Welcome to Plaid Consulting!
Data Informed. Experience Driven.
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We use data to help higher education institutions improve their policies, services, and processes.

Data Integration

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

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

Process & Policy Review

Do your policies need an outside perspective?

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


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.

Project Showcase

Stepping Out: Mid-Program Transfers

Transfer Student Success in Alberta

Understanding AP Grading in BC

Predictive Modelling for Student Retention

Broad-Based Admissions Research, Design, and Implementation

Tableau Training at Queen's

Introduction to Data Visualization Workshops


Our Team

We are creative, motivated, and innovative.

Andrew Drinkwater


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


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.

Anya Goldin

Research & Policy Analyst

Anya is a Research and Policy Analyst at Plaid. She is in her 4th year of a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Philosophy at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Her experience in education research, policy analysis, data visualization, and academic writing drive her passion to improve the post-secondary experience for students, faculty, and staff.

Plaid Alumni

Plaid supports our team as they grow their skills with us and during the next steps of their career. LinkedIn's "Next Play" conveys to us the importance of a growth mindset encompassing both personal and professional, and we hope to emulate it in our own corporate journey.

The Plaid Alumni is our way of reflecting the "Next Play" for our team such as a career pivot, promotion, or new position, inside or outside the company. Just as your students graduate and move on to new careers or studies, our teammates also move forward and continue to make their mark on the world. We wish them well on their journeys, and look forward to connecting with them as our alumni.

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.

After two years with Plaid, Lynne has launched her own business.

Alice Zhang

User Interface Designer

Alice is a UX Designer/Developer working mainly with web design and development, with an interest in educational technology, user interface design, and web development frameworks. As a soon-to-be graduate from Simon Fraser University's Interactive Arts and Technology program with a Certificate in Computing Studies, Alice's combination of design skills and knowledge in computer programming motivate her to bridge the gaps between design and code. In her free time, she can be found hiking on a mountainous trail, practicing calligraphy, and admiring performance cars.

Alice is currently a User Experience Designer at Evident Point Software.

Contact Us

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