About the Strategy
The Office of Data Management and Analytics Services, Academic Planning and Institutional Research, and DoIT are working to modernize and expand the capabilities of UW–Madison’s enterprise data warehouse. The modern system will use the latest in cloud analytics technology to deliver a broad set of cross-functional institutional data domains including student, finance, space, HR, Salesforce CRM, and more through a secure, high-performance, rapidly expandable cloud storage and query engine that supports all manner of data types and BI tools.
Current vs. Future State
Current state: Siloed data drives complexity and cost
Traditionally UW–Madison has relied on the UW-System to provide data and reports for finance and HR data through WISDM/WISER, WISPR, and EPM. Our campus data warehouse, InfoAccess, primarily focused on the delivery of student data insights from our Student Information System and student-related systems like DARS, Lumen, and Housing. Numerous additional reporting databases have been developed within both central and academic divisions that duplicate central sources, or provide data from systems (AssetWorks, Insight, MyUHS, Work Management Systems, Foundation, Salesforce, and numerous subscription SaaS systems, etc.) to limited audiences, a practice that while understandable given legacy analytic delivery models, no longer satisfies the campus need for trusted, timely, integrated enterprise data for analyses and data-informed decision-making.
With the sponsorship of the Provost and VCFA, the Office of Data Management and Analytic Services has performed an evaluation of leading practices from leading vendors like Gartner, EAB, and TDWI; consultation with our higher ed peers, and experts here on campus and developed an institutional analytics strategy and roadmap to unleash the power of our enterprise data assets in service to our education, research and service missions.
Analytics Program Best Practices
UW-Madison Future Environment and Strategies
Badger Analytics: Our New Enterprise Data Warehouse
At the heart of this new strategy is an upgrade to a modern cloud analytics environment branded Badger Analytics, leveraging the power, scalability, and cost-effectiveness of a cloud data platform called Snowflake, an organizing framework for data lakes provided by leading cloud data lake providers like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. Product licenses have been acquired and the ODMAS team is already working on the transition from InfoAccess, which we tentatively plan to retire in December 2023, once we’ve completed migration of data mappings and architecture, and transitioned our ad hoc users to this new query platform. Our first release in March 2021 included:
- Snowflake Security Access Model
- General ledger and budget data (and associated Tableau visualizations for P&L and People & Stuff)
- Academic Structure
Simultaneously, we have started requirements for the second phase of the migration and architectural redesign, which will focus on a new and improved set of Department Planning Profiles dashboards to support academic and administrative departmental planning and analysis.
A third phase and (mostly) final phase will simplify and streamline the architecture behind our Student domain reporting to support critical connections with other campus data (space, teaching and learning, HR, finance, CRM, etc.)
For more information on the InfoAccess transition plan, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Badger Analytics Advisory Council
The Badger Analytics Advisory Council provides strategic guidance, recommendations for decision-making, and oversight for UW–Madison’s new Badger Analytics Snowflake environment and the associated data products. It consists of designated officials who play a leadership role in advancing the institution’s strategic priorities through data availability and architecture, data literacy, analytics capability delivery, and user development. The Badger Analytics Advisory Council advocates for the appropriate resources to ensure proper planning, policies, and protocols are in place to support the development of Badger Analytics solutions for the university.
|Steve Ackerman||Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education|
|Lois Brooks||Vice Provost for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer|
|Margaret Tennessen||Deputy Associate Vice Chancellor of Facilities Planning & Management|
|Vacant||Chief Data Officer|
|Allison La Tarte||Interim Vice Provost of Academic Affairs, and Director, Academic Planning and Institutional Research|
|James Montgomery||Associate Dean for Fiscal Initiatives, College of Letters and Science|
|Ken Mount||Senior Associate Dean for Finance|
|David Murphy||Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance|
|Patrick Sheehan||Office of Human Resources|
|John Zumbrunnen||Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning|
What is Snowflake?
Snowflake was chosen as the first product of UW–Madison’s enterprise data analytics tool portfolio. It is an analytic data warehouse running on infrastructure from any of the major public cloud providers. It is a query services layer that sits on top of virtual warehouses and manages the infrastructure, metadata, query optimization and security. Learn more about Snowflake.
Multiple platforms were considered as a cloud solution. Snowflake was the only truly cloud-native data analytics platform considered that enables the use of multiple clouds and third–party storage systems. Snowflake scales instantly within defined maximums and minimums and automatically shuts down resources when they are idle.
Using Snowflake: Requesting Access
We’ve made a distinction between institutional data analytics (see the institutional data definition) and academic research use cases. For uses of institutional data, interested parties should contact ODMAS at email@example.com. For academic research requests, please contact UwMsnSnowflakeDW@g-groups.wisc.edu.