Advances in the construction of the UC Institutional Data Warehouse

Information integration is a key step to transform institutional data into strategic assets, which facilitate decision making. Added to this UC initiative is the creation of a new institutional dictionary for data and information governance.

Illustration that shows two coworkers, a man and a woman, talking about university data.

photo_camera The purpose of having an institutional data model is to be able to move towards a methodology that allows those who work in the university to access relevant data, also to relate them and to be able to share them with other people in a regulated and standardized way.

A notable advance has presented in recent months the project to create a Data Warehouse, the data warehouse for the Catholic University. It involves the implementation of an architecture for the integration and ingestion of data generated by the institution, such as the number of students, graduates, academic offer, figures related to infrastructure, among others.

Having this information validated and on an online platform will allow speeding up the analysis and decision-making process within the campus.

Claudia Leiva, Director of Data and Information Governance , explains that different information systems have historically operated at UC, but they have not been connected or integrated into a centralized platform, this makes effective management and evidence-based decision making is very difficult to achieve, since the effort to access the data can often be slow and complex.

“We are building an architecture and modeling that allows us to ingest and integrate data from different units in the Institutional Data Warehouse,” he points out and adds that the UC data model must also remain in time, independent of the systems or units that generate the information.

In this process, more than 30 information systems, which jointly included approximately seven thousand tables with data of various kinds, were reviewed, in conjunction with the Information Technology Office, and with the participation of about 40 people from different directions of the university.

After this process, more expeditious access to the information has been achieved but, in addition, it has allowed the data to be sorted according to a similar and high-level quality standard. Likewise, thanks to the support of the Directorates of Academic and Personnel Records , the two platforms that contain more institutional information have been explored: Banner and Peoplesoft, which in addition to contributing with completing the Data Warehouse also make up a large part of the institutional data model .

The purpose is to move towards a methodology that allows those who work at UC to access relevant data, also relate it and be able to share it with other people in a regulated and standardized way.

“By having the information systems integrated with each other in a kind of ecosystem, with shared standards, we will be able to quickly answer strategic questions on different topics, such as, for example, knowing all the information that UC has about an academic or student, independent of the source of each piece of information ”, says Claudia Leiva.

Meanwhile Roberto Price, Director of Informatics at the Catholic University, explains the importance of being able to govern the information generated by the university:

“Data is a very valuable asset for UC, but it will only be useful if it is governed and available. From the IT Directorate we have to protect many data, the effort made during this time allowed us to move forward so that these are available in a data warehouse and can be used in evidence-based decision-making, ”he says.

New data dictionary and pandemic 

Another important step that has been taken in recent months is the creation of a new data dictionary , which allows the generation of a common language to describe the information generated by the university. For example, the dictionary contains the definition of how the concept “useful square meters of laboratories” or “bilateral exchange agreements” should be understood, among others.

The institutional data dictionary currently contains around 600 registered and governed data (that is, that have passed through each of the stages of the GOB D + I Methodology), it also indicates who is the person responsible for said information at the Institution and what is its level of privacy (that is, how this data can be accessed in the institution).

This is how any member of the UC community can access this information through the site  dictionarydedatos.uc.cl . “The institutional dictionary saves and makes valid the definitions of the governance process agreed jointly by those responsible for data, experts and all those participants who represent each academic and administrative unit of the university in Data Government”, says Claudia Leiva.

The Data and Information Governance Directorate is also actively participating in the development of the iCOVID Chile platform, which allows providing indicators on the evolution of the pandemic at the national level. The project, which has been jointly articulated by academics from the UC, the University of Chile and the University of Concepción, has a data visualization system on contagion figures that has been precisely implemented by the Directorate of Data Government Information.

This tool has been very relevant in the context of the health crisis both for the authorities and for the general public, because through the visualization of the information people can review the status of indicators in key dimensions for the diagnosis of the pandemic and its evolution over time, favoring decision-making. In the last three months, the platform has registered more than 15 thousand visits.

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