General Information

What is a data warehouse?

A data warehouse is a read-only set of information that is combined from multiple systems into one, easy-to-access location. The primary purpose of a data warehouse is to provide verified data that can support strategic decision-making. There are plenty of ways, however, in which a data warehouse can support operational needs as well.

Benefits and Features

By linking data from various sources across campus, a data warehouse supports decision-making related to the Strategic Plan. Key benefits include:

  • Data usually isolated in separate transactional systems are connected in the data warehouse for better insights
  • The data warehouse is optimized for reporting on and analyzing large data sets
  • Information is updated every weeknight and completely refreshed each weekend
  • Data Stewards from functional areas create reports that are the 'single version of the truth' for that topic
  • Reports can be automatically delivered to people in many formats, including PDF, Excel, CSV, email, etc.
  • Staff can request access to the data warehouse, which is accessible using a web browser

The data warehouse initiative at Brandeis

When former president Lawrence arrived at Brandeis in 2011, he quickly identified the need for cross-functional data. His mantra on the subject of data was:

  • One University
  • No Silos
  • No Surprises

By the summer of 2011, a data warehouse team of three employees had been formed, and the creation of Brandeis' data warehouse began. The initiative is co-sponsored by OPIR (Office of Planning and Institutional Research) and LTS (Library and Technology Services).

Since data warehouses are enormous undertakings, data sets are added in iterations. To see the data sets that are available in the Brandeis data warehouse now, as well as the ones that are in the pipeline, visit the Status and Road Map page.

The data warehouse and Brandeis' Strategic Plan

As Brandeis implements aspects of its Strategic Plan, there will be a need to measure how well these changes are achieving their intended goals. A data warehouse can provide many of the answers.

  • Longitudinal trends can be tracked and reported on
  • Analyses can be made on progress toward goals that cross traditional functional borders
  • Comparisons to peer institutions can be made if their data are available
  • Numbers vetted by designated Data Stewards can be relied upon to reflect those officially reported by Brandeis
  • Reports to which you have access are available to you in a self-service fashion, reducing wait times for key information
  • Data can often be exported for additional analysis outside the data warehouse
  • Automatically generated reports can be sent to you on a recurring basis in addition to being available on-demand
  • You can request that reports be created to alert you to any potential issues with data entry from your source systems (PeopleSoft, Slate, PowerFAIDS, etc.)

And the list goes on...