Why a data-driven approach is key to unlocking intelligent education

children using tablets

If COVID-19 has taught us anything about the education sector, it’s that institutions can quickly transform their operations when needed.

The pandemic forced schools and universities to adopt technology at breakneck speed so students could continue learning remotely. This rapid digital shift has opened their eyes to the possibilities that a modernised approach to data and analytics can unlock.

Recent research shows that two-thirds of Australian school teachers believe that technology enhances opportunities to facilitate enquiry-based learning, and more than half agree that it enhances student reporting.

Continued innovation can enable schools, universities and other education providers to deliver ever more seamless and personalised experiences, and empower students to take charge of their own learning. But this all depends on taking the right approach to data.

Let the data drive

By placing data and analytics at the core of their business strategy and operations, educational institutions can create a ‘digital feedback loop’ where data and information can flow beyond silos to create new value.

Teachers can use data to make better decisions in areas such as classroom delivery and lesson plans, for instance. A data-driven approach can help institutional leaders anticipate and respond to student needs faster, while ensuring inclusivity and maximum participation. And by feeding data into artificial intelligence (AI) systems, staff members can save time on administrative tasks and focus on impactful activities that deliver results for students.

The positive impacts for educational institutions that improve the quality of their data estates and unlock the potential of analytics are endless. But to realise them, certain conditions need to be met:

  1. Data is integrated across an organisation’s entire estate.
  2. Everyone within an organisation is empowered to access data.
  3. Data is protected by strong security, good governance and quality guardrails, and steps are taken to ensure the ethical and responsible use of AI.

The path to data modernisation can be a challenging one for schools and universities, but with the right support, they can fast-track their digital transformation to deliver a more intelligent education future.

Seek flexibility and expertise

With each educational institution on their own technology journey, it’s important that the support they’re receiving to modernise their data and analytics capabilities is flexible enough to meet their needs.

Microsoft Unified Support provides customers with comprehensive assistance across the entire Microsoft portfolio. It also tailors the customer experience with a wide range of expert-led, solution-specific Proactive Services and more than 20 relationship-based, in-depth Enhanced Solutions.

Having access to an experienced team of data and AI specialists is vital for schools and universities that are trying to modernise their data estate. However, with Australia and New Zealand currently suffering an IT skills shortage, the right talent can be hard to come by.

Educational institutions that utilise Microsoft Unified Support have the advantage of a designated Customer Success Account Manager (CSAM) who provides reactive support and escalates issues promptly when needed. The CSAM also provides proactive support by helping plan and execute business strategies, and ensuring access to the right resources at the right time.

Unified Support enables educational institutions to upskill their staff on data and analytics best practices and the latest Microsoft products via technical training, instructor-led webcasts and expert guidance from specialised teams. Advisory support is also available to ensure that data modernisation initiatives are done securely, and our on-demand assessment tools and tailored recommendations allow customers to take control of their own IT health.

It makes monetary sense

Educational institutions that find the right partner to support their data transformations can not only deliver better learning experiences for students and better teaching outcomes for their staff, but can also improve their bottom line.

With 98 per cent of its infrastructure now in the Microsoft Azure Cloud, the Department for Education (DfE), which oversees 20,000 schools in England, recently engaged Microsoft Unified Support to help it respond to and log IT incidents, as well as provide advice and guidance on managing its Microsoft technology estate. By using Microsoft Unified Support designated support engineers, the DfE saved approximately £10 million in one year alone.

In fact, Forrester Research found that over a three-year period, Microsoft Unified Support can deliver a 130 per cent return on investment and US$833,000 in benefits to users.

Commit and collaborate

The COVID-19 pandemic has given educational institutions the chance to rethink and redesign the way they use data and analytics, to ultimately provide better learning outcomes for their students. And as a recent report by EY notes, collaboration is key to making the most of this opportunity.

Those who lean on experts to modernise their data and analytics capabilities are best placed to grow in a cloud-first world.

Modernise your data estate with Microsoft Unified Enterprise Support

The right expertise is vital to ensuring the success of your data transformation program, however with an IT skills shortage in Australia and New Zealand, securing the right talent can be challenging. Microsoft Unified Enterprise Support can help you rapidly modernise your data estate, providing access to an experienced team of data and AI specialists. Our specialist team will work with you to upskill your staff on data and analytics best practices and the latest Microsoft products via technical training, instructor-led webcasts and expert guidance from specialised teams.

Find out more about Microsoft Unified Enterprise Support.