SOURCE: Information Builders

September 10, 2008 10:56 ET

Universities Embrace Business Intelligence to Propel 150% Growth for Information Builders in Higher Education Market

University of Virginia, De Montfort U., Tarleton State U., and Others Save Time, Reduce Costs, and Increase Productivity With WebFOCUS

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - September 10, 2008) - Information Builders, the independent leader in operational business intelligence (BI) systems, today announced that over the past two years, the company has seen more than 150 percent growth in its higher education business in North America. Numerous higher education organizations are using WebFOCUS as their university-wide business intelligence standard. The nation's leading schools, including University of Virginia (UVA) Department of Medicine, Tarleton State University, University of North Texas and others, have selected Information Builders WebFOCUS to ensure delivery of critical information across their organizations to save time, reduce operating costs, and boost productivity.

"Education is the cornerstone of innovation, and more and more prestigious universities are using business intelligence technology to advance their commitment to academic excellence," said Gerald Cohen, CEO of Information Builders. "Our technology empowers these higher education organizations to better understand their data, enabling them to reduce inaccuracies, to make more informed decisions, and to eliminate costly inefficiencies."

University of Virginia Prescribes BI for a Healthy Bottom Line

The UVA School of Medicine is ranked 10th in the nation among state-assisted medical schools. With 23 research centers, the school makes discoveries that lead to new and better therapies, including the areas of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and vaccine development.

The UVA Department of Medicine successfully implemented the WebFOCUS BI platform, merging financial reports, faculty remuneration plans, statistics, data tracking, and clinical billing reports. More than 300 users now depend on WebFOCUS to bridge two accounting systems and satisfy a diverse set of reporting requirements, including the ability to tightly integrate the new reports with Microsoft Excel. WebFOCUS improved the efficiency of employees throughout the organization, with direct savings of more than $150,000 per year.

"We needed a reporting environment that was easy to use and could handle the needs of our physicians, as well as our clinical and department administrators," said Elizabeth Wildman, vice chair and chief operating officer for the Department of Medicine. "With WebFOCUS, we now have a single reporting tool to take care of our most acute business needs."

Tarleton State University Moves WebFOCUS to the Head of the Class

Dr. Brad Chilton, interim provost and vice president of Academic Affairs at Tarleton State University, and his team, chose WebFOCUS because it makes it easy to access and analyze current data through parameter-driven reports. Users can view, customize, and create their own reports with easy-to-use tools and can graphically represent information via dashboards. They can also share information with other users via common desktop tools such as Excel, Adobe Acrobat, and any Web browser.

Tarleton State University purchased WebFOCUS in March 2006, installed the software that summer, attended training classes in October, and had reports on their Web site by December. Today, the university's interactive Fact Book takes advantage of WebFOCUS, parameterized reports, and many tabular reports and graphs, giving users the option of obtaining information via HTML, PDF, and Excel formats. The system accesses SunGard Higher Education Banner data as well as data from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Friends University Delivers a Century of Information

For more than 100 years, Friends University in Wichita, Kansas, has been providing a liberal arts education to students of all ages and denominations. Friends needed a way to extract insight from their Banner software and deliver business intelligence to users throughout the institution to improve decision-making.

It was WebFOCUS' flexibility and ease of use that initially won over the university's selection committee. Friends was impressed with WebFOCUS' structured ad hoc capabilities and how the organization could deploy flexible reporting templates without training and develop complex reports without programmers.

"It was very evident that WebFOCUS was a mature information delivery platform and the capabilities were years ahead of the competition," said Cynthia Jacobson, director of IT Business Services at Friends University. "We recognized that Banner offered a lot of advantages for our university, but we needed a business intelligence platform to deliver those benefits."

University of North Texas Tracks Student Success

With the increasing cost of attending medical school, the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) needed a way to evaluate student performance in real time and provide immediate academic assistance to ensure student success before it's too late. In order to keep track of its students' performance easily, the University of North Texas Health Science Center implemented an online, student-tracking system with WebFOCUS.

With its intuitive dashboards and easy navigation tools, WebFOCUS met all of the university's criteria. UNTHSC wanted an internet-based solution that had a strong underlying database, an integrated graphics capability, a robust middleware component allowing native connections to multiple data sources, and a strong business intelligence tool that included data visualization and rule-based color coding.

With the new system, reporting became a real-time experience. Immediately after a test is graded, results are posted online and integrated into the student's academic record, with full drill-down capability. Additionally, to interpret data quickly in order to detect problematic students, data visualization is a critical report element. Grade deviations are easily discernable with color-coded bar charts. At the first sign of difficulty, illustrated by two yellow bands, students are referred to academic counselors for guidance.

San Jacinto College Makes the Grade With Self-Service Reporting

San Jacinto College in Harris County, Texas, serves 25,000 students and is famous for being the site of the battle that brought Texas its independence. At San Jacinto, providing reports in a timely manner to a wide constituency spread out over three different campuses was a challenging and time consuming process. The organization needed to automate the process of extracting data from the Banner ERP system and disseminating that information through a dynamic, self-service, parameter-driven reporting environment. With three modules and 15 different sets of templates, WebFOCUS provided the out-of-the-box functionality that allowed San Jacinto to deploy the reporting system in just eight weeks.

WebFOCUS enabled users to access and analyze data through a Web-based system, providing instant end-user access to information from the desktop. The reporting tool visually represents information via secure, role-specific dashboards, and integrates the reporting environment with existing tools such as Microsoft Excel and Adobe Acrobat. Faculty and staff members are now empowered to drill down into the information on their own. WebFOCUS eliminated paper-based reports, freed IT personnel from fielding custom report requests, and strengthened decision-making by providing faster access to information.

De Montfort University Saves 40 Percent on Licensing and Cuts Hardware Costs by 75 Percent

De Montfort University (DMU), one of the UK's largest universities with 20,500 students and 3,200 staff, is leveraging WebFOCUS to increase market share and raise its profile in the competitive higher education sector. The Web-based, easy-to-use front end extends analysis and reporting to more than 3,000 administrative users and academic staff.

Due to the solution's drag-and-drop functionality, programmers can now build data marts rapidly, without the need for complex SQL coding. DMU's operational, strategic, and management reports are now compiled centrally from multiple information sources and take just hours rather than weeks to complete. WebFOCUS gives users direct access to critical data such as admissions and progressions, student entry profiles, most/least popular courses, drop out rates, and degree classifications. Drilling down into data on each faculty, course, or year allows trends to be detected and performance to be compared with other establishments.

The scalability of WebFOCUS also drove down deployment costs. Because WebFOCUS runs on a single server, instead of the four DMU had prior to the implementation, the university cut hardware costs by 75 percent. Simultaneously, the CPU-based licensing model made the solution 40 percent less expensive than competing per-seat-based offerings. Partnering with Information Builders Professional Services enabled DMU to maximize its investment and generate the best return.

About Information Builders

As a leading independent business intelligence (BI) company for the past 30 years, Information Builders has provided innovative solutions to more than 12,000 customers, including most of the Fortune 100 and numerous U.S. federal government agencies. The company's flagship WebFOCUS product is the world's most widely used BI platform. Superior architecture and intuitive nature enables WebFOCUS to address the needs of everyone in the extended global enterprise -- executive, analytical, operational, and beyond. It provides the agility to adapt to changing business conditions with the security, scalability, and flexibility to support dozens to millions of users.

Unique to the company is the integration expertise it brings to the BI market. Information Builders iWay Software suite solves complex integration problems with pre-built components that require minimal custom programming. The award-winning combination of WebFOCUS and iWay gives Information Builders customers the ability to embrace the company motto: "Because Everyone Makes Decisions."

Information Builders is committed to customer service excellence with a Professional Services division that specializes in building custom applications using WebFOCUS and iWay Software. Headquartered in New York City with 90 offices worldwide, the company employs 1,450 people and has more than 350 business partners. Visit

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