Data analytics is central to university strategy

Edinburgh Napier University has used data analytics tools in order to increase competitiveness

Edinburgh’s 2020 strategy is to grow its academic reputation, deliver an excellent student experience, be renowned as a great place to work, and serve an appetite for knowledge and innovation. In order to support this strategy, the university recognised that it needed to become more commercially savvy and proactively align its workforce with this vision. 

The university worked in partnership with MHR Analytics to implement SAP Business Objects and Lumira with two key objectives in mind. (1) Increase data accuracy across the university by integrating systems, and (2) Provide the tools for senior executives to easily access and analyse critical management information to help identify issues and make informed decisions. 

Kerry Dewar, Director of People and Services said: “If having the right people is essential to the university’s day to day business requirements and competitiveness, the provision of timely and accurate business information is paramount for successful decision-making and people leadership.” 

Commenting on the implementation, Jane Hutchison, Systems and Process Improvement Manager said: “We have seen great results through the adoption of SAP Business Objects and Lumira. Graphical dashboards and automated reports use our existing data to deliver rapid insight to the people that need it, helping us quickly analyse and make informed decisions about recruitment, staff-student ratios, impacts upon student experience, ages and diversity profiles, equal pay, engagement, risk of absenteeism or leavers, departmental performance and much more.”

Once static records are now monitored in real time, allowing the university to proactively address risks and issues before they become a problem, and to capitalise on those areas that appear to be thriving and meeting objectives. This has led to greater efficiencies and process improvements, alongside significant enhancements to data quality. 

Jane continues: “We now continually update and maintain HESA records to eliminate the year-end process, and use Lumira to assist with reporting obligations surrounding Equal Pay data returns. We can create and publish a year on year graphical report with ease, allowing us to present a polished brand externally.”

Commenting on the success of the project, Jane concluded: “We are an example of an organisation where people data and systems are pivotal to what we do and ultimately the student experience, not people data for its’ own sake.”  

Nick Felton, Director of MHR Analytics said: “The project at Edinburgh Napier University is a great example of how breaking down data silos and allowing information to flow seamlessly through core business applications, can yield enterprise-wide benefits that can help organisations make informed business decisions in order to operate more efficiently and competitively. We are delighted to have worked in partnership with Edinburgh Napier University to deliver the results that they are seeing and hope to be able to continue to help them achieve more as their strategy evolves.” 

To view the full case study visit: