Loyola University Maryland

Technology Services

Frequently Asked Questions

We have heard your feedback on the Reporting Readiness project and understand that you have questions. We want to address these questions and make sure that you have all the information you need about this project, and that we are providing you with what you need to be successful. 

Below please find answers to frequently asked questions we have received. This will be a living document.  Please email reporting@loyola.edu if you have questions that we have not addressed here. We will continue to update this list throughout the project as we receive additional questions or have further information to share about the status of this project.

What are the benefits of this project for my department and for Loyola?

At the successful completion of this project, Loyola will have better access to data that will allow for improved analysis, resulting in faster and smarter decision making. We will be able to better serve our stakeholders (i.e., students, faculty, staff, etc.) by having increased capabilities to more accurately and comprehensively examine the robust data we currently have. We hope that this new capability will allow the University to become more agile, efficient, and targeted in responding to the increasingly competitive higher education market in the Baltimore area and beyond.  

Report writers specifically will benefit from a more robust tool that can integrate information from multiple areas. Unlike our current environment, BusinessObjects gives you the ability to bring information together from separate systems into one single report, allowing users to more effectively analyze trends from an institutional perspective and not solely from a departmental viewpoint. Additionally, departments will be able to generate their own respective reports without having to wait for someone else (i.e., other departments such as Technology Services) to do so for them.  This will improve the speed with which we gather and analyze data across the University.

Why was BusinessObjects chosen as the reporting tool for Loyola?

To better respond to the competitive higher education marketplace, Loyola wants to be able to make better, data-driven decisions. BusinessObjects is a tool that can provide complex reports and enterprise dashboards that can help departments and leadership better manage the business of the University. With BusinessObjects, you can create reports that pull information from multiple files within Colleague and even different systems, such as Slate.

The decision to select BusinessObjects as our enterprise reporting tool was made after our partner, Ellucian, completed a full audit of Loyola's current reporting environment.  They conducted several departmental interviews to identify requirements and conducted an inventory of reports.  At the end of that assessment, it was recommended that we, as an institution, move completely to BusinessObjects and retire Informer.  Loyola, in turn, evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of the available options and determined that BusinessObjects better meets our needs today and into the future. 

BusinessObjects has a very good reputation within the industry.  It is generally held in high regard for its robust feature set and ease of use. It offers flexibility, better security, and a broad scope of capabilities that other tools lacked.

Why was Informer NOT chosen as the reporting tool for Loyola?

At the time we evaluated reporting tools, the Informer product was not as robust of a tool as BusinessObjects. Over the years, they have improved their product to include some of the same features as BusinessObjects.

Informer reports directly connect to Colleague files and can only access one Colleague file at a time unless Technology Services creates complicated code to pull information from multiple files. This is not aligned with best practice.  It is a best practice not to have a reporting tool access a SQL database directly. 

Since Informer accesses Colleague files directly, migration to SQL would have required every Informer report to be rewritten. The time to rewrite every Informer report was longer than converting to BusinessObjects due to the fact that a single BusinessObjects report can replace multiple Informer reports.

When does Informer go away? When do we need to be fully using only BusinessObjects for our reports?

After the University migrates to SQL on July 8, 2018, you will not be able to use Informer. This includes accessing Informer for old reports.

How do I submit an issue I am having with my report? Where can I find information on open issues and their resolutions?

For issues with reports that are still in progress and have not yet been completed:
Log into Workfront using your Loyola username and password.  Select your Pillar/Pillar Lead and then fill out the form to submit your issues pertaining to the project. The issues could include adding new fields, modifying existing fields, and modifying/troubleshooting reports.

For issues with reports that are already in production in BusinessObjects:

Please report these issues to the Help Center at x5555 or ots@loyola.edu so that a ticket can be created and your issue can be addressed promptly.

How are issues resolved?

Once you submit an issue, it is assigned to your pillar lead to investigate. If he or she needs assistance in resolving the issue, it will be escalated to Artnette Spencer. In prioritizing the resolution of issues, we look at the date they were submitted, the urgency, and the complexity of the issue.

How do I get training on BusinessObjects?

We understand that there is a need for ongoing training in BusinessObjects, and are in the process of developing a new training program. We will present this to the user community in the near future for your review and consideration.  For immediate training needs or questions, please contact the Help Center at x5555 or ots@loyola.edu.

When does BusinessObjects go live?

BusinessObjects is live now! As you convert your non-real time reports to BusinessObjects, the new reports will be in production in BusinessObjects and you will no longer need to use Informer. All non-real-time reports in Informer need to be converted to BusinessObjects by April 30, 2018. Since real-time reports access the Colleague database on SQL, they cannot be used in production until the University migrates to SQL on July 8, 2018.

When does Colleague get migrated to SQL?

Colleague will be fully converted to SQL during the Independence Day Holiday starting July 2, 2018, running through the weekend until July 8, 2018.

How are real-time reports being developed?

Real-time reports will be developed in Business Objects the same way all other reports are being developed. The difference is that the real-time reports will be written against real-time universes that access the Colleague files directly. It is best practice to limit the number of reports that access a SQL database directly, so these type of reports will need to be tightly controlled.

What is process for changes to a universe?

Additions of new fields to the universes or changes to existing fields will need to be submitted to Technology Services. Technology Services will complete all of the development work on our development BusinessObjects environment so as not to impact our production system. Once the changes have been tested, they will be processed according to Technology Services' change management process before the changes are moved to our production environment.

What does the roadmap of Business Intelligence look like at Loyola?

The transition to BusinessObjects is the first step in a multi-step roadmap to improve our reporting capabilities in order to enable the University to leverage data-driven decision making.  BusinessObjects is a very robust tool. However, it cannot satisfy all of the University's reporting needs. There are a number of tools and solutions that our partner, Ellucian, provides to create high level reporting dashboards.  In order to take advantage of these other technologies, we first need to complete the Reporting Readiness and SQL Conversion projects. The successful completion of these projects will put us in a position where we are able to further explore this type of reporting, and be able to evaluate these solutions.

How is the Reporting Readiness project being tracked?

We want to make sure each office has the reports they need to be able to conduct their business timely and accurately. One of the ways we are doing this is tracking the number of reports that need to be converted for each department, and keeping a tally of the progress. This helps us to be able to assess a department's progress in rewriting their reports, to better understand which areas might need assistance, identify areas of improvement, and help remove obstacles to success.

A real-time view of the total progress and each department's progress is available on the Reporting Readiness website.

A report is considered complete when:

It has been rewritten in BusinessObjects.
The report data has been validated and confirmed to be correct by the department.
The report is no longer used in Informer and is in a production state in Business Objects.