The University of Memphis Data Warehouse

What is a Data Warehouse?

The University's Data Warehouse is a database designed for analytical and information processing. The warehouse is a read-only collection of data intended to answer business questions. Data structures are de-normalized to make query building easier. It has detail data, summary data, snapshot data, history data, raw data, metadata and archive data. Data are extracted from our business systems such as Banner, DegreeWorks, etc and loaded into a single integrated information asset. It contains data from systems prior to Banner too, such as SIS, HRS, CashNet, etc.

Why do we need a Data Warehouse?

A Data Warehouse can:

  • Enable users with better information
  • Improve accessibility to integrated data
  • Enable informed decision-making leading to increased or improved service
  • Improve data quality in the OLTP (On-Line Transaction Processing) systems
  • Improve consistency with data from multiple systems
  • Help identify hidden business opportunities
  • Act as a strategic planning tool

How does the Data Warehouse differ from other University systems?

The Data Warehouse is an On-Line Analytical Processing (OLAP) system that is populated using data from the University's operational systems--also known as On-Line Transaction Processing (OLTP) systems. An OLAP system provides a means of archiving data gathered over time by OLTP systems, and then analyzing that data for trends. OLAP and OLTP can be compared in the following ways:

Data is updated Data is read-only
Uncontrolled redundancy Managed redundancy
Current data Historical and current data
Repetitive processing "What if" processing
Limited history Trends over time
Response in seconds Response in minutes

What data is contained in the Data Warehouse?

Data contained in the Data Warehouse is organized by subject area. Currently, there are student, course, employee, financial aid, advancement, finance and person subject areas.

How frequently is the Data Warehouse updated?

Every weekday. Campus users determine how frequently the Data Warehouse is updated, based on their information needs and the confines of the systems that run the University's daily business.

Who may access the Data Warehouse?

University of Memphis faculty or staff members may access information stored in the Data Warehouse, based on individual need. There are two types of users. The first type are power users who are proficient in SQL and query building. This type of user will build data blocks in Argos and data visualizations in Power BI. The second type of user can build reports off of these data blocks or simply consume reports. Majority of users fall in this second category. Both types of users will need to understand the data they are dealing with.

How do I access the Data Warehouse?

The Data Warehouse can be accessed from your desktop through the Argos, Argos Web Viewer and Power BI. The data can also be exported into data formats such as CSV or PDF files.

How do I receive more information?

For more information, send e-mail to dw@memphis.edu.