A large project we hope to undertake very soon in my organization (Minnesota State Colleges & Universities) is in the area of Business Intelligence and Analytics. I believe Analytics has the potential to fundamentally transform how we manage higher education. While the commercial sector is aggressively pursuing this capability to gain competitive advantage, higher education still lags behind.
A good starting point for coming up to speed on Analytics is the excellent book Competing on Analytics by Tom Davenport and Jeanne Harris. Davenport and Harris define analytics as ""the extensive use of data, statistical and quantitative analysis, explanatory and predictive models and fact based management to drive decision and actions".
I have found the following chart (in Davenport, Harris but derived from SAS) very helpful in understanding the ladder of capability as one moves from basic reporting to true analytics.