In order to highlight the significance of Business Intelligence (BI) and demonstrate its application for improving the decision making capability of senior managers of public universities, 1 day session was held for Vice Chancellors of Public Universities at Hotel Margalla, Islamabad on July 20, 2017. The session was inaugurated by Prof. Dr. Arshad Ali who underlined the significance of Information Technology for the entire higher education sector during his opening remarks. Specific to application of BI, he emphasized upon increasing the utilization of BI tool which is already available to all universities. He stressed upon utilizing these tools by universities as these tools help Vice Chancellors and other senior managers to improve their competence and accordingly they can take timely and value-added decisions (strategic as well as tactical) pertaining to improved governance of their respective universities.
BI is a set of methods and techniques that are used by organizations including universities for tactical and strategic decision making. It can be integrated with any type of reliable data source available in the universities that includes MS Excel, MS Access etc. Its major objective is to enable easy access to data (and models) to empower business managers with the ability to conduct predictive analysis. Using the BI, the managers of universities can transform data into information and knowledge so that decision making capability can be improved. In short, BI is the tool for enabling data-driven governance and for universities it is instrumental for good governance.
During the session, above mentioned capabilities of BI were demonstrated through Oracle based Business Intelligence tool (OBIEE) and ‘Power BI’ – tool that has been provided by Microsoft in its MSOffice 360 package. Power BI embedded with MSOffice 360 is already made available to all universities through Microsoft Education Alliance facilitated by HEC. During the session, the participants were made aware of this utility that at present is underutilized in public universities. Specific to this aspect, Mr. Anwar Amjad (HEC) stressed upon the need of utilization of IT tools including Power BI for which each university is already paying.
The session was attended by 38 senior managers including 24 Vice Chancellors/Pro-Vice Chancellors of 27 public universities across Pakistan. The execution of session was facilitated by Mr. Mahesh Ahuja (HEC) with the support of IT Division of HEC.
Mr. Imran Batada, Director ICT, IBA Karachi was the resource person who provided insights about the application of BI and its usefulness for university and entire higher education sector. He also demonstrated BI’s application on existing data models (templates) with real time data. He shared best practices to be implemented in the universities and explained how to overcome challenges that universities are currently facing. The questions related to policy making and challenges for developing these data models were answered by Dr. Farrukh Iqbal, Dean & Director of IBA Karachi. The entire session was interactive and participation of Vice Chancellors/Pro Vice Chancellors was remarkable.
At the end of session, IT Division of HEC, represented by Ms. Aneela Tanveer and Muhammad Awais Javed presented the strategic roadmap of IT Division of HEC. They ensured IT Division’s commitment to provide continuous support to universities for infrastructure and application development/maintenance.
In his closing remarks, Prof. Dr. Arshad Ali, Executive Director, pledged HEC’s continuous support to all universities where interest for automation exists. He also asked Vic Chancellor’s about their feedback on the session who categorically supported the idea and suggested similar sessions to be facilitated by HEC. Executive Director, HEC also thanked Mr. Imran Batada for conducting this session without any charges. He also appreciated the services of Mr. Mahesh Ahuja who made every effort to ensure successfulness of session despite his service contract with HEC as IT Consultant is ended in June 2017.