelligence (BI) service supports reporting, planning and decision-making at all levels across the University, including strategic and operational areas of work. It does so through the provision, maintenance and support of a suite of IT systems enabling the collection, integration, analysis and presentation of information related to research, education and supporting services here at Oxford.
Technical components of the BI service include a data warehouse, and a reporting tool called Tableau. In September this year, the Tableau application was upgraded successfully to the latest version which included bug fixes, and a new look and feel.
The benefits of this valuable service include cross-University access to a single accurate and consistent source of data, bringing in data from historical systems and avoiding local ad hoc approaches. The data warehouse also removes risk and reduces the load on operational systems by ensuring up-to-date data is loaded at the correct time whether this is monthly, weekly or even daily.
The uses of BI are wide-ranging. For example, BI is used to analyse research activity (grant applications, awards, and contract negotiations) over time. This allows users in Research Services and departments to look at trends such as types of sponsors, amounts awarded, overhead recovery from different types of projects, and success rates of grant applications, helping them to make well-informed decisions.
The BI Service currently is available to PRAS, AAD, the Development office, Purchasing, HR, and Research Services, with the Libraries joining very soon. We hope that use will expand over time, but at present support for the system is restricted to these areas until a support framework is put in place as part of the wider BI programme of work.