Sheffield University hopes that a new computer system will free academics from hundreds of hours they spend on bureaucracy.
The university said the system could save as much as 25 per cent of the time spent generating reports about all aspects of campus life.
A spokesman said: "Until now, staff found they were spending many hours analysing data from reports, but the new system gives them this information in an instant. This will cut decision-making times and ensure that student needs and inquiries can be addressed on a faster and more efficient basis."
Graham Walter, managing director of Cognos UK, which produces the software, said more than 1,000 university staff would have access to tailored reports on demand via the web, whether they wanted to track student-attendance records or find out which research projects were over budget.
Mr Walter said: "Large universities get bogged down in the amount of information they create. The software will run alongside existing finance systems, ensuring that budgets can be monitored properly. And it gets over the common problem of multitudes of inconsistent databases existing around one institution."
Universities could build layers of privacy into their systems using passwords, he added.