Implementation of the Data Hub Expedites Reports

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.

Restricted Data: Retention and Destruction

Restricted data is subject to retention and destruction standards imposed
by federal and state laws, regulatory mandates, and campus policies.
The UF data retention schedule is available on the Smathers Library site.

As important as it is for faculty and staff to know data retention standards, it’s equally important to know how to properly discard restricted data. Different media requires different destruction methods. For example, just throwing away paper records or deleting restricted data from a PC or other device does not meet university requirements. Paper records, CDs, and DVDs with restricted data cannot be reused and should be cross-cut shredded or incinerated. The sanitization and destruction standards policy should be mandatory reading for anyone in the UF community prior to working with or handling restricted data.

UF Property Surplus provides campus with secure media disposal services. They have two drop-off locations, at Building 811 off of Elmore Drive and at the UFIT Help Desk in the Hub. Faculty and staff who have questions about working with or properly disposing of restricted data are welcome to email UF’s Information Security Office.

Work Safely with Restricted Data

Restricted data refers to data collected, maintained, or managed by the university or through any university activities that are restricted by special protections from federal or state laws, regulatory mandates, or contractual obligations. Improperly working with, storing of, or transmitting restricted data could result in the revocation of research certifications, university business partnerships, and federal and state grants. In addition to the legal liabilities and financial obligations placed on individual employees and the university, a breach or misuse of restricted data would negatively impact UF’s reputation.

Types of restricted data are listed here. They include, but are not limited to, student records (FERPA), protected health information (HIPAA), Social Security numbers and credit card information, and export controlled data (ITAR).

All faculty and staff are required to annually complete the Information Security Awareness training, which includes a section on working with restricted data. UF’s Mobile Computing and Storage Devices Policy explains security and encryption standards required for devices operating with restricted data. UFIT’s Integrated Risk Management team is available to help clarify data classifications and the technologies and tools cleared for use with restricted data. Anyone in the UF community with questions is welcome to email

Organizational Changes Announced

VP and CIO Elias Eldayrie announced a reorganization of Enterprise Systems (ES) into two departments.

The reorganization will optimize how UFIT works, flatten reporting lines to create a more nimble management layer, and enable progress towards the 2020-2025 University of Florida’s Strategic Plan for IT. The new departments, their inaugural directors, and functional teams are:

Applications, Development, and Integrations (Nicole Garvey Jeffers)
● Systems and Programming (ERP/UX/EDM)
● Business Support & Change Management
● Student Life, Development Services, & CRM

Data Platform and Analytics (Jim Freymann)
● Master Data Management
● Integrations
● Reporting & Analytics
● Data Science & Analytics

Nicole Garvey Jeffers is the director of Applications, Development, and Integrations. Nicole has been with the university since 2005, most recently as associate director of ES. Nicole has held many leadership roles with UF’s PeopleSoft (myUFL) environment, including significant contributions to the HR and Financial upgrades. She also served as the technical lead for the COMPASS program’s implementation.

Jim Freymann is the director of Data Platform and Analytics. Jim has been with UFIT for over 15 years, most recently as associate director of data analytics. He served as the COMPASS program director, led the ES operations and change and release teams, and managed UFIT’s Project Management Office for six years. Jim also was technical lead for UF’s COVID-19 Return to Campus data and reporting initiative.

Both Nicole and Jim are now members of the CIO Senior Leadership Team and report to the VP and CIO.