The University Record, July 22, 2002

Compilation of data reporting information increases options

By Nancy Firestone
Michigan Administrative Information Services

A new directory that provides information about more than 500 centrally available predefined administrative data reports is now available to help users locate information that meets their data reporting needs. This Predefined Reports Directory is the first comprehensive collection of information about the administrative data reports.

The Predefined Reports Directory is on the Michigan Administrative Information Services (MAIS) Web site (www.mais.umich.edu/) in the Reports section, which is informally known as the data reporting “Roadmap.” Officially published July 1, the Reports section also includes information for users who want to define and create new ad hoc reports.

In January 2001, the Administrative Data Delivery Advisory Group recommended the creation of a working group to develop a roadmap to the U-M administrative data delivery environment. In response, the Roadmap Project was initiated in June 2001.

The project working group included staff from MAIS and the Development Office along with user representatives from the College of Engineering, LS&A, Office of Budget and Planning, Office of the Vice President for Development, Office of the Vice President for Research, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Rackham Graduate School, School of Social Work, and U-M Hospital and Health Center. This group worked collaboratively to develop, validate and test the content of the directory and Web pages, as well as to design the organization of them.

MAIS conducted usability testing by observing 43 users from across campus as they browsed the Web site and the directory and performed specified reporting tasks. Virtually every participant reported that the tasks they were performing for the usability test were relevant to their job. More than 75 percent reported that finding the information on the site was “as expected, faster or much faster than expected,” and 60 percent responded that they knew what to do to find information on the site “most of the time or always.” Changes suggested by this group of users were incorporated into the directory and made on other pages in the Reports section of the MAIS Web site.

Lori Haskins, associate director in the College of Engineering and leader of the group of users who advised the project developers, said, “The University’s information systems are capable of providing a wealth of information, but that information is of limited value if it doesn’t reach the hands of those who need it—when they need it. The directory is intended to help staff navigate through our comprehensive reporting environment to find the information they need to do their jobs, and it will aid managers in identifying existing reports that inform planning and decision-making.”

The site is organized from a user’s perspective to facilitate matching a user’s need with existing predefined reports. Users who are looking for a specific report in the Predefined Reports Directory can use the search function to conduct a full-text search of the directory. Those who want to browse through the directory can select three ways to organize report lists:

  • By major data area: College Resources Analysis System, Development, Financials, Human Resources, Payroll, Physical Resources and Student.

  • By more than 60 common U-M business processes. Reports that support more than one business process are listed under each one.

  • By data environment: Data Warehouse, DSC Mainframe, FinProd, FinODS, HEProd, HeODS and Web.

    Users who want to construct their own reports to obtain data may use the U-M Data Warehouse, a reporting environment that contains data from M-Pathways systems, from legacy systems that preceded M-Pathways and from the Development/Alumni Constituency (DAC) system.

    Staff who need to use central administrative data must request access and fulfill training requirements. The Reports section includes links to access request forms, and information about training class schedules and registration. It also provides tips to help users get started with data reporting, information about tools used to retrieve and analyze reporting data, and links to other campus data reporting resources.

    A demonstration and discussion of the directory and other reporting Web pages is on the agenda for the July M-Pathways Unit Liaison (UL) meetings. So that everyone who would benefit from the information on the Reports Web pages is aware of it, the ULs are being asked to take what they learn during these meetings back to their units and share it with their staff. A PowerPoint file, providing details about how to use the Predefined Reports Directory and the other reporting information will be available on the Web so that ULs can present it during staff meetings in their own units.

    For more information about the Predefined Reports Directory and the other data reporting resources, access the Reports section of the MAIS Web site, www.mais.umich.edu/reporting.