Better data insights on students’ progresses

Better data insights on students’ progresses

Better data insights on students’ progresses

Data storage-based structure and automated reporting increases data transparency and relieves the burden of manual data entry

The Federation of Education in Central Ostrobothnia, Kpedu in Finland is a multidisciplinary and actively developing educational organisation that organises basic and additional vocational secondary education, preparatory education, apprenticeship training and folk high school education. Kpedu is also an active developer of the region and its livelihoods, cooperating with the region’s municipalities, business community and other education and development actors. At Kpedu all teaching is in Finnish.

In order to be able to collect, process and report in a usable format on a wide range of information, including information about the students and the progress of their education as well as their own activities, Kpedu decided to work with Konica Minolta to set up a data storage-based structure using Microsoft Azure and automated reporting based on Microsoft Power BI. In addition to the transparency now gained about the situation of the students and the progress of their studies, Kpedu also benefits from the creation of more capacity, as the data collection of the reports no longer has to be done manually.


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This being performed as Azure Power BI solution has been a good way to connect their own staff to the project. Konica Minolta, has been a helpful partner – after all, we don‘t always know about all the possibilities ourselves. We wish for this system and expertise created for us to also spread elsewhere.

Jukka Ylikarjula

CFO, Kpedu, Finland

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Cooperation with Konica Minolta has been easy and carefree. Often, we have received answers to our questions before even having a chance to pose them. That’s how well they have succeeded in project management and documentation.

Niina Patrikainen

Data Management Manager, Kpedu, Finland

The Federation of Education in Central Ostrobothnia, Kpedu excels in data-based management

The Federation of Education in Central Ostrobothnia, Kpedu in Finland offers education for five thousand students each year. It employs hundreds of teachers to do this. It organises professional second-degree basic and advanced education, preparatory education, apprentice education and folk high school education. Kpedu is a multidisciplinary organisation, engaged in the constant active development of its operations. It participates in the development of the region and its livelihoods with the municipalities, businesses and other actors of the fields of education and development.

Vocational education has advanced in various ways, including in the management and utilisation of data. This means that data-driven management is a current topic in not only Kpedu but also nationally, at least when talking about data in vocational education. On national level, the target is enabling the systematic circulation of vocational-education-related data, thus allowing for better comparisons across organisations. 
A good foundation for this exists already – i.e. the continuous performance of the enterprise architecture and the definition of data systems, improvement of data-driven leadership processes, data classification and the understanding of management. During the last five years, Kpedu has moved towards a cloudbased structure and the automation of data management. Even now, data is being transmitted automatically and electronically onwards to authorities, among other parties.

Moving towards a data-storage-based structure and utilising automatic reporting

Kpedu has wanted to take the next step towards data-driven management. They possess a lot of information  regarding, among other things, the students and the advancement of their studies, as well as what they themselves are doing. This data needs to be collected, refined and reported in an usable format. For data-driven leadership to be possible, the candidate should also know what kind of data the users need.

On this basis, they told they need a new type of a data-storage-based structure, including automatic reporting of a wholly new sort. At this moment, reporting is done only by certain people, who now want to rebuild it to take place through automation. This means that the reports are no longer connected to people. Everyone in the organisation can look at and utilise up-to-date information regarding Kpedu’s operations.

They have expert IT staff, a clear view of the development project and what  is being done. However, the time of their own personnel is not, however, sufficient for getting all the necessary things done. 


The diverse goals of the project

Kpedu’s goal was not merely developing their own product but also their own internal data-driven management capabilities. The result of the project as a whole was a data model and a data storage that Kpedu can, in the future, utilise in their own analytics projects.

  • The building and the deployment of the Azure data storageUtilisation of
  • Power BI as an organisational reporting tool
  • Creation of the automatic reports to be utilised by the entire staff
  • Raising the level of expertise for Kpedu’s staff during the project

Konica Minolta, a partner in the implementation of data-driven management

Kpedu wanted to find a reliable development partner possessing sufficient experience and know-how regarding data storage and Power BI projects, i.e. a partner they can trust. They also knew they would want to use agile development methods to finish the product. Out of many tenderers, Konica Minolta was selected as a partner due to the extensive architectural know-how, right implementation methods for the project, strong partnership with Microsoft, and their expertise. Before implementation, Kpedu and Konica Minolta considered together what they are doing and how the implementation might be performed. Both Kpedu and Konica Minolta, as partners, were already in advance fully aware of what they wanted to achieve. They started with a  three-month agreement to finalise a certain section of the project. As an entity, this formed a six-month development project, meant to bring Konica Minolta and Kpedu closer to each other. The project was performed through consultation. Even at its original definitional phase, 5-6 Kpedu workers were connected to the project. The data storage efforts usually happen through large projects, taking multiple years to complete. In this particular case there was a clear desire for faster results. The project was implemented utilising Konica Minolta’s agile development model, which enabled development of the data storage through multiple iterations, allowing for delivery of BI reporting abilities to Kpedu one business process at a time. The project proceeded through four different development phases. After each one was finished, it was reviewed. Then, the project moved to the next phase. This enabled the efficient progress of implementation and the faster realisation of business value than the traditional development model.

Desired end result through four phases of development

In the first phase of development, Konica Minolta modelled existing information and mapped the needs for reporting regarding the planned data management solution. All of this was done to consistently serve Kpedu’s practical purposes. This was followed by another phase of development, i.e. the development of the Azure data storage. Data transfers from Kpedu’s existing systems, data refinement and modelling was automatised using Azure data services. At the same time, the employees at Kpedu learned which kinds of data they need to save to data storage for their current and future reporting needs.

The third phase focused on developing the reporting. Along with Kpedu, it focused the Power BI reporting layer on data visualisation and analysis for the use of Kpedu’s extensive userbase. After this, things moved to the last fourth phase of development, implementing environmental testing and quality management before publishing the environment for operative use. All of this enabled the establishment of a desirable environment.

Obtaining the goals brought benefits to the use of practice, offering opportunities for other educational organisations

From the first phase of the project onwards, the Kpedu employees could start building up their understanding on how to manufacture an entity like this. At the same time, their expertise was increased apace with the goals, as expertise from Konica Minolta was being transferred to them during the consultation sessions. They can now take a larger role regarding the similar ideas, perform data modelling and create desired reports. 

Automatic reporting brings up-to-date transparency to those in educational work regarding the situation of the students and the progress of studies. This is important for those engaging in teaching, as the educational situation of the teachers keeps changing continuously.

Automation also liberates time from the manual data collection of the reports to the more valuable work, like the more specific consideration and definition of the contents of the reports.

Kpedu also participates in international cooperation, so there will also be international projects regarding data-driven management in the future. They hope that the Azure Power BI reporting system, built in this development project, could operate as a model for other similar organisations.


  • Data on students and their educational progress, as well as on Kpedu’s activities, needed to be collected, processed and reported in a usable format
  • This required a new type of database-driven structure, including automated reporting: data-driven management


  • Building and deployment of Azure data storage
  • Utilisation of Power BI as an organisational reporting tool


  • Creation of automatic reports to be utilised by entire staff
  • Automatic reporting brings up-to-date transparency to those in educational work regarding the situation of the students and the progress of studies
  • This is important for those engaging in teaching, as the educational situation of the teachers keeps changing continuously
  • Automation also liberates time from the manual data collection of the reports to the more valuable work, like the more specific consideration and definition of the contents of the reports