In this series we sit down with Regina Lopez, our Informer Customer Success Manager. Regina has extensive experience using Informer in a Colleague environment as well as supporting our Colleague users and has all the tips you need to streamline your processes.
Covered in this article:
- Informer works natively with Colleague’s UniData database for easy ad hoc reporting
- Complements Colleague processes to enhance efficiency via savedlists and automations
- Take advantage of Mapping Suites for easy reference to FA ACYR and GL FYR files
Informer is a data analytics platform that allows for the blending of disparate data sources for the creation of accurate, self-service reports and dashboards that help organizations with tasks from operational reporting to high-level strategic analysis. It is a powerful tool that connects to legacy systems as well as SQL databases and hosted applications (via web APIs). As a company, we have long-time experience with the Higher Education community and have been working with and supporting Colleague users since 2006.
Colleague was initially developed with an underlying UniData (MultiValue) database. Informer actually preserves specific MultiValue functionality such as one-to-many relationships presented in rows and columns, by-exploding, and savedlists. In Informer, users are able to generate savedlists that can be utilized within the Colleague application for different processes. Data populates into the Colleague screen or custom program to take specific actions. For example, users often need to print batches of student transcripts. Informer can run a report of students matching certain criteria and create a savedlist of those IDs to populate in the TRAN screen. Transcripts will be generated for all students selected, with no need to type the individual IDs. Users can also create savedlists in Colleague and use the savedlist to generate reports against the records included, demonstrating the bidirectional functionality of Informer and Colleague. Informer provides a high degree of flexibility with existing Colleague processes to enhance efficiency and take advantage of automation, allowing users to save a significant amount of time.
We understand the challenges that come with the daily demands of operational reporting. Informer was top-ranked for “Ad Hoc Query” in the BARC BI & Analytics 21 survey, and 97% of our customers use our software for this purpose. Informer offers unlimited reporting abilities with intuitive drag-and-drop functionality, drilldown capabilities, real-time data rendering along with scheduling reports.
For example, our customers use the Jobs functionality to schedule reports and to help automate the Financial Aid awarding process by querying the database to find students that are ready to be awarded. Financial Aid advisors are emailed a list so that the awarding process can begin. Jobs can also be used to create quality control reports to find missing data and alert the respective office to ensure data integrity. An example of this is finding students with missing birthdates to verify this data is collected and updated in the database. Another use case for Jobs is generating nightly files to push data to other third-party systems via a secure FTP.
Our software offers native support for specific Colleague functionality. Users can create reports using Informer’s Mapping Suites for Financial Aid ACYR files and General Ledger FYR files. These reports only need to be created once and can be used repeatedly for all years that have been set up. Informer can prompt the user for the year or use a default year. Users can also run reports displaying data from multiple ACYR years.
Informer also includes the ability to map Colleague Valcode tables and Code Files through the use of Codes. Codes are code/description pairs defined for a specified property and can include Ellucian delivered Valcodes and Code Files as well as user defined codes, as needed.
For more ways on how Informer can work with Colleague and become your institution’s data hub, contact Regina Lopez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re a new customer, we have bundles available for UniData and SQL with pre-built mappings and links (joins) to the most commonly used files (tables) in Colleague as well as basic reports.