UC Davis Perfects Student Service With Dashboard
The University of California-Davis Stores takes pride in putting students first. For Tracy Roman, Associate Director of Finance, that means constantly looking for new ways to further the customer experience.
“At UC Davis Stores, we’re always trying to be better,” Ms. Roman said.
The drive for perfection motivates Ms. Roman’s use of business intelligence. She consults store performance data from the MBS Dashboard to evaluate the success of nearly every store endeavor. If she wants to know whether the store is saving students money, she checks the data. If she’s trying to find out whether a new offering meets student needs, she finds an answer in the numbers.
“Our primary mission is to serve students. Dashboard lets us see whether we’re actually doing that,” Ms. Roman said.
The Power of Real-Time Analytics
Ms. Roman said she likes that the latest Dashboard iteration provides quick, easy access to real-time data. A single click brings a high-level visual analysis of the latest productivity numbers in a crisp, colorful layout. The ability to analyze store data in a glance sharpens decision-making. Drilling down for details provides further insight into ways UC Davis Stores can perfect services.
“I can open Dashboard, and there are live numbers showing me the peaks from last month. I catch sight of something unusual and explore a little further to find out why we sold so much more that day. If it turns out there was an event, I know right away that we need to anniversary that event. We can build it into next year’s budget,” said Ms. Roman.
With the analyses, she also has a simple way to gauge the accuracy of store beliefs about what customers want and need.
“I can check to see if the data supports what my buyers believe is happening,” Ms. Roman said. “For instance, our buyers always say that we need a greater proportion of small sizes in clothes. Well, I looked at the pie chart on sales by size. They’re partly right. Over 40 percent of the clothes we sell are small or medium. But extra-large is also right up there. Now, I can talk to my buyers about ordering more large sizes for our students. That helps us serve them better.“
Analytics That Cut Costs
Ms. Roman said real-time analytics allow her to catch problems before they escalate. If a worker or a vendor makes a minor accounting error, she can spot it fast. That prevents small mistakes from turning into costly, time-consuming issues.
“When you have live information on-hand like that, you see things you might not have noticed. Say, you see an unexpected dip in one of your graphs,” she said. “You can dig into that and find out what’s going on. Maybe you realize that there’s been a mistake in one of your vendor’s numbers. Without the at-a-glance metrics, you might never have noticed. You would have just paid the invoice and gone on your way.”
The live analyses streamline her workflow and leave time for more long-term planning and problem-solving.
“Dashboard is just a way to do business better. It frees up your time and energy for other tasks,” said Ms. Roman. “I have to turn in my budgets soon. I can look at this and, in seconds, I can see what we did last year and where we are now.”
Your numbers are your facts. Everything, in general, every decision at the university is based on facts. If you want to show that you’re relevant or that you’re meeting your goal of serving students, Dashboard can help you do that.— Tracy Roman
Associate Director of Finance, UC Davis Stores
Data That Empowers Store Communications
For UC Davis Stores, Dashboard is a powerful communication tool. It instantly generates a highly visual analysis for any audience. This helps the store strengthen relationships with a variety of stakeholders, including vendor partners.
“You don’t have to know anything about the MBS POS to understand the reports,” she said. “We like to share data with our vendors. We have what we call vendor report cards. We use Dashboard for that. We can use the numbers to point out that the merchandise might not be selling as well as predicted.”
Perhaps most importantly, Dashboard helps UC Davis Stores demonstrate relevance. The retailer uses the tool to create reports that show how much money the store saves students, faculty, staff and alumni. The numbers provide incontrovertible evidence of UC Davis Stores’ value to the entire community.
“Your numbers are your facts,” said Ms. Roman. “Everything, in general, every decision at the university is based on facts. If you want to show that you’re relevant or that you’re meeting your goal of serving students, Dashboard can help you do that. We use Dashboard to show what we save stakeholders with discount plans we set up for our different university partners like the Alumni Students Association and multiple academic departments.”
As UC Davis Stores continues to evolve with Dashboard business intelligence, the campus retailer’s value to the community will grow.
University Of California-Davis:
- Enrollment: 39,152
- Location: Davis, California
- Campus retail stores: 5
- Goal: Enhance customer experience
- Real-time business intelligence
- Easy-to-comprehend analytics
- Intuitive, flexible tool
- Access high-level overviews; drill down for detailed analysis
- Fully integrated with Arc, inSite and point of service
- Constantly evolving with the industry