An enhancement of the PDS application were requested by the South African Technology Network (SATN), which provides a flexible tool for comparing aggregated data of the 23 institutions, for the years 2000 to 2007.
The enhanced PDS was commissioned by the SATN Performance Indicators Project and implemented by IDSC, developers of higher education MIS software.
The application allows a user to cluster institutions into groups for purposes of comparison. Data is then extracted for a particular indicator (or type of data) and the result displayed in a line or bar chart.
Up to seven different groupings can be specified by the user. An initial set of 17 indicators is provided. The data used in the graphs is also accessible in tabular form.
The data extracted by the PDS application is from HEMIS, the DHET Higher Education Management Information System. The final, audited submissions of data from the institutions are used, at an aggregated level, as supplied by the DHET.
The new enhancement has been developed as part of the 2008 SATN Performance Indicators Project, to which Universities of Technology and Comprehensive Universities have contributed.
An improvement to the PDS web site occurred during May 2009 with the introduction of research related data and also an additional reporting functionality (Indicator Explorer) with the assistance of North West University.
This Research related data includes Research Publications, Research Block Grant Funding, and the Number of Rated Researchers in the Higher Education Sector.
The HEMIS data set is annually provided by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), based on the following process. Second HEMIS submission data (Year N) will be available at the end of May (Year N+1) and final audited HEMIS submission data (Year N) will be available from August (Year N+1).
The August data submission will also include any resubmitted data of previous years. It is important to note that the May submission is provisional and possibly incomplete data. On the 16 November 2017 the latest dataset (2016 Sub 3) was received from the DHET.