Data for research administration has come a long way. In the beginning, there were no systems. Research administrators worked on paper, and data was left accumulating in file boxes. Then, there were systems, but limited reporting capabilities—and besides, who had the time to access reports?
These days, systems are increasingly sophisticated, and reporting tools make comprehensive data more accessible than ever. As long as you know how to access it, data can be used to support, build, and manage operations.
Based on our experience with some of the top research institutions in America, here are five key benefits of using data to drive change in research administration.
1. Increase transparency
Transparency and data integrity are as essential in research administration as in the research itself. Think of it as a shared starting point: visible, accessible data from your RA systems lets you acknowledge success, identify areas to improve, and set expectations.
2. Understand how long things take
Data can surprise you. You may have a sense of how long key processes take, but once you have reports in hand, your understanding can deepen and evolve. Data shows you in detail what’s working—and what needs to change.
3. Analyze performance metrics and workload
A busy RA office has a lot of moving parts. Data shows you how efficiently those parts are working, giving you the metrics you need to monitor individual workload, determine whether it’s reasonable, and adjust as needed. Are the right people in the right roles? Is a workload redistribution in order? Data anchors the discussion in what is occurring and what can be changed.
4. Push for accountability
Whether you’re looking to reduce administrator burden, expedite processes, or identify weak points, you have to start by identifying what’s slowing you down. Clear data lets you pinpoint issues—not people—and set targets to improve. And with the data in front of you, everyone on your team becomes accountable—not punitively, but productively, working towards a common goal.
5. Make decisions based on data
Simply put, data shows you how things are going, and helps you come up with ways to improve. And its value is evergreen. Use data to drive decisions, and to track effort as it progresses. RA reporting identifies key factors contributing to success, how those factors may need to change, and how that change can be measured.
As they say, knowledge is power—and knowledge derived from data drives powerful change.
Worried you’re not making the best use of the data in your systems? Bad Rabbit can help. BR Research Vision offers powerful visualization and analysis tools that let you dive into issues and address them in a data-driven way.