A Story of Collaborative Partnerships
by Ora Fish, Rachel Kemelman, and Stephen Vassallo
The University Data Warehouse Plus (UDW+) will replace the current University Data Warehouse, used to store various types of NYU data, and the Brio reporting tool, used for administrative and financial reporting on that data. UDW+ will eventually store data ranging from financial transactions to student, HR, fundraising, and other content. From the initial planning phases of the project to the design, requirements, and functionality of the new interactive dashboards, administrators, staff, department heads, and faculty from across NYU are collaborating to ensure the University will have timely access to accurate and integrated information for making critical decisions.
The Programs Services Office (PSO) UDW+ team partnered with Information Technology Services (ITS) and multiple talented and experienced stakeholders from NYU Financial Operations and Treasury (FO&T), the Budget Office, schools, administrative divisions, various faculty members, and other groups to develop reporting capabilities to ensure the new program can meet the diverse data requirements of NYU’s Global Network University. Although the rollout of the UDW+ program has just begun, the next phases will continue to include an expanding group of constituencies.
The New UDW+ Program
The vision of the UDW+ Program is to rebuild the existing University Data Warehouse architecture for more intuitive and integrated access to University data, continuously enhance the decision support services around reporting and analytics, expand the data management policies and practices that ensure integrity and accessibility, and continue the detailed and well-executed internal training and communication program.
Improved Financial Reporting Dashboards and Reports
The Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) will eventually replace the current Brio reporting tool. OBIEE is a reporting tool that pulls data from UDW+ to deliver a full range of reporting and analytical capabilities, including interactive dashboards, full ad hoc report capabilities, and alerts.
One of the primary goals of the UDW+ Program is improving financial reporting and analytics by providing more intuitive and flexible access to financial data. This project will impact the entire financial reporting community. Deans, department heads, principal investigators, grant administrators, fiscal officers, executive leadership, and many others collaborated to design a variety of financial dashboards and reports tailored to meet the needs and requirements of groups throughout the University, including improved performance and the ability to address specific analytical questions ITS then developed and incorporated into the new service.
Should the financial dashboards and reports not meet the specific needs of a particular school or division, they will have the ability to create and share custom ad hoc reports. These ad hoc reports can be created with basic or complex analysis, adding graphs, formatting reports, and incorporating other advanced functions of the reporting tool.
The changes to financial reporting and analytics are being implemented in a staggered fashion to ensure a smooth transition for all parties involved. The rollout plan for each school and division has been customized in partnership with the school or division’s financial reporting representatives. It will begin with core users (who will certify the data), then beta users (who will test the data), then super users (who will be selected from each organization to become in-house experts in the financial reporting data, business processes, and system use), then department users, and then the remainder of the financial reporting community. Most schools and divisions have completed the super user transition and are in the process of transitioning department users from Brio to UDW+. Those who have not yet begun their transition can speak to their organization’s fiscal officer to determine the schedule for their transition.
UDW+ Training Program
To ensure that all who will use UDW+ will be able to best utilize its features, some training will be required before gaining access. A variety of options are available to meet these training needs. An online training program is available through NYU iLearn for each of the financial dashboards and reports. For those who are interested in creating ad hoc reports, a detailed classroom training session is also offered.
Please visit the Training and Access section of the UDW+ website to read more about the course offerings and for additional UDW+ training information. Scheduling and registration for all UDW+ training courses is available through NYU iLearn under the “Finance Systems and Policies” heading.
Decision Support Group
Another exciting result of the UDW+ collaboration was the creation of the Decision Support Group (DSG). Beginning in the fall of 2012, this newly-formed group’s mission is to provide reporting and analytical assistance to the global UDW+ community. It is also a part of the ServiceLink initiative, with a focus on delivering high-quality customer service to the University.
To provide unparalleled service, the DSG is partnering with the newly-defined roles of data stewards (functional support) and custodians (ITS technical support) throughout NYU. While the DSG is the Tier 1 support center, the data stewards and custodians are an essential part of ensuring that those who use UDW+ have timely access to information that accurately reflects University activity. They are also a critical knowledge resource who can help the DSG further understand the processes and logic underlying the data itself, allowing the group to educate the user community.
The DSG is up and running. With a more integrated data warehouse architecture, richer content, data management, effective training, and a new support structure in place underlying the program, individuals throughout the University will be empowered to further NYU’s mission in the years ahead.
If you are using UDW+ and need assistance, from access queries to complex analytical questions, you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-998-2900. They are eager to field your questions and help you utilize data to make strategic decisions.
For up-to-date information about UDW+, please visit our website at www.nyu.edu/datawarehouse.