Introducing CoRe, the Common Reporting Platform for Yale

September 20, 2018

In the absence of a common reporting and data analytics platform, staff across Yale have adeptly leveraged system reporting solutions and data visualization tools, developing custom reports that opened the door for potential duplicate datasets and multiple versions of the truth. The report developer often had to assist with interpreting results. In Fiscal Year 2018, an assessment was done to determine whether the University would benefit from a centralized, integrated reporting and analytics solution - a place where administrative data for the university could be stored, and from which, the reporting and analytics needs of the university could be served. This need was confirmed and, heading into Fiscal year 2019, a plan to establish the Common Reporting platform was put into motion.

Co-sponsored by the Office of Institutional Research and ITS, the project will deliver a Common Reporting Platform (CoRe) to support Yale’s broad and diverse reporting needs, driven by multiple sources of data and longitudinal analyses. Administrative data about research activities, classroom utilization in the student domain, and faculty are administrative data families at Yale that will be incorporated into CoRe. CoRe will also deliver Yale’s analytical and administrative customers information through a variety of new Microsoft business intelligence tool options.

A review of historical Yale analytical reporting initiatives revealed themes which guided the Institutional Reporting and Analytics (IR&A) team’s efforts to collaborate more effectively with Yale’s potential CoRe users:

  • The Yale community requires a range of reporting functionality from basic analysis to “what if” modeling.
  • Early and frequent engagement with departmental users is critical for success.
  • Iterative delivery of reports that address the most pressing needs is advisable.
  • Leadershhip is ready for institutional data governance to introduce a common set of data managment policies, practices, and artifacts to sustain high-quality decisions.
  • A recognition that source system return on investment (ROI) is difficult to realize without analytical insights.

Yale is partnering with consulting firm Entigence, who bring experience in the data and analytics arena with a focus on the higher education and government segments. The team identified key CoRe requirements, features, and capabilities. The multidisciplinary team interviewed vendors and recommended system architecture, database infrastructure, and analytics software to establish a CoRe development environment for Yale.

Resources across ITS have made significant progress in establishing a cloud-hosted data integration environment leveraging Azure, virutal machines, and data management tools including Talend, Datavault-Builder, data modeling, and SQL Server Management Studio.

The team has also prototyped an integrated Research Enterprise (RE) lifecycle data mart with guidance from senior Associate Provost Pam Caudill’s team in Research Administration. CoRe data for RE will address questions such as “What are the current active awards? What proposals are in the current pending pipeline? What are the multi-year research award trends?” CoRe will offer Business Intelligence (BI) reporting access to a clearly documented, integrated combination of IRES and Workday financials in early 2019.

Yale’s first Azure data environment incorporates transparent and consistent data processing artifacts for end users. Data profiles and summary reports will be shared with the business data experts for their reference to assess data quality. One of the strategic benefits of integrating data across source systems is to learn how robust data quality is within each source system. CoRe’s project team will also assist Yale data stewards to improve downstream analytics using these sources of data for decision support.

Initial standard reports will enable CoRe users to query an expertly integrated, longitudinal research lifecycle data source, and develop subsequent reports and visualizations via Microsoft analytics software tools. Additional collaborative advances with the Student data family and training on how to use Microsoft analytics tools will be profiled in a future IT Update. If you have questions about the new Common Reporting Platform, please contact Ryan Schlagheck or Kathleen Broderick, of Institutional Reporting and Analytics.