By adopting an interoperable approach, we can create an experience that is consistent, accessible, and digitally inclusive for everyone on campus.
The current infrastructure of campus data sharing can be complex, expensive, and inefficient.
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The Interoperability Initiative
In search of a more thoughtful approach to the University of Wisconsin data and integration ecosystem, the Interoperability Transformation Initiative began work in early 2019. Its primary goal was to institutionally establish improved interoperability and infrastructure services and practices in order to enable and empower the work of the university.
We continue to develop our goals and service principles, including:
- Looking across system silos to understand and improve user experiences and outcomes
- Enabling access to the right services at the right times, and for the right reasons
- Providing an increased ability to share data across IT and business systems
- Empowering users to confidently work with data and make decisions following university policies and guidelines
By transitioning to an interoperable infrastructure, our improved capacity to exchange and use data will help all of campus, including Developers and Integrators, Business Process Owners, and End Users.
Where are we now?
Our current infrastructure is very segmented. The increasing number of systems on campus needing to communicate information has led to many frustrations. It’s difficult to manage so many different sources of information, whether students need to update their preferred name or system integrators need to resolve conflicting information.
Without institutional guidance aligning these systems, even the best intentions can lead to compliance issues.
As we have silos, there’s an increased desire from users for clearer policy and guidance. As groups develop workarounds, they can easily find themselves responsible for maintaining and protecting data that they may not even utilize. This misplaced responsibility can be prohibitively expensive and inefficient for many groups to maintain. It also opens campus up to a variety of logistical problems ranging from difficulty auditing to major cybersecurity risks.
Our disjointed infrastructure leads to additional complications when planning projects and allowing our campus to continue to grow. Roadblocks include increasing costs and complexity, unfulfilled expectations, and difficulty creating sequences or timelines.
While our current state can be complex, expensive, and inefficient, institutionally adopting an interoperable approach can help set us on a sustainable path of using data to its fullest potential.
The Office of Data Management and Analytics Services (ODMAS) is modernizing and expanding the capabilities of UW–Madison’s enterprise data warehouse, InfoAccess. Users looking to access data for analytics and reporting can use this cloud-based platform, Badger Analytics.
Badger Analytics and the Interoperability Initiative are running in tandem. As we continue our migrations and platform development respectively, we will be able to create a holistic data environment where users across campus will be confident about which tools and sources will best fit their needs.
Existing Applications and Integrations
Our official plans for transitioning applications towards our Integration Platform are still in the works. While we’re anticipating sharing deprecation timelines and communicating regularly about migrations, our approach will vary service by service. Current project updates can be found under news and updates specific to each data tool can be found on their respective pages.
After submitting an Intake Form, Enterprise and Solutions Architects will be available to work with you to plan, prioritize, and develop solutions for implementation. Both training and one-on-one support will be available throughout the process.
Finding New Solutions
The Interoperability Initiative team will continue to build Guides to assist with finding solutions in an interoperable way, including:
- Getting started with data
- Data Tools available for use, including the Integration Platform
- Best Practices for getting started with data
- Getting users access
If your team needs a bespoke solution or has an emergency need, you’ll have the option to work with Enterprise and Solutions Architects to ensure that it will integrate with university data and your needs are met in a way that will follow both policy and security guidelines.
Benefits of Change
Once systems start to be plugged into the Integration Platform and begin to communicate efficiently with each other, campus will see a wide range of benefits. Groups of all sizes will be able to rely on the Interoperative Infrastructure to access and build upon university data in new ways. Consistent guidance and expectations will make it easier to maintain technology. Data visibility and improved tracking will lead to more efficient reporting and auditing.
Most importantly, the digitally inclusive landscape will allow everyone from applicants to emerita to use technology in a way that is consistent, safe, and allows them to see UW-Madison as one campus.
Developers and Integrators
- Access Integration Platform, API Gateway, and other Data Tools that will securely integrate with university data
- Notifications of upgrades and changes
- Stronger integrations leading to less time fixing costly errors
- Security measures will be built into the data access process, removing need for building, maintaining, and protecting local data storage systems
Business Process Owners
- Self guidance material for technological solutions
- Accurately assess costs and timelines of integrations
- Improved transparency and tracking for policy and auditing purposes
- Digital inclusion leading to digital equity
- Improved user experience and ability to view or modify personal information
- Seamless experience across institution