The 2014 AAIR Special Interest Group (SIG) Forum for Data Warehouse, Business Intelligence and Analytics, and Load Management was held in August in Brisbane. It was hosted by the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), who put on a great event with representatives from institutions across Australia attending. The event was a useful time to hear about how various Universities are moving forward in business intelligence and to speak about the various challenges and new developments.
There were a number of presentations across a wide variety of BI issues. Some of these included:
- From Business Intelligence to Intelligent Business: Strategy, Agility, Innovation (Dr Sam Nielson, Queensland University of Technology)
A presentation about using business intelligence as a strategic asset. QUT has a team focussed on knowledge, innovation and visualisation rather than operational work. They have the opportunity to stop and reflect on the data. This has led to a number of new visualisations of data such as subject pathways, prerequisite analysis, geolocating attendance, and student success analysis. Skills required for this level of BI include foresight, vision, system thinking, motivating and partnering.
- A Warts & All Look at CSU’s Approach to Identifying & Managing Students at Risk of Attrition (Julie Newham & Tim Scott, Charles Sturt University; Matt Feltham, Altis Consulting)
CSU presented on a project they successfully delivered in a short time frame. Their Students At Risk project aimed to provide a list of students most at risk of attrition. This was a complex project requiring a large breadth of data and with success hard to matter. Their plan was to identify relevant factors, populate the data warehouse, and then build a predictive model. They found two factors to be relevant:
- Student Aptitude (assignment marks, GPA, student progression)
- Student Engagement (accessing online resources)
The predictive model provided each student with a rank based on likelihood of attrition, and the highest ranked students were targeted for intervention.
- Late to the BI Party, but Keen to Mingle (Tim O’Dea, James Cook University)
Tim presented JCU’s recent BI developments. They are only new but have come a long way better. They provide their users with a dashboard portal, using tabs for a number of dashboards, toggles between graph and chart views and ability to change the x-axis.
JCU are also using GraphViz to create unique visualisations, such as a historical comparison of enrolments from various points in the session (e.g. 2 weeks before, 1 week before, first day, 2 weeks before census, census date)
- Advanced Data Blending and Analytics Made Easy (Kerrin Paterson, University of Western Sydney; Steve Hitchman and Susan Day, MIP)
MIP presented a product named Alteryx, which allows users to visually design data blending workflows, pulling in social media and other data and perform various data blending functions. The tool allows ease of re-use and maintainability. Kerrin spoke about how different contexts require different BI and therefore different tools. Enterprise BI would use a data warehouse, whereas team and personal level BI will use a combination of data warehouse along with spreadsheets and other files.