Deloitte: Data analytics transforming higher education

Across the Middle East, educational institutions and providers face a myriad of challenges and opportunities. On the demand side, changing student and employer expectations place pressure on providers to improve learner outcomes and maintain relevance. Changes to regulations, growing competition and the funding environment impose challenges on providers maintaining financial sustainability. This topic formed the focus of a Deloitte session during the World Government Summit 2016 which took place from February 8-10 in Dubai and drew the attendance of over 3000 government officials from across the world.

Deloitte has been Knowledge Partner of the World Government Summit since its first edition in 2013. The Summit is the primary global forum dedicated to shaping the future of government worldwide. In 2015, Deloitte launched Gov2020 – the culmination of an extensive exploration of the drivers that are influencing the future of education, human services, healthcare, transportation and more.

During this year’s conference, the Deloitte delegation was led by Abdelhamid Suboh, partner and Public Sector leader at Deloitte Middle East, and Mike Turley, Global and UK public sector leader. Deloitte presented new insights on the role of analytics in education and digital transition of education organization.

“Educational organizations are increasingly being asked to demonstrate their wider impact and contribution to goals around employability, social mobility and inclusion,” explains Suboh. “Universities have spent decades optimizing one-size-fits all solutions to deal with ever growing enrolments and need to transform. Students today demand a more tailor-made, personalized approach, but universities lack the funds for true customer intimacy.”

“The World Government Summit is a unique knowledge exchange platform that enables government officials, policymakers and experts in human capital to detect future challenges and trends related to human capital and to harness innovation and technology in order to creatively solve universal challenges facing humanity. Hence, it is no coincidence that the Global Public Sector meeting is hosted this year in Dubai in order to showcase the city as a networking hub and to underscore the importance of the region,” he added.

According to the recent Deloitte survey, “The Journey to Government’s Digital Transformation,” which included more than 1,200 government officials from more than 70 countries, public sector organizations across all public sector domains including education are at different stages in the digital transformation process while facing broad range of barriers impeding them from taking advantage of digital trends. For example, as many as 87% of education organizations surveyed cite “managing” organization’s culture as a particular challenge, with 82% finding procurement issues the most pressing when it comes to digital transition. More than three-fourths of respondents from the higher education domain have been dissatisfied with their vendor community.

In fact, a small percentage of those surveyed fall into the “digitally maturing” category, while the large majority of governments are still in the early or developing stages of their digital transitions. This and other findings of the survey were presented during the Summit highlighting the ability of the digital technology to fundamentally transform the way the public sector operates and delivers services and to offer strategies to help accelerate the rate of organizations’ progress.

Also during the Summit, Turley explained how analytics help universities to make the change to personal, pro-active and fact-based student counselling. “Insights and predictions from student data can be used to transform student services to become proactive and personalized, without the costs associated with one-on-one tutoring. This will enable recruiters, counsellors, tutors and teachers to focus their limited time effectively on those students who need attention, and thereby help students achieve higher study success,” he concluded.