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Improved reporting performance that makes data available earlier in the workday has been achieved through recent changes to the process of copying data from the ConnectCarolina transactional system to the data warehouse for InfoPorte and SAS reporting. Additional performance upgrades are expected soon. Ensuring that the prior day’s transactions are available on InfoPorte and SAS reports as early during the work day as possible is a major goal of the Enterprise Reporting and Departmental Systems (ERDS) team.

Improvement in When Data are Available in InfoPorte and SAS

Due to recent process changes, the prior day’s data are now available earlier. The InfoPorte main reports are usually ready before business hours, typically before 7:30am. Secondary reports such as BMS are usually ready around 8:45am. This is primarily due to improvements in how ConnectCarolina financial transactions are loaded into the data warehouse. The ERDS team collaborated on this behind-the-scenes effort, devoting weeks to ensuring that ConnectCarolina data was accurately represented in the data warehouse.

A recent upgrade of the SAS environment has helped to stabilize that environment. Additional load-time improvements are anticipated by the end of March for reports created in SAS Visual Analytics.

More work is underway to further improve load times of data used by both InfoPorte and SAS Visual Analytics reporting tools.

How Data gets from ConnectCarolina into InfoPorte and SAS Visual Analytics

Several steps are executed each night to copy data from ConnectCarolina into the data warehouse where it is available for reporting via InfoPorte and SAS Visual Analytics.

First, transactions entered into ConnectCarolina during the workday are processed. This processing takes place beginning at 5:00 pm Monday through Friday and completes at about 11:30 pm each day.

Then, the data is copied from PeopleSoft and loaded into the InfoPorte data warehouse in a process that takes several hours, longer when a payroll is being posted. The longer UNC uses ConnectCarolina, the more data there is and the longer it takes to copy the data.

Once the data are in the warehouse, it is optimized for presentation through InfoPorte and SAS. This involves merging data from multiple tables to enable reports to run faster. This process takes a few additional hours. At this point, the data from the prior day is available in the data warehouse for InfoPorte and SAS Visual Analytics to report on.

Activities that can Impact Timing

There are a variety of circumstances that can affect when data appear in InfoPorte and SAS. An extraordinary volume of transactions in ConnectCarolina the day before (for example, a very large payroll) may take longer to process. Occasionally, system performance issues (ConnectCarolina, data warehouse, network and other systems) impact the timeliness of the prior day’s data being available for reporting. These are closely monitored and corrected as soon as possible. User reporting activities sometimes conflict with data loading into the data warehouse, causing “collisions” and performance problems. The entire Enterprise Applications team is working to coordinate activities and avoid conflicts.

More About InfoPorte and SAS

InfoPorte is a reporting interface to the University data warehouse which is a repository of information from ConnectCarolina, the University’s administrative software system. SAS Visual Analytics is another reporting tool that enables in-depth analysis and data visualization. The ERDS team is part of Enterprise Applications within ITS.

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