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Rensselaer Data Warehouse Project

testimonials from data warehouse users

Through its initial development and production rollout, the data warehouse has proven its merit. Users have expressed their satisfaction, success stories, and future goals with us, as shown in their testimonials on this page. Also click here for some interesting metrics.

"The Controllership's initial use of the Financial Data Mart has been beneficial in many ways. There has been analysis that we have not been able to get at before because the data was not retrievable in a fashion conducive to perform analytics. For instance, we have begun utilizing the Data Warehouse to analyze the indirect cost yield on our research grants. This data was not readily available before. We are also using the warehouse for reports to assist with monitoring compliance with internal policies, data gathering for external surveys, and automating certain processes."

--- Kirsten Volpi, Assistant VP for Finance, Controller

"Rensselaer's Data Warehouse empowers decision-makers, enhances Institutional effectiveness, and redirects costly personnel hours. Additionally, the Data Warehouse has been established as the only source acceptable for financial information. As the warehouse becomes the one and only data source, this will contribute toward individuals recognizing that we are one organization with one version of the truth."

--- Eileen McLoughlin, Director of Financial Planning & Budget

"The Data Warehouse along with the Brio software has proven to be an extremely useful toolset for reporting, monitoring, and analysis. Brio has definitely helped to make our work more efficient and effective. We have developed Brio queries for monitoring reports, verifying data integrity, and analysis that before would have required days, weeks, or even months of working with IACS to program and develop. Once developed, those older reports would have allowed limited access to campus, and another user might have started from scratch to produce a similar report. The Data Warehouse provides a consistent data stream that allows all campus users to view and analyze the same information in many alternative ways."

--- Diane Veros, Director of Research Financial Administration

testimonials

"The Budget material was consolidated two weeks sooner than in previous years. Many factors contributed to the success, however a significant contributor was the Data Warehouse allowing the Budget Office to provide data and analysis of the data to decision makers faster than in the past. As the use of the tool is rolled out to campus I see the potential for the same experience within portfolios."

--- Eileen McLoughlin, Director of Financial Planning & Budget

"The Data Warehouse will result in a change in job expectations for both the Budget Office and the Portfolio Financial Managers. The forecast and budget processes will evolve to a more analytical review of history and a fact-based projection of the future. Users will move from simply crunching the numbers because they will have more time and because more data is actually available. Once the Contracts and Grants information is available, the research units will be able to track activity from the pre-proposal stage through to award close out. Using this data, trending and other analysis will follow, leading to more accurate forecasts and budgets."

--- Helen Grzymala, Associate Director of Financial Planning & Budget

"Using the Data Warehouse, Rensselaer will be getting all of their information from one source, thereby increasing the integrity and conformity of the data (which in turn reduces the need for shadow systems)."

--- Gina Ricci, Financial/Data Manager, Student Life

"I personally have avoided using shadow systems as much as I can. One such redundant system I have is for contract award information, which is currently not tracked in Banner yet. The ability to get current information in a usable format (e.g. downloadable to Excel) will enable campus users to scrap those shadow systems, freeing up the valuable time maintaining them."

--- Jeff Tanis, Manager of Financial Operations, School of Science

"We are currently using the warehouse to provide a full funds across portfolio view of funding sources and mechanisms for student union activity and athletics programs. This is information requested by the President to help her to better understand these programs. In the past, the data collection would be from hardcopy reports, requiring further data entry."

--- Eileen McLoughlin, Director of Financial Planning & Budget

"In the past, the Budget Office has used a download from Microsoft Access to gather all necessary data. This is a very users-driven process (i.e. the data is only as good as the Access programmer). Now, with Brio and the Data Warehouse, I was able to quickly gather the data and know that the information was complete and accurate."

--- Helen Grzymala, Associate Director of Financial Planning & Budget

"Those of us working on the Position Control & Labor Data Mart have already seen the need to change and add different types of information in the source databases, and how the Data Warehouse can be programmed to translate and present that information in a meaningful format."

--- Jeff Tanis, Manager of Financial Operations, School of Science

"The availability of the Data Warehouse will allow users to easily perform many types of data analysis (which are not easily done right now) that are necessary to make decisions in their positions whether they are managers or cabinet members."

--- Gina Ricci, Financial/Data Manager, Student Life

some of the above quotes were edited for space considerations.

see also

what is a data warehouse?
upcoming and past events
sponsorship & steering committees
implementation groups & committees
data warehouse group (IACS)

"As we roll the Financial Data Mart out to all Portfolio Financial Managers, the Budget Office will be providing more and more reports via the Data Warehouse. Financial managers will see reports prepared on an Institutional level for their data. We will be able to have ongoing, meaningful discussions about the data, rather than how to get the data and how to manipulate it."

--- Helen Grzymala, Associate Director of Financial Planning & Budget

testimonials

"The time it has taken me to gather information has been cut by at least half. I now query the Data Warehouse where previously I had to send many emails and make many phone calls to collect what I needed. While doing a research expenditure analysis, it took me a matter of hours where in the past it took days to get what I needed."

--- Jeff Tanis, Manager of Financial Operations,
School of Science

"During the FY04 Budget Process, the Data Warehouse allowed direct access to historical information. We were able to validate input from the portfolios (e.g. for Engineering projects reporting $X in gift revenue, does this look reasonable based on the historical levels of gift revenue?). We were also able to do trend analysis, particularly for sponsored research levels (e.g. historically, we have achieved X% of the research volume as of a particular month over the past 3 years; does this calculated projection match the projection from the portfolios?)."

--- Helen Grzymala, Associate Director of Financial Planning & Budget

"I can do YTD analysis quickly for our whole portfolio. Before this time, I would have looked at each individual fund, and manually put them in a spreadsheet to add them all up. This would take almost half a day. Now I literally know the balance in seconds. For our second quarter, I was able to query through the end of December, download this information to excel and send the data to our Directors. In the past, I would have had to look at Banner, transfer the data manually into a spreadsheet and send it to Directors. With the Data Warehouse, this is a non issue. So this process goes from taking me about 2 full days to about 2 hours."

--- Sandi Redemann-Butcher, Financial Manager, DotCIO

testimonials

"The Data Warehouse will provide the ability to have consistent and uniform reporting on research expenditure volume. The Data Warehouse counts every research dollar only once. Therefore, the reporting of this data on an Institutional level will be accurate and consistent. How this data is divided between the portfolios and organizations will depend upon the stated needs (e.g. which survey, which portfolio, etc.), but the underlying data will always be the same."

--- Helen Grzymala, Associate Director of Financial Planning & Budget

"While doing a research expenditure analysis last month, I identified a substantial amount of research expenditures on other schools' grants using School of Science orgs. I could not have identified and subsequently corrected these errors without the use of the Data Warehouse. These fund level expenses do not show up on in School of Science reports except at the Org and Portfolio summary level where they are not likely to be noticable and certainly not researchable on Banner because of Fund/Org security."

--- Jeff Tanis, Manager of Financial Operations,
School of Science

"This year it took Enrollment Management only one hour to complete the Admissions portion of a conference survey that normally took them a couple of days."

--- Karen Long, Director of Undergraduate Enrollment Programs, Enrollment Management