Welcome to Plaid Consulting!
Data Informed. Experience Driven.
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Services

We use data to help higher education institutions improve their policies, services, and processes.

Data Management

Searching for data?

We help streamline data so it can be used to make decisions. We work with the full data stack, from creating new data sources, to assessing and improving data quality, to ensuring robust data governance and security.

Our services include assessment, auditing, planning, training, strategy, remediation, and improvement.

Data is at the core of higher education, in many forms - student information, learning management, teaching and research management, human resources, finance, facilities management. Data ranges from the legally protected to the fully open, and from operational, transactional data to data used for analysis, prediction, and forecasting. Examples include:

  • Data quality assessment and improvement
  • Data transformation
  • Data governance

Analytics & Business Intelligence

Data rich, information poor?

Most institutions have lots of data, in many places, shapes, and forms. We help you make data-informed make decisions quicker through analytics, visualization, and reporting.

Your data is trying to speak to you. However, most institutions have so much data, in so many different places and forms, it’s impossible to hear what it’s telling you. This is where analytics and business intelligence take over - turning your data into actionable insights that can help create value for both the institution and your students.

Some examples of our work in analytics & business intelligence:

  • Dashboard design
  • Analytics training
  • Automating the flow of data
  • Enrolment and tuition forecasting

Process & Policy Review

Do your policies need a fresh look?

We work with institutions to review, revise, and develop policy. We conduct environmental scans, incorporate data and analytics into the policy evaluation process, and write policy position papers.

We bring data to conversations around policy and process. Examples include:

  • Using surveys to inform action plans
  • Projecting impact of policy options
  • Environmental scans
  • Reviewing and improving business processes

Tableau Training, Strategy, and Deployment

Are you getting the most out of Tableau?

Looking to leverage the power of Tableau to help your institution see and understand its data? From helping create dashboards to rolling Tableau Server out across the institution, Plaid can help.

We've helped institutions launch Tableau Server and scale it to thousands of users, and worked with people to improve their analysis and dashboarding skills. Plaid is a Tableau Alliance Partner, and offers training targeted specifically at higher education. Plaid's team is certified by Tableau for our knowledge of their products.

Examples of our Tableau work include:

  • Custom training for higher education: it's about so much more than just sales and profit
  • Deployment of Tableau Server across the institution
  • Dashboard design best practices
  • Data source optimization

Project & Change Management

Bringing in a big change?

We help ensure your project is successful by focusing both on the technical (project management) and the people (change management) aspects. By bringing together your stakeholders and industry best practice, we can help position your team to confidently move forward with change.

Examples of our project and change management work include:

  • Replacing legacy Excel and Crystal reports with live and interactive Tableau visualizations
  • Moving teams to data warehousing from semi-annual snapshots
  • Using interactive dashboards for projection and prediction of admissions yields

Workshops

Interested in learning about working with data?

Our workshops provide participants with the knowledge necessary to be able to work with data effectively. By focusing on theory and principles rather than tools and by providing informative takeaways, participants leave with a toolkit they can use to be better producers and consumers of data.

Workshops we offer include (but are not limited to):

  • This workshop provides a tool-agnostic introduction to the theory and principles of data visualization. Participants will leave the workshop with a toolset that will allow them to design and create effective data visualizations for purposes from day-to-day performance monitoring to evidence-informed decision making.

    Topics covered include:

    • Why visualizing data is important
    • How the human brain processes information
    • Ethics of data visualization
    • Focusing the audience's attention
    • Telling data-informed stories

    This workshop can be delivered over 3 hours, 4 hours, or 6 hours depending on the desired amount of detail.

  • This workshop provides participants with the tools to be able to interpret data in the world around them. After the workshop, participants will be able to understand many common data scenarios and be able to appropriately interpret data presented to them.

    Topics covered include:

    • Understanding the context of data
    • How the human brain processes information
    • Basic statistical methods
    • Populations, samples, and confidence intervals
    • How to look beyond the data provided

    This workshop can be delivered over 3 hours, 4 hours, or 6 hours depending on the desired amount of detail.

  • This workshop provides participants with an understanding of the fundamentals of Tableau's products, including Desktop, Prep, Server, and Online.

    Topics covered include:

    • Why visualizing data is important
    • How the human brain processes information
    • Preparing data for Tableau
    • Creating visuals, dashboards, and stories
    • Calculated fields, groups, sets, and parameters
    • Sharing visuals both within an organization and publicly

    Tailored versions of this workshop can be delivered as well, based on the participant's specific needs and experiences. Options range from a 2-hour introduction to several sessions over multiple days.

About Plaid Consulting

We know Canadian higher education.

Data Informed.

We founded Plaid to provide higher education institutions with the ability to turn the data they have into the information they need, for reviewing, planning, reporting, and improving.

Experience Driven.

We have a combined 25 years of experience in operational and strategic roles in Canadian higher education. We have advised students, made admissions decisions, forecasted enrolments and revenues, overseen renovations and facilities changes, built institutional policy and business processes, and implemented enterprise systems.

Our Approach.

We start with understanding your goals, your data, your current state, and your people - students, faculty, and staff. Then we bridge the gaps and provide the information and improvements you need.

What Our Clients Say

Our Amazing Team

We are creative, motivated, and innovative.

Andrew Drinkwater

Co-Founder

Andrew's 13+ years of experience in higher education spans academic program development, strategic and financial planning, and analytics and reporting. Andrew's passion is helping academic institutions leverage their data to make decisions, so that they can truly focus on improving the institution rather than sorting numbers on a page.

Andrew's education includes a Master of Business Administration focused on Management of Technology, a Graduate Certificate in Visual Analytics, and a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Certificate in Business Analytics and Decision Making at Simon Fraser University. His continuing education has included courses and conferences on visual analytics, assessment, and academic advising. With his Tableau expertise, Andrew is a Tableau Desktop qualified associate.

Patrick Lougheed

Co-Founder

Pat has over 16 years of experience in higher education spent primarily in information technology and student services leadership roles requiring the creation and execution of strategic plans, improvement of policies and processes, and the leadership in services to students, faculty, and staff. His approach includes using data and information to improve decision-making and a systematic approach. His focus has been on the improvement of the student, faculty, and staff experience.

Pat holds a Bachelor of Science with a major in computing science and a minor in history along with a Master of Education in education leadership focusing on higher education student services. His continuing education has included courses on registrarial leadership, university management, change management, and visual analytics. With his Tableau expertise, Pat is a Tableau Desktop certified professional and a Server qualified associate.

Lynne Jamieson

Change Management Consultant

Lynne brings 20 years of experience in administration, finance, teaching, and managing change in higher education to the Plaid team. Lynne holds a master's degree from Simon Fraser University and two bachelor's degrees from Queen's University, both in Canada.

Alice Zhang

User Interface Designer

Alice is a User Experience Designer and Developer co-op student at Plaid. She is in her 4th year of pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University, and has completed the Interaction Design course at Malmö University. Her experience in front and back-end web development, user experience research, and user interface design drives her passion to create web applications geared toward helping users tackle specific challenges.

Contact Us

We'd love to discuss how we can help you.