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The Strategy, Analytics and Reporting Office (SARO) sits within the Office of the Vice-Chancellor. Its core tasks include:

Strategy and Advisory

  • Provide strategic advice to the Vice-Chancellor and senior leaders as required
  • Manage and facilitate the development and application of the University Strategic Plan (Pae Tata) and associated frameworks that underpin University operations and decision making
  • Undertake and manage the provision of consistent and integrated strategic and operational planning, review processes for client portfolios, and monitor strategic initiatives throughout the University
  • Manage or be actively involved in selected strategic initiatives where required
  • Provide strategic advisory services to Academic Divisions, through the development and implementation of plans, monitoring and reporting on performance, and conducting strategic analysis to support achievement of Pae Tata goals

Analytics and Insights

  • Conduct institutional research (analysis to inform University operations)
  • Gather and analyse marketing intelligence and market research
  • Forecasting of student load (EFTS), tracking of student academic performance and other student indicators
  • Combine internal and external information to inform and develop computational models for student and staff forecasts
  • Coordinate and institutional benchmarking (e.g. UniForum and Tribal) and international rankings (e.g. QS, Time Higher Education)
  • Coordinate surveys related to SARO operations, in collaboration with the Quality Advancement Unit and other stakeholders

Reporting and Compliance

  • Responsible for the University's compliance with statutory student reporting to the Tertiary Education Commission, including Investment Plans, the Single Data Return, Fees-Free reporting, and maintenance of relevant components of eVision
  • Monitoring funding-related student performance
  • Coordinate Government compliance change projects such as the evolution of Fees-Free policy, and a new Single Data Return platform
  • Provide student and staff numbers and strategic-related reporting for all parts of the University
  • Responsible for, or participate in, the development of other regular reports such as the Triannual Report and the University's Annual Report

Business Intelligence

  • SARO has been charged with leading the further development of the University's business intelligence capability, working in close collaboration with IT and subject matter experts.
  • Business Intelligence is a broad term that encompasses the software, systems, tools, and infrastructure used to facilitate the dissemination and analysis of data and information to inform data-driven decision making. BI topics include data governance, data warehouses, online dashboards, predictive analytics, data science, AI and many other topics.
  • In the University of Otago context, this programme of works is envisioned to bring together disparate sources of data, to allow staff throughout the university to easily access to a consistent suite of data via an online-self-service dashboard, and to aid the SARO team to conduct more complex data science tasks to improve forecasting, analysis of big data, and better utilised AI-related analytics.
  • Once developed, the University BI capability will help the SARO deliver its core operational tasks, and will support data-driven decision making to achieve the University's strategic goals.



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