Tell your story clearly, engage meaningfully with Data Analytics: Deepak Ghodke

Fusion Analytics World, Interview

It is crucial for the students to get a good grasp of data analytics as there is a growing demand for talent with data analytic skills across industries. Similarly, with the use of Data Analytics tools education institutions can present their stories clearly, leading to meaningful engagement with the communities. In an interview Deepak Ghodke, Country Manager, India, Tableau Software tells EC’s Mohd Ujaley, “Institutions that have been able to present important data clearly have been able to tell their stories better and as a result, engage with their communities in a more meaningful way.”

Edited Excerpts:

How Tableau Software is helping education institutions?
We help people see and understand data. Whether you’re a student creating scatter plots for a biology lab, an educator teaching business and economics, or an administrator making decisions about budgets and enrolment, Our software provides an easy and fast visual analysis experience to help anyone find real answers in their data. Our analytics solutio is a great way for students to elevate their core academics, and concurrently build the analytical skills employers are looking for in today’s workplace. We believe that adding analytics to the classroom will enhance any curriculum. Because analytics allow you to spend less time teaching software and more time thinking critically, asking and answering questions, and exploring data with students.

Also, educational institutions need to tap into academic, administrative, student, faculty, and research data to make critical and informed decisions. I am happy to inform you that hundreds of colleges including Ivy League, state and online institutions use Tableau to harness data for actionable insights and are making meaningful improvements throughout their organisations. Specific to data analytics in teaching,  our intuitive design and drag-and-drop usability allow students to work with data with confidence. Furthermore, the rich learning resources and sample dashboards available on Tableau’s website can be used immediately in the classroom.

From our experience, I must tell you that we have seen students using Tableau Desktop to analyse data from public portals that provides access to publicly available data published by governments, analyst and research firms. In class, students are often tasked to create dashboards that can help to answer a business question or highlight a business opportunity working with a selected dataset from the site. In India, some of the esteemed institutions such as Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore ((IIM-B) use  Tableau.

Why analytics is critical for educational institutions?
Universities and educational institutions are constantly looking to fulfill their mission of educating their communities. They often need to communicate to external stakeholders the data around that mission, such as the number of graduates, student population make up, and how finances are managed. In this era of larger data sets and disparate data sources, this can be especially challenging. However, institutions that have been able to present important data clearly have been able to tell their stories better and as a result, engage with their communities in a more meaningful way.

Firstly, enrollment numbers are one of the most important types of data at a university. Enrollment data is the key to successful planning and recruitment, and it can tell you trends such as student demographic and profile changes. Tracking enrollment trends can help students, faculty and staff understand what are often fast-changing communities. Using this information, universities can see the trends in the popularity of their courses and scale up or down on spaces to suit the demand.

Secondly, prospective students and their parents often use data about tuition, class sizes, graduation rates and other metrics to decide whether to apply to a school. Providing this data in an engaging and visual manner on the college’s website can make it easier for prospective students and their families understand the university’s programs, and make informed choices.

Thirdly, schools can present their findings, through an application as Tableau in a way that is both appealing and engaging for their stakeholders. For example, almost every university conducts surveys to better understand their communities and students. Because of this, many institutions also have extensive survey data that they need to analyze. These surveys can result in large data sets, consisting of thousands of rows of data, and can be challenging to work with when using simple spreadsheet software.

University staff can tap on easy-to-use data visualization tools. These tools can empower them to ask the right questions, find answers and uncover hidden trends from the data.

Fourth,  we understand that universities need to properly plan the use of physical space to function effectively. School administrations often have to plan classes and maintain emergency plans for instance. To save on energy costs, many institutions use spatial analysis to track and reduce energy usage too. Additionally, spatial analysis is necessary for planning for future growth and accommodating changing needs. One useful tip is to use data overlaid on a map. This can be an invaluable tool when planning new uses for specific space on campus.

Fifth, the education space is becoming increasingly saturated. We have enabled universities to utilise data analytics to benchmark themselves against peer institutions. Data such as test scores, graduation rates and scholarships can be compared among educational institutions. This allows universities to better understand where they stand in comparison with their peers, and in what areas they can make improvements. The data comparison also serves to offer a transparent view for prospective and current students regarding where the schools stand in academic performance, course fees, etc.

How education institutions can make data analytics classes interesting to keep students engaged?
Education institutions know that it is crucial for their students to get a good grasp of data analytics early as there is a growing demand for talents with data analytic skills across industries. They also know that they have to make their data analytics classes interesting to keep students engaged. At the same time, students need to be able to gain real-world data analytics skills that they can use in the workplace.

However, implementing modules on analytics does come with its challenges. Some of our client shared that before using Tableau for teaching, they came across many analytics tools which were complex and not suitable for classroom use. Some tools even had incompatibility issues with students’ computers, hindering the teaching process. This meant that 80% of the lessons were to be theory-based, and the instructors had to rely on case studies to explain concepts in business analytics. With these obstacles, students get limited hands-on experience and insufficient practical exposure leading to decline in their interest.

What is the one most critical issue that analytics in education face today?
Privacy, in fact it is a huge issue for any industry and so, organisations need to have the necessary measures in place to ensure that privacy is preserved. As far as Tableau is concern, we are not in the business of data gathering. Instead, our applications are harnessed to help people see and understand their data.

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Kalyan Banga224 Posts

I am Kalyan Banga, a Post Graduate in Business Analytics from Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta, a premier management institute, ranked best B-School in Asia in FT Masters management global rankings. I have spent 14 years in field of Research & Analytics.

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