In 2018, the Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen will have existed 220 years. The university serves 26,000 students and 1,100 trainees from trade and industry. The 3,100 employees are distributed over four locations in Groningen, Assen, Leeuwarden and Amsterdam. The Hanze University of Applied Sciences offers broad and multilingual education with 54 bachelor programmes, 8 programmes for associate degrees and 19 master programmes. A substantial amount of applied research is carried out through the university, in close collaboration with trade and industry and non-profit institutions.
It was difficult and time-consuming to render the quality and effectiveness of education insightful in a manner that was reliable.
Integration of data via a logical data warehouse and self-service information provision.
Up-to-date and reliable information on success rates as a basis for internal decision-making, financing and external assessments.
The Hanze University of Applied Sciences has high standards for the quality of education. There is a strong focus on quality and effectiveness of the studies. Moreover, the success rate plays a decisive role in the university’s financing, due to the performance agreements with the minister. The annual quality assessments by external parties are an important indicator of the quality of the education and how the university is faring compared to other educational institutes. Deans, team leads and training managers also have an ongoing need for detailed insight into the success rate, drop-out rates and the number of programme changeovers.
Faster and more reliable
‘Our main problem was that supplying information was such a time-consuming and error-prone task’, explains Patrick Tuil, Director of Economic and Financial Affairs. ‘Collecting the required data and generating the reports took place manually. The management information came in once a month, without the possibility to click through to analyse the information. We could not even answer certain questions.’ The Hanze University of Applied Sciences therefore joined forces with Kadenza to get management information out faster and more reliably and to give users more options for self-service analysis.
‘A logical data warehouse with one uniform information model guarantees reliable information, but gives the flexibility to look at the same data from various perspectives.’
Jonathan Wisgerhof, Lead Consultant, Kadenza
Logical data warehouse
‘For us, it is really important that employees are able to anticipate current affairs independently, fast and with reliable information, without spending too much time collecting data’, explains Patrick. ‘We wanted to circumvent the need to frequently and unnecessarily duplicate data and wanted a way to view the same data from a range of definitions.’ Kadenza advised us to implement a logical data warehouse, which results in one uniform data layer, but no need to physically replicate anything. ‘This allows us to make new data available for analysis much faster,’ explains Jonathan Wisgerhof, Lead Consultant at Kadenza. ‘Moreover, we were able to implement it quite easily with the Microsoft technology already in place at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences.’
The logical data warehouse is the reliable basis for all reports and analyses. Broadly speaking, there are three types of information users. Managers mainly receive standard reports with analyses and visualisations of the main figures. Interactive dashboards were developed for a large group of users, which they can use to independently analyse the quality of the education. Patrick explains that there is also a third group: ‘we have created a sandbox environment for the true analysts, where they can use an analysis tool to look for causes and correlations.’ Everyone is content with how up-to-date and complete the information is. ‘Our highly critical training managers are very satisfied with the solution, and that says a lot,’ Patrick says laughingly.
‘Detailed insight into the quality and performance of our education is essential if we want to make the right decisions.’
Patrick Tuil, Director of Economic and Financial Affairs, Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen“
‘We wanted to test the solution beforehand for ease of use and management simplicity, and wanted to make the right architectural decisions. That’s why we started with a demarcated pilot, aimed at analysis and success rate,’ explains Patrick. ‘Kadenza uses the scrum methodology, which works really well for us. We get something new every two weeks. This means we can make adjustments on time and I can keep the costs well under control.’ Patrick does notice, however, that the working method relies heavily on the user organisation. ‘The deans and team leads are intensively involved. This makes the products that are supplied extremely well-suited to their needs and perceptions.’
There was much debate about the definitions during the implementation of the logical data warehouse. Now that so much information is available so easily, the scope is quickly shifting from external accountability to internal analysis of the quality of the education. It didn’t take long for Patrick to notice that the internal and external definitions did not match. ‘For example, externally we also report the number of years that a student was in a different programme before failing there. This is useless to us internally. Internally, we look at when someone came to our institution and how long they took to complete their studies.’ The flexibility of the logical data warehouse and the scrum approach enabled us to try out various definitions, to iteratively arrive at the correct one.
When it comes to information provision, the Hanze University of Applied Sciences is one of the front-runners in the world of education. The logical data warehouse plays a major part in this. Everyone in the organisation now has access to up-to-date information, independent of time and location. ‘For my department, this suits the development that we are currently going through – from financial control to business control. When colleagues have access to self-service analysis tools, we can spend our time on in-depth analyses, turning ourselves into advisers for the rest of the organisation,’ Patrick concludes.