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How our new reporting tool supports decisions around resource and budget allocation

AvatarBy Michelle Silvestre
Category - Blog

Tuesday 19th February 2019

According to research we carried out in 2018, a staggering 98 per cent of librarians have witnessed significantly increased demand for remote access to library resources owing to the growing prevalence of mobile-based or remote working carried out by students and researchers. 

As well as facing tightening budgets, librarians are now also required to have more technical expertise than ever before. With this in mind, we want OpenAthens to be a tool which supports librarians in their evolving role. 

To keep pace with ever changing needs and ways of working, we have recently released a new version of our identity and access management software which now features sophisticated and easy-to-use reporting functions that we hope will empower the librarians we work with. 

We recently caught up with Adam Snook, product manager at OpenAthens, to learn more about the new and improved reporting functionalities. 

Why have these reporting features recently been improved? 

Our software has always provided users with certain reporting capabilities but the new version encapsulates the original functionalities as well as boasting a number of new features, enabling our customers to access granular data on their OpenAthens accounts which can be tailored to show the specific information they require. 

Previously, the data that librarians could obtain using OpenAthens’ reporting functions was raw and aggregated, which meant the statistics were very difficult to interpret and utilise. 

With our new and improved dashboard, our customers can review and compare the data visually across easy-to-read tables and graphs. It is much more interactive so the information required can be selected and then clearly displayed, allowing librarians to quickly and easily obtain and explore the data they need. 

What sort of data can customers obtain using the reporting tools? 

The reporting features enable librarians to access snapshots of information about their OpenAthens account, including data on the types and numbers of users at their institution or organisation, the lifecycles of user subscriptions and the busiest times for user sign-ups, for example. 

OpenAthens’ tools can now also provide more in-depth and granular data; customers were previously able to categorise their users into groups but now these user groups can be broken down even further to show their department, their cost centre, their campus, etc.  

The user-friendly and more interactive dashboard can also show librarians data concerning resource usage, such as the number of people signing in to use a certain resource subscription and the area of the institution/organisation that these people belong to. 

And what benefits can accessing this data bring to our customers? 

With this data, OpenAthens customers can better understand their users and the resources those users are accessing, which is useful for all manner of reasons. 

On a general level, customers can analyse user groups and resource usage, and this information can be used for budgetary purposes; to aid decisions on whether certain subscriptions should be renewed or lapsed, for example, or whether more resources on a specific subject area are required. 

More specifically, corporate libraries can examine users and resources per cost centre, enabling them to attribute the correct costs across their organisation. 

Academic institutions can also use the data to explore user engagement. For example, the information could be used to identify students who are struggling to engage with university services, empowering the institution to intervene as soon as possible to provide additional support. University departments could also use the data to report on correlations between the use of library resources and the results achieved by students in their academic careers.  

Have you received a positive response to the upgraded reporting tools? 

So far, we have received a great deal of positive feedback as well as a lot of actionable intelligence, some of which we have already implemented. We will continue to listen to our customers and working to understand the needs of our users, librarians and publishers to ensure our simple single-sign on solution is always the answer to the challenges they face. 

We’re committed to creating a seamless user journey and providing quick and easy access to the content users are authorised to use, as and when they need it.  

We also work hard to protect the interests of librarians, publishers and users by delivering a simple sign-on solution that encourages greater use of library resources but also ensures the right content is accessed by the right people.

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