Knowledge management at the University of Jyväskylä took a big leap forward with the help of Pinja

In 2020, the University of Jyväskylä took a significant step forward in its path of knowledge management when it introduced a data warehouse reporting portal. The portal is based on Microsoft Power BI, which was set up and taken into versatile use together with Pinja. Regarding the cooperation, the University especially valued Pinja’s extensive and long-term experience, fluent communication and fresh perspectives.

In Universities, both external and internal reporting are an important part of knowledge management. Real-time numerical data and progress reports are very useful for monitoring and management at university level, as well as in every smaller unit, from departments to subjects, separate institutes and projects. The reports will be of particular importance in monitoring key information affecting the core funding provided by the Ministry of Education and Culture.

In the first phase of implementing the new reporting portal, the University of Jyväskylä introduced the study progress report of master’s and bachelor’s degree students, the study progress report of doctoral students, and project portfolios for the application stage of supplementary funding. In the second phase, financial and personnel reporting, reporting on international staff mobility and a management dashboard will be introduced. The University has several key user groups, including unit management, controllers and project secretaries, as well as education coordinators and research developers.

I appreciate the fact that we have been able to utilize the extensive knowledge and experience Pinja has accumulated.

Brief summary of the project

Solution: Pinja’s operating model ensured a smooth and fast implementation of Power BI

The University of Jyväskylä selected Pinja as its Power BI partner through public tendering. The most important selection criterion was quality, and this proved to be a clear strength for Pinja.

The deployment project, which started in January 2020, was completed in December of the same year. During the year, a foundation was constructed, the availability of the necessary source data was ensured, the necessary data models were prepared and back-end servers were set up. Careful groundwork with definition steps ensured that the portal works reliably and comprehensively, also in the long run.   

– The cooperation with Pinja has been really good all the time, and the communication has remained excellent, despite the coronavirus. In the cooperation, I appreciate the fact that we have been able to utilize the extensive knowledge and experience they have accumulated. They have guided us through proven practices, so we avoided reinventing the wheel – and this was our original goal, says Data Analysis Specialist Jenni Kokko, who worked as a project manager for the University of Jyväskylä’s Power BI implementation.

The goal of the project was not only to introduce a new system but also to transfer knowledge and deeper understanding of Power BI from Pinja to the University’s own staff. In 2021, the focus will shift to the sharing and transfer of knowledge, and the University’s own staff will gradually take overall responsibility for maintaining and expanding the use of the portal.

Our cooperation agreement was originally for 1+1 year, and we came to the conclusion that we definitely want to use the optional year as well. We have received valuable feedback from Pinja about our own development work and also excellent ideas for things we did not have any previous experience in, Kokko says.

"The main reason for the transition was that we wanted to make relevant information directly available to everyone in need. That is why we are talking about data-informed decision-making instead of knowledge management. This better illustrates the dissemination of information to the wider community."
Jenni Kokko, Jyväskylä University

Knowledge is for all

The ERP of a University has certain special features that differ from the business world, which set their own framework for the work community’s activities. Still, the activities must be streamlined and productive.

– University researchers have the freedom to choose their own research objects and methods, and this is an important value for us to cherish. However, while protecting independence, we must also ensure the basic conditions and the financial basis for the activities. This type of coordination is one thing that we here at the university’s Division of Policy & Planning do, Kokko says.

The education and research communities must also invest in efficient operations, monitoring the right indicators and the continuity and timeliness of reporting. Universities have their own key role to play in the full transition to a digital society.

The University of Jyväskylä has already used data warehousing and reporting tools in the past, but the introduction of Power BI means a significant step towards more comprehensive and real-time knowledge management. With the help of the reporting portal, the University compiles reports relevant to each user group, the content and outlook of which are planned together with the target groups.

The portal reduces the amount of manual work, monitoring becomes real-time and the understanding of the cause-and-effect relationships of different matters improves.

– The main reason for the transition was that we wanted to make relevant information directly available to everyone in need. That is why we are talking about data-informed decision-making instead of knowledge management. This better illustrates the dissemination of information to the wider community. For example, in order to steer activities in the desired direction, profit-making units need to have access to data related to financial models in an easily understandable and manageable form. It must also be possible to monitor progress and changes in key figures continuously, Kokko states.

Brief summary of the project

1

In 2020, the University of Jyväskylä took a significant step forward in its path of knowledge management when it introduced a data warehouse reporting portal.

2

In the first phase of implementing the new reporting portal, the University of Jyväskylä introduced the study progress report of master’s and bachelor’s degree students, the study progress report of doctoral students, and project portfolios for the application stage of supplementary funding.

3

The goal of the project was not only to introduce a new system but also to transfer knowledge and deeper understanding of Power BI from Pinja to the University’s own staff.

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“The definition stage definitely engaged our employees, and it had a clear start and a clear end. To a large extent, we felt that Pinja facilitated our own work and guided our development efforts in the right direction.”

Harri Bergholm, Director of Development