Herding Effective-dated Cats: Challenges for a Student-Term Data Model in a Decentralized Business Environment

Presentation Summary

Jonathan Havey, SUNY Buffalo

The University at Buffalo (UB) implemented PeopleSoft Campus Solutions in 2011. As part of this effort, UB also implemented iStrategy's HigherEd Analytics (now BlackBoard Analytics) in a Data Access and Reporting initiative that went live at the same time. The first phase of the Data Access and Reporting initiative was intended to provide data to reporting super users and to create a suite of basic, web-accessible operational reports for use by departmental administrators. To this end, the pre-existing data-mart (branded "Info Source") was initially populated using BlackBoard Analytics data models, and a pre-existing OBIEE instance containing human resource and financial reports was leveraged to deliver operational reports in the student realm. The rollout, following an extremely aggressive schedule for implementing Campus Solutions (which we branded as “HUB”), was successful in the sense that there was no interruption of service in providing data to the university community. Departmental administrators were able to run basic reports on majors, classes, enrollment, student groups, and service indicators (i.e., holds), and reporting super users were able to start rebuilding their local reporting systems. As time went on, however, certain gaps emerged that were difficult to reconcile with the data in the HUB. All of these challenges originated in the attempt to generate a student-term data model using effective-dated data that lacked term dimensionality. This presentation will discuss how the University at Buffalo responded to these gaps through the following: Customizing views, constructing supplemental views to fill the gaps, reviewing business process in assigning effective dates, and updating the OBIEE .rpd file to capture some of the lost data.

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