Enterprise Reporting: How to Choose Reporting Methods

This article highlights reporting options available to the University community and covers the difference between application-level reporting, Pre-defined operational reports and dashboards from UM Reports and UM Analytics (etc) and ad hoc reporting methods (UM Analytics, DW queries).




Visualization and Analytics

Reporting tool

Peoplesoft Query

UM Reports

BI Publisher


(note: not an enterprise supported tool)

UM Analytics

What is this tool best used for?

  • Ad-hoc and "Canned" reports
  • Real-time queries and reporting
  • Queries needed to monitor and manage business tasks and operational needs
  • Custom reports developed to meet operational reporting needs
  • Offers a consistent user experience and feature set
  • Reports that will be printed
  • Reports where exact formatting is important
  • Data discovery, validation, and visualizations
  • Offers an intuitive interface that is easy to understand and consume
  • Integrates analysis, reports and dashboard components
  • Multidimensional analysis (e.g., tuition by College by Fiscal Year)
  • Drillable reports (hierarchical data)

What data sources can be used?

  • Transactional data from PeopleSoft enterprise system
  • Legacy Data Warehouse data
  • Data from PSSNAP
  • Transactional systems (Compass, PeopleSoft)
  • XML files
  • Excel/CSV files
  • Legacy Data Warehouse data
  • Transactional systems (Compass, PeopleSoft)
  • XML files, Excel/CSV files
  • Legacy Data Warehouse data
  • Full range of data sources
  • Enterprise Data Warehouse (dimensionally modeled data)
  • All data subject area sources that have advanced through the EDMR prioritization process

What are some benefits of this tool?

  • Users get real-time information
  • Access directly to PeopleSoft data used for reporting
  • Can be scheduled and distributed to groups of people
  • Custom web app that can be updated to address changing needs
  • Easy to understand user friendly interface and easy point and click
  • A Trusted source of reporting
  • Can report against many different types of data sources
  • Solution to desktop somewhat faster than UM Analytics solution


  • Can report against many different types of data sources
  • Easier to develop and deliver reports
  • Increased speed of solution to desktop
  • Helps users see and understand data easily
  • New reports/dashboards can be developed in a distributed manner as the data is staged behind-the-scenes
  • Distributed development of ad hoc analysis enables a variety of user questions to be addressed
  • Scheduled email notifications
  • A variety of output formats

What are some drawbacks of this tool?

  • Limited query design complexity
  • Access  limited to PeopleSoft
  • Output options are rigid
  • Is a custom web application; it is hard to change and support
  • Limited access to data sources and feature set
  • Tool is planned to sun-set
  • Ad hoc capabilities limited
  • Limited feature set with fewer capabilities for analysis and user data manipulation
  • Reports accessing large amounts of data or many different tables may take a long time to run
  • May require SQL skills and/or direct knowledge of data structure
  • Current licensing costs
  • Slower to incorporate new data elements/data sources due to up-front modeling and ETL requirements
  • All data and reporting assets are hosted from a single location/platform

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