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Activity Hubs: the New Standard for Data Storage and Access

It goes without saying that data is a driving force at a top-tier research institution such as UC San Diego. It’s how we establish the boundaries of what we know and what we don’t know, but being able to effectively access and analyze reliable data hasn’t always been the easiest task. That’s why Activity Hubs are being introduced through the Enterprise Systems Renewal program to replace current data warehouses.

Activity Hubs - What Are They?

Activity Hubs are the new central repository for UC San Diego data activity. They will not only preserve data integrity but will allow blending of data across multiple systems, something that hasn't always been  possible.

Moreover, Activity Hubs follow access policies approved by the Data Analytics Governance Committee and best practices for data security to protect the data. 

Hub data is validated by steering committees made up of UC San Diego subject matter experts from a broad range of campus units and uses steering committee-approved field names, so everyone is speaking the same language.

Sarah Parnell, change practitioner for the Activity Hubs project, offered this insight, “Activity Hubs are a brand new, cutting edge technology that is changing the way people are structuring their data and doing more with what data they have, far from what has been done within current data warehouses.”

What Hubs Can Do

Thanks to Activity Hubs, users can now more efficiently aggregate and analyze data through “curated views” using the Tableau and Cognos visualization tools to make data more user-friendly. Plus, personal information stays secure as it’s no longer downloaded directly.  

Sarah put this transition into perspective, saying “Replacing current data warehouses with Activity Hubs is the equivalent of trading in your horse and buggy for a Range Rover. This isn’t just about being faster; this is about using a smarter, more capable, more efficient system to get you where you want to go without all the current associated risks.”

As a result, data analysts can spend less time looking for data and more time analyzing it. This also allows users to answer questions that weren’t possible before. They can build and run custom reports from behind secure firewalls, analyze historical trends and blend local data with Activity Hub data on the more secure server reporting environment. Reports can also be built faster and with more confidence that the data is consistent with others’ reports.

In terms of what this means for the future, Sarah adds, “I’m most excited to see what UC San Diego analysts will do with their data. There are so many questions out there that couldn’t be answered before… and now, the data will be available to them, so they can really focus on pushing their research forward and making new discoveries.”

Hub Releases and Training

Of the six Hubs currently planned, the Student Activity Hub is in production, Employee, Financial and Research Activity Hubs will deploy in 2020, and Alumni & Advancement and Facilities Hubs will start development in 2020. 

Cognos and Tableau are the approved Activity Hubs data visualization and reporting tools. The tool you’ll use depends on your data and reporting needs.

Free online Cognos and Tableau tool training is currently available, and training for specific Hubs will be made available as they come online.

To learn more, go to the Activity Hub project pages.

Category: Data & Analytics