Skip to content Exit mobile menu

Business Intelligence and Reporting project

Timely access to data and reports has long been a frustration for staff across the University. 

The aim of this project is to offer a University-wide Business Intelligence and Reporting solution which will give staff the information that is needed to make effective business decisions.  The project will identify University-wide solutions which will remove the need for many stand alone applications. This should enable the rationalisation of licence costs which will offset, in part, the cost of new tools and provide a cost-effective BI and reporting solution including:

  • Operational Reporting
  • Operational Reports, each of which meets the needs of as many users as possible (so that we avoid a proliferation of reports).
  • Standard Data Definitions to reduce the likelihood of conflicting data.
  • An agreed process for requesting new reports and for these to be prioritised.  
  • Ways and means for end users to self-serve creation of reports as required.
  • Strategic Reporting
    • A selection of approved Business Intelligence (BI) tools  to enable the creation of dynamic and interactive dashboards and reports
    • Strategic Reports to enable staff across the University to access data which aids decision making and offers the ability to address progress.  
    • Strategic Reports which allow people to apply filters to find the data that is useful to them.
    • Strategic Reports which can pull in any data source thus enabling us to link data sources to provide a richer dataset.
    • Ways and means for end users to self-serve creation of reports as required.
  • Data Capture and Storage
    • A secure and robust solution for data capture and storage (a.k.a. Data Warehouse) that would enable the University to report against historic data.

The intention is to provide tools which enable reporting and data warehousing to be performed on any St Mary’s data source.  However, it is anticipated that the initial focus for Year 1 will be restricted e.g. to data from the Student Records System (SITS) and other data sources will be incorporated in later years.

The project board has been established as follows:- 

  • Richard Solomon (project sponsor)
  • Elizabeth Bell (project exec)
  • Rob Johnson (project manager)
  • Andrew Whateley
  • Antonia Farrell
  • Ben Henderson
  • Bing Choong
  • Claire Tapia
  • Emmanuel Kosack
  • Gabriella Bond
  • Gavin Hindley
  • Jacob Phillips
  • Jenny Willott
  • Jo Blunden
  • Mandeep Bhogal
  • Rebecca Hughes
  • Nikki Anghileri
  • new CIO
  • Sarah Brooks
  • Sheela Patel
  • Simon Williams
  • Shweta Sharma
  • Tony Langford
  • Lisa Bath
  • Yasmina Mallam-Hallam.

The project board has approved the selection of Microsoft PowerBI as our chosen tool underpinned by a Data Warehouse based on Microsoft SQL Server.  The use of Microsoft products enables us to integrate the reporting tool within our existing Office 365 infrastructure.  The contract for this, procured via the APUC (Advanced Procurement for Universities and Colleges) framework, has been signed.

Each member of the Project Board was asked to collate the reporting requirements for the department that they are representing. 
For more details of the reports identified for your area please contact the Project Board member for your department (as listed above).

Working in conjunction with the Data Governance Group, the project is also agreeing some standard data definitions so that we are all working to the same parameters.

Some of the identified reports are operational reports about our students which will be delivered through SITS.   These are SITS Enhancements which are being prioritised and delivered by the SITS User Group independently of the Business Intelligence and Reporting project. 

For details please contact Ben Henderson or Sheela Patel.

The initial focus for developing PowerBI reports is on reports relating to Applicants and currentStudents (using data from SITS).

Phase 1 of these reports was rolled out in April 2022.

It is expected that these reports will be maintained and enhanced going forward.

Further reports will be developed throughout this academic year and over the coming years.

Training for users to enable them to access and navigate Power BI reports has been provided in the form online training sessions which have been recorded and are thus available for all users.  These are accompanied by a How To guide.  In additio, Drop-in clinics are held in the weeks following ther release of reports.

Please refer to the Power BI Guidance page.


Work on developing Phase 2 reports has just started.  These are expected to be released in September 2022.


Training for users will be provided and will take the form of structured training sessions, online video resources and drop-in clinics.  Further details about training will be made available in the New Year.

Working in conjunction with the Data Governance Group, the project will also seek to agree some standard data definitions so that we are all working to the same parameters.

Authorised staff are able to self-serve to access the information the need and will be able to filter and/or drill down the reports to see the subset(s) of information that they are interested in.

However, there are currently only a limited number of Power BI licences available. Therefore, if you do not have access but need it (e.g. if you're a new starter or have recently changed role) please raise a request via the IT Service Desk.


CapEx funding to develop more reports and/or increase the numbe rof users who can access reports is being sought as part of the 2022-23 Capital Planning Round.

As we progress with the project it is inticipated that some users will be given access to create and share their own reports Power BI, enabling users to interrogate datasets.