As the University of Florida continues on its digital transformation path, a key initial phase has begun with the implementation of the Data Hub. Powered by the Snowflake software, the behind-the-scenes tool is providing UF with a more efficient and organized way to store, share, and learn from our data. A Data Hub is a system for data integration where data from multiple sources and with various requirements is reconfigured for efficient storage, access, and delivery of information. The hub can be accessed by many tools (i.e., Enterprise Analytics) for reporting, analytics, data engineering, and data science.
UF Information Technology (UFIT) recently collaborated with UF Finance and Accounting to complete the initial phase of moving financial reports into the Data Hub. Staff who work in UF’s financial and accounting environment saw significant performance improvements. One report showed a 99.7% increase in speed to compute over the previous data warehouse product.
“We’ve seen huge improvements in the run times of many of the reports we run regularly, which makes our jobs so much easier,” said Adam Kadlec, accounting specialist in the Division of Student Life. “Reports that were taking several minutes are generated and ready for me to use in seconds now.”
The Data Hub service enables the UF community to mobilize their data queries in such a way that makes it easier to use and share that data. UFIT Director Jim Freymann recently summed up the enhancements to the university’s data mining and reporting environment:
“We’re excited to continue building upon the success of this implementation. This tool and others coming are crucial elements of UF’s data strategy to move the university forward in predictive analytics and data-driven decision-making. The Data Hub environment will also actively support the university’s increasing use of AI applications with its data.”
The Data Hub will replace UF’s existing warehouse and data shares within the next five years. UFIT is in the initial phase of deploying the service. The Data Hub as a campus-wide service will become more widely available over the next few years, with training options for new service users.
Over the past two weeks, more than 700 employees participated in product demos for Empowering UF, the multiyear initiative underway to replace the 19-year-old PeopleSoft application. Staff governing the initiative want to ensure UF’s enterprise systems meet today’s needs for security, data reporting, and other functions, while also serving our complex administrative environment, including human resources, research administration, finance, and procurement.
“Ultimately, while technical in nature, Empowering UF is really about people,” says Interim Vice President for Human Resources Melissa Curry. “Modernizing our systems will give us a competitive edge in meeting the needs of a modern workforce — helping to ensure we attract, recruit and retain the best and brightest while easing the administrative burden.”
The Empowering UF website includes the roster of the initiative’s executive sponsors, steering team, and project implementation team. There is also a robust and frequently updated FAQ page on the site. Anyone with questions about the initiative is welcome to contact the project implementation team: https://empowering.ufl.edu/contact-us/.
UF’s research portfolio exceeded $1 billion for the first time in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022. UFIT supports two applications– UFIRST and myinvestiGator–that enable researchers to manage their sponsored funding. Numerous financial analysts, developers, and data engineering staff are involved each week with the maintenance of these applications.
“A world-class research institution requires world-class administrative tools. Keeping our faculty and research support teams empowered through easily accessed, up-to-date information is key,” wrote Stephanie Gray, assistant vice president & director, Division of Sponsored Programs. “UFIT helps keep UF Research running with their excellent support of UFIRST and myinvestiGator.”
4,244 active users in FY22
14,677 new projects added to UFIRST in FY22
2,000 faculty and staff users in FY22
Approximately 17,000+ system logins in FY22
Assistance getting started on both applications is available through UF Research. Training materials and helpful companion docs for UFIRST and myinvestiGator are online:
There is are abundance of tasks that faculty, students, and staff can complete in ONE.UF.
Faculty and staff can approve time, check campus news feeds, review account balances and any bills or fees due, oversee research project information, and find volunteer opportunities that match their interest and time availability. Instructional faculty can also check their course teaching schedule and enter final grades.
Students can review the current list of available courses, register for courses, view their grades, and order a transcript. Students can also complete the Information Security Office phishing training module, search volunteer opportunities, and check their bursar’s balance.
All faculty, students, and staff can also schedule Covid-19 vaccinations through the ONE.UF portal and find the latest Covid-19 information for campus as well.
Anyone needing assistance using ONE.UF may contact the UFIT Help Desk: Visit 132 Hub, email email@example.com, or call 352-392-HELP/4357.
A retention policy for UF’s Zoom service takes effect Friday, Jan. 14, 2022. Any recording older than 365 days will be removed from Zoom’s cloud storage. Users needing to preserve any cloud recording older than 365 days can download recordings to a storage destination of their choice. Users can also elect to upload Zoom recordings to UF’s Mediasite environment.
Deleted recordings remain in the Zoom trash for 30 days. To retrieve recordings that have been moved to your Zoom trash, log in to Zoom and follow the steps in the Recover a Deleted Cloud Recording document. After 30 days in the trash, a recording is no longer retrievable.
On July 15, 2022, UF’s Zoom retention policy will be reduced to its final state of 180 days.
Please visit the UF Zoom cloud recording FAQ page for additional information. Faculty and staff with questions or who need assistance should reach out to their local IT support. Zoom users may also contact the UF Computing Help Desk.
The Enterprise Reporting environment in myUFL will cease on Sept. 30, 2021. UFIT is sunsetting Enterprise Reporting because the product is no longer supported by the vendor, and because a more robust tool–Enterprise Analytics–has been available for the UF community since May 2020.
Faculty and staff have multiple options to help maximize their work experience in Enterprise Analytics. Self-paced training resources and facilitated lab experiences (via Zoom) are available:
• Enterprise Analytics Open Labs: Held each week on Tuesdays (9:30-11:30 a.m.) and Thursdays (1:30-4:30 p.m.). Email the Reporting Services group to receive the Zoom meeting ID code
• Enterprise Analytics Toolkits: Easy to follow PDF documentation for help with dashboards, reports, and analysis studio
• Intro to Enterprise Analytics: Available in myTraining, course number UF_ERA050_OLT
• Analysis Studio Workshop (new FIT Cube training): Available in myTraining, course number UF_ERA300_ILT
• Updated Reporting Tools Website: Quick start guides and best practices PDFs to help you master the financial data reporting environment.
Please email Reporting-Services@ufl.edu for technical issues or security related questions. Anyone with reporting-related inquiries may email General Accounting-Help.
Through mid-April, UF Information Technology has allocated more than 10,000 staff hours in support of UF Health’s Screen, Test & Protect initiative. Under UF Health leadership, UFIT quickly worked to understand the procedural requirements as well the data, reports, and dashboards needed to support this once-in-a-generation undertaking. Data privacy and FERPA/HIPAA compliance remained at the forefront of all staff efforts. Some curated numbers (through April 12) include:
• Nearly 80,000 UF community members submitting more than 556,000 screening forms and scheduling more than 282,000 COVID-19 tests
• More than 90 jobs running each day in support of data reporting needs, executing 2,700+ steps to process information from UF Health and UF enterprise systems
• Enabling a waitlist allowing 111,000 individuals to register for the vaccine, and scheduling more than 85,000 vaccinations. Online forms were created via a collaboration with the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County and UF Health
A fuller context and detail of the work undertaken by UFIT to support return to campus efforts is available on the Senior VP and Chief Operation Officer’s website.
Phase III of UFIRST went live on July 6 and brings the post-awards business process online. UFIRST Awards creates a more efficient award management process for researchers and administrators and introduces a streamlined environment for the $700+ million in research funding currently managed at UF.
Completed in nine months, the new functionality represents the third and final phase of the UFIRST initiative. Phase III also introduced a new proposal management system with electronic integration to grants.gov for federal submissions. This has enabled the Office of Research to retire Cayuse, its previous software for electronic grants submissions, resulting in savings of $180,000 per year. The entire grants management process is now more transparent, as relevant information for the processing of awards is visible in one location.
There are multiple resources to help research staff with the transition to UFIRST Awards. Training is available as are instruction guides located in myUFL’s Grants Toolkit. An article covering more specific dates, training requirements, and the functionalities of the UFIRST service was published in FYI. Anyone with questions about using UFIRST may email firstname.lastname@example.org.
UFIT has been working with the Office of Research on the University of Florida Integrated Research Support Tool (UFIRST). A new proposal routing system for the university, the first phase of the UFIRST implementation, goes live March 23.
UFIRST will significantly improve the way research is administered at UF, from proposal submissions through the awards process. Among the improvements is a streamlined workflow process designed to improve transparency, tracking, and reporting throughout the life-cycle of the proposal.
This is not the end of UFIT’s work in support of this new Office of Research system. Subsequent stages of implementation will occur in fall 2015, when UFIRST replaces Cayuse as the submission tool to http://www.grants.gov/, and the new awards system, expected to go live in spring 2016.
Resources for UFIRST, including information on training and security roles needed to use the system, are available via the UFIRST website. The UF research community is invited to submit questions, suggestions for any of the implementation phases, or general feedback to the UFIRST project team.