April 4, 2012
As it’s implemented over the next few years, OneCarolina will overhaul the way departments such as Admissions, Financial Aid, and Accounts Receivable do business every day.
One of the ways in which OneCarolina will accomplish this is by restructuring USC’s Data Warehouse.
But what exactly is a data warehouse and how is it going to change?
What is a data warehouse?
A data warehouse is a comprehensive database that utilizes data from multiple and varied sources. From there, the data can be accessed a number of ways.
Why is it important?
The University uses what’s contained in a data warehouse to track the thousands of different transactions and processes that are carried out during a typical day. A data warehouse is also used to analyze business trends over time to improve services that ultimately benefit faculty, staff, and students. From there, more comprehensive forecasts, business models, and other reports and projections can be made.
For example, Admissions can run a query to see which planned major has been the most popular among incoming freshmen. This information can then be analyzed over time to determine which majors are increasing in popularity and which are decreasing. On a more day-to-day basis, Admissions can use the information to monitor the daily processing of applications.
Currently, data is stored and accessed from multiple databases, spread throughout an enormous mainframe. While this layout is functional, the new data warehouse process will consist of one comprehensive, consolidated database structure with a single source of data.
In the past, departments that wanted reports from the data warehouse had to rely on University Technology Services (UTS) to create and execute its reports. Now, the departments will have the ability to author reports themselves, giving them more flexibility and freedom.
The bottom line is that University departments need the ability to organize data in a clear and consistent manner so they can improve the ways they do business.
When are these changes happening?
The data warehouse overhaul is currently in development, and implementation will begin in June with the project scheduled to finish next summer.