The Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) faced a challenge, professors had difficulty maintaining an overview of their research projects, resources, and personnel. They used three different platforms to manage their projects, resulting in fragmented data and time-consuming manual processes. To address this challenge, some of VUB's internal departments - People & Organisation, ICT Directorate, Finance and Research department - collaborated with Cegeka to provide a solution. We ensured data of the three different data sources were integrated and, with the help of Power BI, professors can now easily find all the information combined in one comprehensive report.
"Our data-driven vision at Vrije Universiteit Brussel motivated us to start developing a central data platform within the ICT Department several years ago. We initiated this ambitious project in close collaboration with our colleagues from the Data Office department within the Strategy and Policy unit. To achieve this, we formed a very close partnership with Cegeka," says Ragnhild Van Der Straeten, Head of Development at VUB.
VUB aimed for professors to concentrate on their core tasks by reducing administrative burdens. Katharina Schopf, Business Partner, explains: "We received a lot of feedback from professors indicating the need for a tool to manage their research projects, appointments, and budgets. Cegeka developed a Power BI project report to meet this need."
From three different tools to one integrated report
Previously, VUB used three different tools and platforms to track projects. The first platform deals with research projects, providing information on start dates, remaining durations, and budgets. The second platform focusses on personnel, including contract end dates and job roles. Last, there is a financial system that tracks financial resources, expenditures, and remaining funds. Professors often had to consult all three sources, copy and past data into an Excel-sheet or request information from other departments. These tasks were time-consuming and inefficient. Cegeka addressed these challenges, and worked on a solution to tackle them in, close cooperation with the VUB. Cegeka integrated data from three different data sources enabling professors to access all this information in one centralized Power BI report.
Reducing administrative burdens and increasing productivity
This Power BI report plays an essential role in reducing administrative burdens for professors, which is one of VUB's primary goals. Koen Wouters, Project Management Officer, emphasizes the benefits of the report: "Previously, we had to use different tools to gather information. Those were separate tools for HR, finance, and project management. Consolidating all this information in one Excel file was time-consuming and error-prone. The Power BI report developed by Cegeka centralizes all this information in one platform, allowing us to quickly access information for reporting, personnel evaluation, and budgeting. This saves us valuable time, up to several hours per week resulting in an increased productivity of our employees.”
Essential insights in a user-friendly dashboard
The Power BI report is not only intended for professors but also for support personnel. It can be used to manage VUB's 17,000 research projects and monitor approximately 3,000 employees. Cegeka's Power BI report played a crucial role in combining the data from the three different sources - research projects, personnel information, and financial data - into one consolidated and user-friendly dashboard. This has led to easier and more accurate reporting, with comprehensive charts providing essential insights.
A foundation for data-driven decision-making and future use cases
Thanks to this solution, professors now have an overview of their research projects, which employees are involved, the expenditure, and the available resources - all at a single glance. This saves a significant amount of time and allows professors to focus on their core tasks.
Finally, the report has not only increased efficiency but also improved data quality. With all the information now available in one location, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel gains better insight into the totality of the data. This lays the foundation for further data-driven decision-making and future use cases within VUB.