How to research a FinAid BI solution

You don’t want a BI solution that tries to be everything to everyone

By Chris Chumley

Business Intelligence (BI) is quickly becoming a crowded industry. Google the term and you’ll find more than 50 million results, including BI heavyweights SAP and Oracle, and newer names like Qlik and Teradata. If you’re a higher education institution looking to drive more value from your Financial Aid Data, your quick Google search has likely left you with more questions than answers. Do I need a megavendor or niche vendor? What’s the difference between all these solutions? What do they cost, and how hard will they be to implement? The best place to start is to look at how the BI market players are positioning their solutions.

A tangible lack of differentiation

I love this recent blog by Lawson Abinanti over at Messages that Matter. As he points out, many solutions today try to be everything to everyone. Researching a BI solution, you’ll be bombarded with language around ‘powerful insights,’ ‘translate data into value,’ and ‘make more informed, confident decisions.’ There’s nothing wrong with this type of generic language, but it raises flags for me that these solutions may be time-consuming, heavy processes. What’s the difference in developing powerful insights for a manufacturing company in the oil and gas industry and for a global accounting firm? There are worlds of difference. A solution that is ‘everything to everyone’ will need to gain in-depth stakeholder knowledge to refine the BI platform so that it identifies, measures, and delivers relevant insights.

CampusMetrics: Developed for Financial Aid

In their 2016 report ‘Critical Capabilities for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms,’ Gartner recommends that “Data and analytics leaders should evaluate BI and analytics products based on the use cases needed by each organization.” We couldn’t agree more. Working closely with Financial Aid Offices over the years, we’ve heard your frustrations around analytics. You have no visibility, insight, or easy access to your data. You can’t identify student populations that need outreach. You have to rely on IT for any kind of reporting. Your frustrations drove development of CampusMetrics, and the positioning really did write itself: Visualize and act on Financial Aid data instantly.

The best out-of-the-box solution for FinAid

Our solution makes your financial aid data instantly insightful and actionable to help you boost enrollment, improve efficiencies, and provide a top-notch student experience. Our comprehensive library of pre-built insights sheds light on your application volume, Pell distribution, geography mapping of ISIRs, and more. Earlier we said that ‘insights’ is language you’ll hear from everyone. Why is it different when we say it? Because we’ve done the heavy lifting for Financial Aid. You don’t need to sit and try to figure out what you want to measure, or what insights you want to track. You can, of course (with one of those other solutions, and a lot of time). Or you can use our pre-built Insight Gallery to learn about:

  • ISIR Volume Year Over Year
  • ISIR Volume by High School
  • ISIR Volume of Incoming Vs. Returning Students
  • Students with Verification Vs. Non-Verification
  • Verification Group Breakdown
  • Pell Eligible Student Distribution
  • Applications by Gender
  • Loan Eligibility Distribution
  • Percentage of SNAP in Household
  • First Generation Student Population
  • DRT Usage Year-over-Year
  • Citizenship Status by Award Year

This is just a sampling of the 25+ insights currently available in CampusMetrics. For more on our Insight Gallery and how its growth is driven by crowdsourcing, check out this blog.

Passionate about providing the right solution for FinAid

I often tell folks that the real reason I joined CampusLogic was for the opportunity to really dig into what a BI solution for the FinAid industry COULD and SHOULD be. It’s clear that we’re not the right BI solution for every industry, but that was never our goal. Our mission is to make financial aid awesome for schools and students through extraordinary software. Isn’t it nice when missions and goals align?

Sign up for the April webinar “Make Your Financial Aid Data Actionable.” >

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