The communication and implementation of a strategic plan is typically based on various measures in educational institutions. The balanced scorecard approach has in the 1990s attained an important role worldwide in private and public sector organisations. Large organisations have different organisational levels, where it is useful to apply the balanced scorecard. This emphasises the need for the automation of the measuring system. The information is typically collected from various data sources. These characteristics underline the need to plan a management information system (MIS) to support the management process. Strategic management is bridge building between the perceived present situation and the desired future situation (West-Burnham, 1994; Wheale, 1991). Strategic management involves taking stock of the educational policy, local economy, and other factors in the organisation’s environment. It adapts the organisation to its environment but, on the other hand, tries to exert a positive effect on the development of its local community (Bush & Coleman, 2000; Kettunen, 2003; Middlewood & Lumby, 1998).
The balanced scorecard approach translates the strategy into objectives and places them typically in four different perspectives:
Each objective placed in the perspectives is described by the measures, and their target values are typically set for several years. The management of an organisation sets the objectives, measures, and targets for the organisational units responsible. The MIS is planned to support the balanced scorecard approach.
When the balanced scorecard approach was introduced in 2002 at the TUAS, it was evident that utilising the new management tool properly would require a more sophisticated information system. The first difficulty was the ambiguity of measures in applying the balanced scorecard. The interpretability was high because the content and definitions of measures were ambiguous. This inhibits reliance on strategic management. The second difficulty was the manual maintenance, which required automation to be reliable and efficient. The data could not be directly transferred from the basic data sources. The use of measures combining data from several basic systems needed manual calculation, which was not reasonable in a large organisation.
Management in a knowledge intensive organisation applying the balanced scorecard requires organised and controlled information technology architecture. The data warehousing approach was selected to provide an integrated database. This integrates data derived from various data sources. It is an effective means of handling the large amounts of data needed in the management process. A management portal was planned to utilise the data warehouse, support the management process, and communicate the implementation of the strategy throughout the institution.
Key Terms in this Chapter
E-Management Portal: An e-management portal is an electronic platform for the management process and quality assurance. The implementation of the strategic plan and the continuous improvement of quality assurance are described in the action plan of the portal.
Data Warehouse: Data warehouse is a consistent, consolidated and refined information collection that integrates data from various data sources. The data warehouse produces information, reports and statistics for decision-making and other purposes.
Strategic Planning: Strategic planning involves taking a view of the long-term future planning with clearly articulated values, mission, vision and strategic objectives.
Management Information System: A management information system presupposes modelling the entire management process of an organisation and tailoring all the necessary components of the information technology support system to meet its needs. The management information system should include a description of how the strategic objectives will be achieved and the necessary measures.
ETL Processing, Extract Transform and Load Processing: The data from diverse data sources are extracted, transformed into consistent and recognizable form and then loaded into the data warehouse.
Management Process: The management process typically includes a sequence of management activities with the necessary descriptions. The main management activities include the definition of strategic objectives, operations of internal processes, allocation of resources and achievement of results.
Balanced Scorecard: The Balanced Scorecard approach was developed to communicate and implement the strategic plan. The Balanced Scorecard approach translates the strategic plan into tangible objectives and measures and balances them typically into four different perspectives: customer, finance, internal processes and learning.
Higher Education Institution: Higher education institutions include typically traditional universities and in many countries professionally-oriented institutions known as universities of applied sciences or polytechnics.