IT Connect

Information technology tools and resources at the UW

Archive for month: February, 2019

BI Portal Software Update: Reporting Services

  • The audience for this message is all BI Portal Report users.

In the coming days, the Business Intelligence Team will update our reporting software version. After the update, reports will have a new look and feel, but there will be no changes to the report parameters or the underlying data that you use to do your work.

More Details:


  • We have scheduled this update for Sunday March 10. When users log in on Monday, the new version will be available.

Change Summary:

  • SQL Server Reporting Services(SSRS) is the software behind all of our BI Portal Reports.
  • The Business Intelligence team is updating the SSRS version from 2012 to 2017.
  • The new SSRS version has many new features including an improved look and feel that will be noticeably different.


  • The impact to users is expected to be minimal. This message is just for awareness.
  • Users do not need to make any changes in response to this change, and there will be zero interruption of service during the upgrade.
  • Users will notice that the report look and feel has changed. However, the report parameters, columns, and underlying data will not be affected by this update.


If you have any questions about this change, please write and put “BI Portal: Reporting Services Upgrade” in the subject line.

New Release: Helping Users Find Their EDW Authorizers

We are proud to announce the release of a new solution that helps enterprise data users find their ASTRA authorizers, to request access, and begin querying and analyzing UW enterprise data.


Enterprise data users need permission to access reports and visualizations on the BI Portal, UW Profiles, or to directly query the Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW). Requesting an ASTRA role is the first step in any enterprise data user’s interaction with our teams and up to now it has been a painful one.

The process users follow to find their authorizer and request access has always been hard to navigate, prone to error, and required running multiple SQL queries (yes, manually!).  This convoluted process led our customer to become frustrated and confused at the very beginning of our partnership.

Requests for help with this process are our number one most common help ticket and represent about 10% of our help tickets from the last 12 months.

For Requestors: A Complete Overhaul

New and existing enterprise data users who need to either request a new role or update their existing role, now have a clean and simple tool that helps them find their authorizer and request access!

Screen Shot 2019-02-12 at 1.48.10 PMWith the new Find My Authorizer Tool, requestors no longer need to guess who their authorizer is. They simply click on a link from our site, or navigate directly to the tool:

After logging in, they choose their role based on their work requirements and choose an authorizer from the ranked list. Users no longer need to draft an email, and wonder what to say. Instead, they send their request directly from the tool! A short email is automatically generated that notifies their authorizer of the request, and includes all of the information about the request, as well as next steps for following up.

But the web app isn’t the only exciting new solution! Behind this modern user interface is a new web API that pulls in a user’s organization information, compares it to a list of authorizers and their organization affiliation, and generates a ranked list of recommended authorizers based on a set of criteria. But, this new API isn’t just for this specific EDW use case, it can also be used to identify authorizers for other enterprise applications!

For Unit Authorizers: A Streamlined Process

For unit authorizers nothing changes in terms of how to grant permission to a requestor. After receiving a request, if you determine that the role and request is appropriate, you still navigate to the ASTRA admin page to complete the permissions process.

The difference is how requestors find you and contact you. In the past, the process was free-form and inconsistent. Now, a requestor sends a consistent email message with the click of a button that includes their name, netid, and requested role. Here’s an example of the request email.


More Work on the Horizon:

To be clear, this new tool only removes the pain for users whose permission can be granted by a local unit authorizer, an estimated 80-90% of all requests.

For roles that require Data Custodian approval, the process continues to be unclear,  painful for both requestors and approvers, and requires much manual intervention.The Find My Authorizer Tool can be built to accommodate the Data Custodian approval process, but more resources are required to clarify the existing process and design a more robust solution.


As always if you have any questions about this release, the Find My Authorizer tool, or the underlying web service, please write and put “Find My Authorizer Tool” in the subject line.

This news is brought to you by two teams in UW-IT, Information Management: Enterprise Reporting & Analytics and Enterprise Data Integration

Report Update: Student Degree Information

The Report Prioritization Group released a small update to the Student Degree Information Report. This post summarizes those changes.

Change Summary:

Based on user feedback, we added 2 new data elements to the report:

To include these columns in the report, simply select them from the “columns to display” dropdown menu.


As always, if you have any questions, please write and put “RPG: Student Degree Information Report” in the subject line.