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Building Information out of Data: EIS at Penn State

SPECIAL TOPICS OF BI SIMIN TOKER - 135808023


A CASE STUDY BY THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY
EXECUTIVE INFORMATION SYSTEM COORDINATING COMMITTEE DEC, 1998

1-Introduction
-Motivation & System -About the University, Environment & Executives

2-EIS Implementation Process


-Background -Development of EIS -Strategy -Tools -Models

3-Analysis
-Internal Marketing -Current Status -View to the Future -Conclusion & Critic

Pennsylvania State University (PSU)


A public research university with campuses and facilities throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, United States. Founded in 1855. Ranked among the top-fifteen public universities nationally.

Motivation
Tailored requests of executives, exceptional reporting options were limited Need to do quick weekly check on Admissions information Getting an accurate picture of overall operations

EIS System Features


EIS provides(@PennState): summary information for executives, using data automatically extracted from a data warehouse (dynamic, OLAP technology). Operates on: Microsoft SQL Server Presented with: Cognos PowerPlay Server Web Edition Security on Web: DCE Authenticated, SSL Encrypted System Login(on Web): via DCE user-id and password

Implementation Process
-Background

Development began in Feb, 1995 with an EIS Coordinating Committee Committe:


-in charge of delivering the information to university & executives -consists of representatives from major operational units as well as the Office of Administrative Systems (central operational and technical support)

The scope of the project was determined according to their decisions

-Key requirements of the system would be..


Cross Platform Ease of Use Limited Training Quick Response Large Volumes of Data Deployment Through the Web Easy Graphical Presentation Options Ability to Access Subsets of Data (Drill Down)

Implementation Process
-Development of EIS

After evaluation of suggestions: OLAP (OnLine Analytical Processing) dynamic method was choosen to cover the requirements. The Cognos PowerPlay Server Web Edition was identified as the best fit for the needs of Penn State executives.

Development Structure
-Strategy

EIS was choosen to be built EIS on the existing transaction (summary data) database. This approach allowed the Data realtime transaction details Warehouse in case of the operational (detail data extracted needs. periodically) Includes a centralized, webbased data server; BUT the Transaction Databases individual units are (detail transactions processed responsible for the data, immediately) design and preparation of the models. Fig.1: Penn State Information Access Strategy EIS access is authorized.

Development Structure
-Tools

a family of products from the Cognos Corporation PowerPlay is the primary tool for both developing and displaying models PowerPlay enables the developer to construct multi-dimensional models (a.k.a 'Cubes') from a variety of sources These models are then distributed to other users via PowerPlay Server Web Edition (Same basic principle as the
BW / Query Designer / Bex Analyzer)

Product requires no plug-in to the browser User training is easy because of the familiarity of the point and click interface, the ability to easily customized web pages or web-browser bookmarks.

Development Structure
-Models (~Cubes) the term model is used to describe the different cubes that can be viewed. they are summary level subsets of data focusing on a specific issue.
-For instance, the "Official Enrollment Model" will allow the user to view summary level information in regard to enrollments. (i.e, gender, ethnicity, college, etc.)

Each model is designed based on the general anticipated needs of the end user. Several units : Admissions, Human Resources, Graduate School, Office of Budget and Resource Analysis, Development and Alumni Relations. In addition,
various organizations and individuals have built private models for their own use outside of the general EIS system

The continuous development of appropriate models is a key component for the success of the EIS.

Development Structure
-Overview
PowerPlay Server Web Edition is an OLAP tool that provides detailed analysis of the data and also offers graphical capabilities. With this type of analysis tool the user is able to take on a multi-dimensional view, thereby finding answers to questions not evident or discovered in a simple reporting structure.
Fig.2: Dimension Bar

Fig.3: Display Area

Fig.4: Toolbar

Internal Marketing
Facing the user reluctance Ability to answer the question How can the EIS be successful for Penn State? Planning workshops (internal fairs and conferences, live
demonstrations, user group meetings etc.)

Providing new Data Models (covering the financial units)key to building interest and showing the power
and value of the system.

Obtaining high-level executive support (to gain


visibility, acceptance)

Current Status

Fig.5: Models available with 150 users

View to the Future


The direction is to expand the EIS by including financial models This will provide full information for each
executive unit as well as for the University as a whole.

Handling the reluctance sustains- continuous education & encouregement a fully integrated Distributed Computing Environment (DCE) security system will be implemented (EIS is the initial step)

Conclusion
A progress rather than a finished product Need to improve system Supplies a summary level information and support to the Penn State decision makers & executives Increases efficiency and effectiveness dramatically better, faster decisions, Positive impact within the University community Further benefits will be realized as additional users become familiar with the EIS

Critic of the Penn State EIS


reason may be: year -1998- & educational institution

System fails by one of the most critical function of EIS: Future prediction & Trend analysis External data flow (like news) also missing Drill-down doesnt allow the financial analysis yet, but in progress Communication tool is also not mentioned Guiding and tutorials, system workshops are above average aiming to sustain system usage GUI is easy to use CSFs are not clearly listed in the case study; but discussed as requirements & needs of Penn State
Even if they call it an EIS; its rather a MIS

Thank you for your attention!


QUESTIONS?