AWS Business Intelligence Blog

ConexED uses Amazon QuickSight to empower its institutional partners by unifying and curating powerful insights using engagement data

This post was co-written with Michael Gorham, Co-Founder and CTO of ConexED.

ConexED is one of the country’s fastest-growing EdTech companies designed specifically for education to enhance the student experience and elevate student success. Founded as a startup in 2008 to remove obstacles that hinder student persistence and access to student services, ConexED provides advisors, counselors, faculty, and staff in all departments across campus the tools necessary to meet students where they are.

ConexED offers a student success and case management platform, HUB Kiosk – Queuing System, and now a business intelligence (BI) dashboard powered by Amazon QuickSight to empower its institutional partners.

ConexED strives to make education more accessible by providing tools that make it easy and convenient for all students to connect with the academic support services that are vital to their success in today’s challenging and ever-evolving educational environment. ConexED’s student- and user-friendly interface makes online academic communications intuitive and as personalized as face-to-face encounters, while also making on-campus meetings as streamlined, and well reported as online meetings.

ConexED’s student- and user-friendly interface

One of the biggest obstacles facing school administrators is getting meaningful data quickly so that informed, data-driven decisions can be made. Reporting can be time-consuming, so they are often generated infrequently, which leads to outdated data. In addition, reporting often lacks customization and data is typically captured in spreadsheets, which doesn’t provide a visual representation of the information that is easy to interpret. ConnexED has always offered robust reporting features, but the problem was that in providing this kind of data for our partners, our development team was spending more than half its time creating custom reporting for the constantly increasing breadth of data the ConexED system generates.

Every new feature we built requires at least two or three new reports – and therefore more of our development team’s time. After we implemented QuickSight, not only can ConexED’s development team focus all its energies on creating competitive features to accelerate the rollout of new product features, but also the reporting and data visualization are now features our customers can control and customize. QuickSight features such as drill-down filtering, predictive forecasting, and aggregation insights have given us the competitive edge that our customers expect from a modern, cloud-based solution.

New technology enables strategic planning

With QuickSight, we’re able to focus on building customer-facing solutions that capture data rather than spending a large portion of our development time solving data visualization and custom report problems. Our development team no longer has to spend its time creating reports for all the data generated, and our customers don’t need to wait. Partnering with QuickSight has enabled ConexED to develop its business intelligence dashboard, which is designed to create operational efficiencies, identify opportunities, and empower institutions by uniting critical data insights to cross-campus student support services. The QuickSight data used in ConexED’s BI dashboard analyzes collected information in real time, allowing our partners to properly project trends in the coming school year using predictive analytics to improve staff efficiency, enhance the student experience, and increase rates of retention and graduation.

The following image demonstrates heat mapping, which displays the recurring days and times when student requests for support services are most frequent, with the busiest hour segments appearing more saturated in color. This enables leadership to utilize staff efficiently so that students have the support services they need when they need it on their pathway to graduation. ConexED’s BI dashboard powered by QuickSight makes this kind of information possible so that our partners can plan strategically.

heat mapping, which displays the recurring days and times when student requests for support services are most frequent, with the busiest hour segments appearing more saturated in color.

QuickSight dashboards allow our customers to drill down on the data to glean even more insights of what is happening on their campus. In the following example, the pie chart depicts a whole-campus view of meetings by department, but leadership can choose one of the colored segments to drill down further for more information about a specific department. Whatever the starting point, leadership now has the ability to access more specific, real-time data to understand what’s happening on their campus or any part of it.

the pie chart depicts a whole-campus view of meetings by department, but leadership can choose one of the colored segments to drill down further for more information about a specific department.

Dashboards provide data visualization

Our customers have been extremely impressed with our QuickSight dashboards because they provide data visualizations that make the information easier to comprehend and parse. The dynamic, interactive nature of the dashboards allows ConexED’s partners to go deeper into the data with just a click of the mouse, which immediately generates new data based on what was clicked and therefore new visuals.

With QuickSight, not only can we programmatically display boiler-plate dashboards based on role type, but we can also allow our clients to branch off these dashboards and customize the reporting to their liking. The development team is now able to move quickly to build interesting features that ingest data and provide insightful visualizations and reports on the gathered data easily. ConexED’s BI dashboard powered by QuickSight enables leadership at our partner institutions to understand how users engage with support services on their campus – when they meet, why they meet, how they meet – so that they can make informed decisions to improve student engagement and services.

development team dashboard

The right people with the right information

In education, giving the right level of data access to the right people is essential. With intuitive row- and column-level security and anonymous tagging in QuickSight, the ConexED development team was able to quickly build visualizations that correctly display partitioned data to thousands of different users with varying levels of access across our client base.

At ConexED, student success is paramount, and with QuickSight powering our BI dashboard, the right people get the right data, and our institutional customers can now easily analyze vast amounts of data to identify trends in student acquisition, retention, and completion rates. They can also solve student support staffing allocation problems and improve the student experience at their institutions.

QuickSight does the heavy lifting

The ability to securely pull and aggregate data from disparate sources with very little setup work has given ConexED a head start on the predictive analytics space in the EdTech market. Now building visualizations is intuitive, insightful, and fun. In fact, the development team even built in only 1 day an internal QuickSight dashboard to view our own customers’ QuickSight usage. The data visualization combinations are seemingly endless and infinitely valuable to our customers.

ConexED’s partnership with AWS has enabled us to use QuickSight to drive our BI dashboard and provide our customers with the power and information needed for today’s dynamic modern student support services teams.

About the Author

Michael Gorham is Co-Founder and CTO of ConexED. Michael is a multidisciplinary software architect with over 20 years’ experience