Westminster Kingsway College Case Study

 

Westminster Kingsway College’s information services team has dramatically cut the time it takes to produce management reports using Dynistics’ Active Dashboards. And that’s just the start, says Ashley Harding, Head of College Information Services.

The Challenge

Westminster Kingsway College was looking for a way of streamlining its day-to-day operations and making its working practices more efficient and effective.

As Ashley says, “We could produce reports but that’s not what we were interested in. We were interested in a tool to help us run things better.”

Across the college, data was held in a variety of different systems. Accessing that information was often a time-consuming manual process – something Ashley and the rest of the college management team was keen to improve.

“For us, Active Dashboards is all part of our bigger plan to use our data more effectively,” he explains. “The information is there. Now it’s about presenting it on dashboards
so we can use that information to have a real impact.”

Active Dashboards Solution

As Head of College Information Services, Ashley was tasked with choosing the right dashboard solution for Westminster-Kingsway College. He established a panel which included members of his team and representatives from the college’s senior management team. As part of the selection process, the panel considered seven different suppliers before choosing Active Dashboards.

Dynistics and Active Dashboards stood out for having the best track record in the college sector. As Ashley says:

“When you talk about dashboards in education, you’re talking about Dynistics. The two just go together. We selected Dynistics for its expertise and experience with colleges, and the added value that can bring us.”

Implementation

To establish Active Dashboards within the college, Ashley’s team started by converting its most commonly used spreadsheet reports into dashboards.

As Ashley explains: “We’ve taken the current spreadsheet reports we use and converted them, because that’s what we want. It’s what we use. It’s what everyone likes. We’ve done all the thinking, so now we want to make that data more easily available.”

Ashley has obtained feedback from users across the college. By getting this input, the college is able to deliver the kind of dashboards that make it easy for team leaders, department heads and others to do their jobs more effectively.

“This is about moving forward” Ashley adds. “We’ve got a lot of things in spreadsheets but not all in one place, and that is one of the big benefits of using the dashboards – this unification of style and interface makes information much easier to manage.”

The information services team has also implemented dashboards to display the college’s ProAchieve data on attendance, retention and success (SAR) across all courses, revealing new insights in the process.

Outcome

Converting spreadsheets into Active Dashboard reports alone saves Ashley’s team almost 100 hours of time regularly spent on reporting activities. The conversion process took only one day to complete.

“The Applications report is a good example,” Ashley says. “Before, we’d extract the data from our reporting system, then run it through a database, and then put it into spreadsheet pivot tables. We did this every week and it took up a significant amount of time.

“With Active Dashboards showing the information live, it just takes us the time to log on to access the data – and the data is live, not static.

“At this rate, I’d estimate that in the first year I’ll see time savings that are the equivalent of one full time member of staff, giving us more time to interpret and use our data instead of collating it.”

Another benefit of presenting the information graphically is the instant access and ability to really see the results revealed from our data.

“Our applications report tracks how many students have applied, how many of those have gone through to interviews, and how many withdrawals there were.
With a spreadsheet it’s hard to see the trends, but the dashboards address this issue in real-time and so the senior team can instantly see changes. They get a truer picture of the information.”

 

Time savings equivalent to one full-time member of staff per year

due to eliminating static spreadsheet reports for key metrics, saving many hours per week.

Instant access to data

making information available in real time, enabling management to focus on changing working practices for the better across the board.

A truer picture of key information

as dashboards are able to show trends and changes dynamically rather than in a summary of static format.

From the client

"I’d estimate that in the first year I’ll see time savings that are the equivalent of one full-time member of staff, giving us more time to interpret and use our data instead of collating it."

Ashley Harding,
Head of College Information Services,
Westminster-Kingsway College

"When you talk about dashboards in education, you’re talking about Dynistics. The two just go together. We selected Dynistics for its expertise and experience with colleges, and the added value that can bring us ."

Ashley Harding,
Head of College Information Services,
Westminster-Kingsway College

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