As part of the Digital Transformation initiative, ITS developed an Enterprise Data Strategy that seeks to overcome the challenges brought about by duplicated, out-of-date, siloed, and sometimes conflicting data. In support of this strategy, ITS has invested in Looker, a data analytics platform and self-service reporting tool that helps users explore and share real-time analytics.
Previously, accessing data required ITS to create a custom report. Manually creating a single dashboard takes great effort as stakeholders need to consult each other and consider all data formats. However, with Looker, UCR now has a means to centralize and more effectively validate data. The platform also drastically reduces the time needed to set up and analyze data. Thanks to Looker’s data visualization capability, campus users will be able to create and customize reports themselves using reliable data.
A soft launch of Looker will take place on August 15, 2023, as part of the current financial system replacement effort, Impact23. Once deployed, finance departments on campus will be able to access select financial datasets to easily build custom dashboards and reports.
Each dataset in Looker is referred to as an “Explore” and they contain information related to the subject area of the dataset. For example, the Finance dataset contains General Ledger and Working Budget data.
There are multiple data points in the dataset that can be used for self-service reporting. For instance, when you select an Explore, Looker will show you all the data fields you have access to (e.g. Department, Division, Budget/Actuals amounts, etc.) and you can click on those fields to add them to a report that you can reference later and/or share with others.
During Looker’s soft launch, three financial datasets will be accessible: Finance, Payroll Distribution, and Banner Student Receivables. These will be available to those who are given EACS access by their System Access Administrator (SAA).
Aside from financial datasets, ITS is also working on making other datasets available to campus users as part of the Enterprise Data Strategy. Below are some of the reports that will soon be available through Looker.
UCR has transitioned to cloud-based research applications by Kuali to standardize the processes for research proposals, awards and subawards, compliance, administration, and documentation across various departments. To aid campus users in generating Kuali reports, ITS is working to deliver the following:
Student Reporting is the ITS-developed replacement of two existing reports that are manually generated using data from UCR Banner: the Application Status report (produced weekly) and the Majors report (produced monthly). Both reports show various metrics around incoming students. Once launched, Student Reporting will be the first student dataset in Looker.
The process of generating reports will be automated with Student Reporting available through Looker, significantly reducing the time spent on the task. Campus users will be able to pull reports with updated data anytime they need it.
ITS is also working on financial dashboards for University Advancement using the new Chart of Accounts data from Oracle Cloud Financials and two of University Advancement’s databases that hold donor information. These dashboards will improve the University’s ability to make data-driven decisions.
Watch the short introductory video above to learn more about Looker. You may also access the available training resources in this Knowledge Base article. ITS recommends that new Looker users complete the Analyzing and Visualizing Data in Looker course. The course is free, self-paced, and provides training on the following: