Colleges and universities consist of multiple schools (Business, Law, Arts, Science, etc.), each having many departments with substantial reporting and data integration requirements. These departments include the Registrar’s Office, Institutional Research, Financial Aid, Academic areas, Student Accounts, Finance, Admissions, and HR.
Many of these institutions run their operations using Ellucian Colleague or Ellucian Banner ERP systems. These solutions provide functionality that includes:
- Admissions, scholarships, and financial aid
- Student information such as inquiries, applications, student addresses, prior schools attended, SAT scores, grades, GPA, majors & minors, hours completed, and graduation information
- Information on all classes
- Accounting and finances, fixed assets, A/R, A/P, and vendor information
- HR and payroll
- Alumni information.
Reporting Challenges with Colleague and Banner
The file systems within these ERP solutions are known to have significant complexity. For example, Colleague is built on a UniData MultiValue database, which operates differently than SQL. It has complexity associated with the database schema, file structures, mappings, and more. As a result, institutions hire IT specialists to create standard and custom reports. Users still might not get the correct data in their reports because it’s possible to find 6 or 7 very similar field names. IT must also be involved if reporting and data integration needs to be changed.
Without having a user-friendly point and click interface in Colleague, analyzing data is often challenging for end-users, especially when the data is continuously changing.
Institutional leaders also face decision making challenges caused by the lack of standardized reporting between different schools and departments. What’s required is a reporting and data integration system that provides:
- A single source of truth for data across the institution
- Standard selection criteria for reporting
- Consistent reporting formats.
Due to the challenges mentioned above, administrators often resort to using multiple manual processes. Many times, administrators create reports manually because data is in different systems or they don’t have access to the data. For example, some administrators print all the transcripts to identify and report on who is graduating, which takes much time. Not only does this significantly increase the length of time to create reports, but it also increases the likelihood of errors. They can do this in 5 minutes with Informer 5.
Creating a Self-Service Knowledge Center with Informer 5
Informer 5 makes it quick and efficient for people to access real-time data to perform analysis and produce reports and visuals that users can interact with by grouping, sorting, filtering, and more, despite these ERP systems having a tremendous number of data fields and complicated schema. Informer 5’s functionality and ease of use are also the top benefits that institutions appreciate.
Institutions quickly transition from being a heavily IT-dependent reporting environment to a self-service knowledge center with Informer 5. Management and staff find the new reporting and data integration capability a significant game-changer. They create reports, run them when they want, and share them securely with everyone soon after Informer 5 implementation.
People also find it much easier to share reports with their colleagues thanks to Informer 5’s ability to embed dashboards containing exceptional visuals. Many schools use dashboards for reporting because users find them convenient for getting all the information they need on one screen.
Automating Reporting Workflows with Informer 5
Informer 5 is an indispensable tool for departments to schedule their day-to-day work. For example, schools use Informer Reports to identify students who have their enrollment information either ready to be packaged for review or highlighted if the information is still missing. Reminders are then automatically sent to the students.
Informer 5 also makes it easy to merge criteria for reporting. For example, administrators at some institutions spend multiple days manually gathering data from different systems to create a report that identifies honors and probation students and drafting individual letters to those students. Informer 5 removes that complexity by automating the process. Users complete this process within a day by selecting the criteria for merging data, downloading the information into Excel, and then using the data with Word and Mail Merge.
Institutions also use Informer 5 to support their quality control initiatives by keeping departments informed if something out of the ordinary happens. For example, users can schedule Reports that say, “give me the students when certain information doesn’t match or where the social security number is missing.” Managers can also have a Report that isolates specific records that need to be reviewed instead of reviewing all the data.
Informer 5 Provides a Single Source of Truth
Colleges and universities often choose 3rd party applications to augment some of Colleague or Banner’s functionality, including:
- Salesforce for contact management
- ADP for payroll
- Workday for HR/payroll
- Slate CRM for Admissions recruitment
- Raiser’s Edge for fundraising.
Information contained within these different systems creates the need for a single source of truth for reporting. With Informer 5, users no longer need to run separate reports in each application and then combine the output manually. Informer 5’s Datasets automatically blend this disparate data to create a centralized, curated data hub for analysis and reporting.
Informer 5 facilitates effective data governance by providing cleansed and standardized data that users can access to create their reports, such as pivot tables and charts.
Lastly, Informer 5 also supports an institution’s security initiative. For example, IT can lock down users with criteria that determines who gets access to what and when, and how much of it they get. IT also maintains control by authorizing users to access, generate, and share reports with confidence.
Some colleges still lack adequate and efficient reporting tools. Consequently, people who need information are dependent on IT and may wait many days, or even weeks, for reports. Alternatively, the ability to retrieve data from multiple sources, transform it and create a self-service reporting and analysis environment for end-users results in timelier, data-driven decisions.
Colleges and universities throughout North America have found Informer 5 to be the ideal business intelligence solution. Integrating data from Colleague and other systems to create a centralized data hub — one that is curated and secure for reliable analysis and reporting — is invaluable for not only management decision making, but also employee morale and productivity.
To learn more about Informer 5’s many capabilities, please call 888-703-0016, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.