Evolving Higher Education Business Models: Leading with Data to Deliver Results

March 2016
Related Topics

To transform themselves in ways appropriate to twenty-first century values and market conditions, higher education institutions must analyze how their processes, technologies and resources are being used to deliver value.


While the pressures vary across stakeholder groups, college and university leaders, public policymakers, and students and families are all eager for new ways to deliver and receive a quality and affordable postsecondary education. To that end, the authors of this paper propose a network approach to leadership—one that increases the transparency of institutional financial data through business model analysis and empowers those on the front lines to make data-informed decisions aligned with performance outcomes.  

Key Insights
Financial decision making is best guided through data transparency.
By incorporating “networked” tools into shared governance models, institutional leaders can increase transparency, empower frontline community members, and convey clear performance standards and metrics.
To achieve desired performance outcomes, leaders must ensure data-informed decision capabilities – including financial and outcomes data – are embedded into processes at all network levels.

This paper was inspired in part by proceedings from a September 2015 American Council on Education/TIAA Institute convening of college and university presidents, provosts, chief financial officers, and other thought leaders. It was further guided by a review of the literature on business models and networked organizations.