University’s new data platform will map student time

Illinois State chooses Informatica to harness analytics around students’ full potential

data-projectInformatica Corporation, an independent provider of data integration software, announced that Illinois State University (Illinois State) has made Informatica the cornerstone of its ability to harness data to enable student success.

Specifically, Illinois State has implemented Informatica PowerCenter as the data integration foundation of its multi-year “LEAPForward” project, which is aimed at optimizing student-oriented business and data processes and providing a platform for business intelligence and analytics to enable student success at the university and beyond.

Illinois State is using Informatica PowerCenter to create:
— A cohesive presentation of each student’s time at Illinois State – PowerCenter is handling the movement, conversion and cleansing of the university’s considerable base of historical student data (biographical, demographical, scholastic, etc.) from its soon-to-be-retired legacy mainframe to its new ERP-based Student System to provide a unified environment for accessing and leveraging student information.
— An enriched data environment for analytics – PowerCenter is also the data integration foundation for Illinois State’s new data warehouse, integrating, transforming and enriching data from multiple sources for use by administrators and staff for business and academic decision-making purposes.

(Next: How the program will make data more useful)

“We have an intense executive-level interest at Illinois State in using data to enable student success,” said Matthew Helm, interim associate vice president and chief technology officer, Illinois State University.

“Because of our strong historical focus on student outcomes, Illinois State’s retention and graduation rates are very high. With the “LEAPForward” program and our investments in Informatica data integration technologies, we now possess the platform we need to make more effective use of data to meet strategic goals and drive our student success metrics even higher.”

Making data more useful

Through its use of Informatica, Illinois State is able to deliver common data sets across the institution to increase the effectiveness of student-oriented business processes and enhance the productivity and decision-making capabilities of educators and administrators. The university is also able to enrich and ensure the usefulness of its information through built-in business logic and automated data validation.

Additionally, with the successful decommissioning of its mainframe system using Informatica PowerExchange, Illinois State will soon be able to provide a single system and interface for accessing student information and serving students across their careers at the university, with the added benefit of enhancing students’ perceptions of their experiences.

Informatica provides Illinois State and its “LEAPForward” project with numerous specific technical and economic advantages, says the University. These include:

— Faster data integration development – PowerCenter presents a codeless, GUI-based development environment with extensive reuse of data mappings and other integration routines and objects. PowerExchange provides high-performance, near universal access to any data source, including mainframe. This enables faster and less costly development and greater agility in addressing evolving information needs.
— More productive IT teams – By automating its data integration processes with PowerCenter, Illinois State is able to build at a scale that it could not otherwise achieve, with fewer full time employees producing a higher volume of information solutions than was previously possible.
— Rapid data conversion and migration – With Informatica proving both the software and the methodology for its mainframe migration project, Illinois State has been able to considerably accelerate the traditionally time-consuming process of moving data from the mainframe, reorganizing it and making it fit for purpose for the university’s new ERP system.
— Ready access to qualified developer resources – The availability of thousands of certified Informatica developers has made it easy for Illinois State to define and acquire the specific data integration development skills it requires.

“Informatica PowerCenter is a foundational part of our project, not just in building integrated data marts but in transforming and expanding them down the road to meet new demands for information, while also easily maintaining what we have,” said Beth Ladd, director of Business Intelligence, Illinois State University. “Overall, our use of Informatica will help make Illinois State’s business intelligence organization more nimble as we continue to make our data assets more accessible and applicable to more people across the organization.”

Future steps

Beyond laying the foundation for student data marts and the institutional data warehouse for business intelligence and analytics, the use of Informatica PowerCenter will also be extended across Illinois State’s other core administrative systems, including its HR and finance systems. Further out, the university intends to leverage metadata management capabilities to make extensive use of business metadata in its push to make useful data more accessible to the campus as a whole.

Informatica will also eventually serve as the platform for creating a single-view-of-student, accessing and integrating outside data, such as census data, data from statewide longitudinal data systems and other government and public data sets to help Illinois State attract and recruit students who will most likely benefit from attending the university.

“Ensuring that students achieve success in college and in their careers is the overriding goal of higher education,” said Amit Walia, senior vice president and general manager, Data Integration and Data Security, Informatica. “Illinois State is an example of a university that is aggressively putting in the modern data systems and data processes to support analytics, that will further its ability to serve students and help them realize their full academic potential, sculpt relevant instructional programs, and keep the institution aligned with student and societal needs.”

Material from a press release was used in this report.

Laura Ascione