Computing Services and Systems Development (CSSD) is responsible for Enterprise Business Intelligence and the University Data Warehouse at the University of Pittsburgh.
What is Business Intelligence?
Business Intelligence describes the technologies and processes that transform raw data into meaningful information that can support data-driven decision-making. The University of Pittsburgh supports Tableau for dashboards, data discovery, and analytics; and IBM Cognos for reporting.
CSSD’s Business Intelligence team is comprised of database specialists, report developers and designers, analysts, and data scientists. The team supports Tableau, Cognos, and the University Data Warehouse. Reporting, analytics and data science consulting is available for the campus community.
Supported Tools and Data Services
Cognos is a tool for enterprise reporting and ad hoc data querying. Using Cognos, authorized staff can view standard financial and student reports. Data and operational professionals can use Cognos Query Studio to create ad hoc queries or run existing queries. More about Cognos and Cognos Query Studio>>
Tableau Desktop and Server
Tableau is a tool for visualizing and exploring data, uncovering insights, and sharing those insights via dashboards. CSSD provides Tableau Desktop licenses to data analysts who use the University Data Warehouse at the University of Pittsburgh (see Requesting Access below for details). Tableau Server is provided as a repository for those analysts to publish and share their work within the University, and in some cases, outside of the University. More about Tableau >>
The University Data Warehouse
The University Data Warehouse (UDW) is the central authoritative data source for the University, providing support for reporting, ad hoc data queries, and analytics. The University Data Warehouse is an Oracle-based database that is comprised of data originating in multiple University systems, including PeopleSoft, PRISM, and CourseWeb. The data is extracted from those systems, then optimized for speed and ease of use, and placed into data marts. A data mart is a subset of the University Data Warehouse and is oriented toward a particular type of data, or a particular function. More about the University Data Warehouse >>
Community Support and Consulting
Business Intelligence Practice Group
CSSD hosts quarterly meetings of the Business Intelligence Practice Group. Meetings feature updates on the University’s data and analytics initiatives, guest speakers, tips, and training. The BI Practice Group Web site provides documentation, resources, and discussion for the group. You can join the group by completing a short online form.
Consulting in Reporting, Analytics, or Data Science
CSSD provides consulting to administrators at the University of Pittsburgh in the areas or reporting, analytics, and data science. If you are interested in dashboards, data analysis, predictive analytics, or have other data-related needs, contact the Technology Help Desk to arrange for a consultation.
Request Access to Tools and Data Services
Access to Data
Access to the University Data Warehouse and its data marts requires the submission of a Federated Authorization Request. These requests ensure that users are granted access to the data required to successfully complete their work.
Student Mart Access
Your access to student data will be governed by your academic center or department. In addition, access to sensitive data (e.g., GPA, ethnicity, birthdate, etc.) requires additional approval. All new users must first request Student Mart Access. If restricted access is required, those forms should be submitted as well.
- Request Student Mart Access (View instructions)
- Request Student Mart Restricted Access (View instructions)
General Ledger (GL) Mart Access
Your access to general ledger data will be governed by your job responsibilities, your responsibility center and department/group, as well as the role you request on your form (e.g., Business Administration, Operations, or Grants).
SQL Query Access
If you have access to the University Data Warehouse via the Student or GL Mart, know how to write SQL queries, and would like to have direct SQL Query Access, then please contact the Technology Help Desk.
Access to Tools
Cognos Reports and Cognos Query Studio
By requesting access to either the Student Mart or the General Ledger Mart above, you will be automatically granted access to relevant standard University reports available in Cognos. To request Cognos Query Studio access, make sure to check the “Include Query Studio access box” when submitting the Federated Authorization Request.
Tableau Desktop and Tableau Server
All faculty and staff at Pitt have access to the Tableau Server at http://analytics.pitt.edu . Access to content (dashboards or worksheets) should be directed to the Tableau Desktop author who published the workbook.
Data analysts who use the University Data Warehouse can request Tableau Desktop licenses from CSSD. Visit the Tableau page for details.
Frequently Asked Questions for Business Intelligence
Do I have to use Cognos or Tableau to get data?
CSSD Business Intelligence provides Cognos and Tableau software to the University. The combination of Cognos and Tableau covers most use cases for institutional data. However, highly advanced users with specialized needs can use other SQL-based tools that can be configured to connect to an Oracle database.
Can I automate data extraction from the University Data Warehouse?
Cognos provides jobs that can be configured to run reports or queries and email the results to a user. Tableau extracts can be scheduled to run to update underlying dashboards. Automated data feeds to school, department, or business unit systems may be possible, subject to security, volume, and use considerations. Contact the Technology Help Desk for more information.
How do I stay up to date with analytics and Business Intelligence at the University of Pittsburgh?
Join the BI Practice group to stay up to date on changes to infrastructure, new tools, and best practice at Pitt.