Technology

Two primary tasks of the IDR implementation included implementing an efficient data storage infrastructure and installing efficient and easily accessible data reporting software.

To this end, IDR has accomplished the following:

  • Two new data warehouses on campus:
    • ODS: Ellucian’s Operational Data Store
    • EDW: Ellucian’s Enterprise Data Warehouse
  • New business intelligence and data reporting software: IBM Cognos BI

This new solution has automated and distributed the generation of data reporting and data analysis tasks at the University: reducing time, money, and resource requirements while improving performance and scope. Additionally, it has consolidated and organized the University’s many data resources in service of those tasks, phasing out extraneous duplicates and streamlining the reporting process.  The inclusion of Cognos BI has enabled a fluid integration of the data storage and reporting processes; in part because Cognos is uniquely capable of combining data from multiple locations, data sources, and spreadsheets to produce a single report.

Infrastructure: Data Warehouses

The University now has two data warehouses:  the old data warehouse, accessed via BI/Query tools, and the new one, named appropriately: the IDR Data Warehouse, which is in the process of being developed and which can be accessed via Cognos tools.  The old data warehouse will be phased out.

The IDR data warehouse is a combination of both the ODS and the EDW.  In fact, EDW is a superset of ODS.  The IDR Data Warehouse will contain a great deal of the data in Banner, including transactional finance data that the current data warehouse does not have.  Data from other sources, including that housed in departments and schools, will eventually be available for reporting via the IDR data warehouse or Cognos tools.

ODS is an acronym for Ellucian's Operational Data Store.  (Banner is an Ellucian product as well).  It contains Banner production data, reorganized specifically for efficient report and ad hoc query access.  The ODS allows report-writing savvy users to create their own custom ad hoc reports using Banner data. Unlike real-time Banner data that is constantly changing, the ODS takes a snapshot of Banner data every night; thereby providing a static view that is useful for consistent point-in-time reporting.  Put simply, the purpose of the ODS is operational and ad-hoc reporting.

EDW stands for Ellucian's Enterprise Data Warehouse. It is a pre-defined comprehensive warehouse of historical data coming out of the Banner System. The purpose of the EDW is to capture data snapshots to support time-based (year-over-year, trend analysis) reporting, institutional planning and forecasting.

Software: IBM Cognos BI

Cognos BI is an advanced IBM software product used to do reporting, data analysis and querying on large databases for large groups of users. BI is an acronym for Business Intelligence and depicts the delivery of decision making information in formats that are intuitive to use (list reports, graphical charts, spreadsheets and more).  Cognos consists primarily of a collection of reporting tools that allow the customer to customize the grouping and presentation of data (via “packages”) and also to perform authentication and authorization of consumers.