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UW Finance Cube undergoes redesign

July 29, 2022

We’re happy to announce the release of the newly redesigned UW Finance Cube, formerly known as the Financial Activity Cube. Kicked off in August 2021, the project is now completed and ready for use. Developers and testers across UWFT (UW Finance Transformation) and UW-IT ERA (Enterprise Reporting and Analytics) collaborated closely with users to update the schema, making it easier to maintain, and making it more intuitive for finance users at all levels.

The current Financial Activity Cube will no longer be available after September 15.

Please read on to learn:

  • What is the UW Finance Cube?
  • Why was it redesigned?
  • What will it take to switch from the old cube to the new?

What is the UW Finance Cube?

The UW Finance Cube is a database which contains University of Washington financial data. It is configured in a way that makes the retrieval of any data point easy. Do you want actuals vs. budget by organization or by account code? The new UW Finance Cube makes this kind of data filtering effortless. The built-in flexibility of the cube allows users to see complex data in new and different ways allowing for robust financial reporting and analysis. To access the cube, all you need is an application such as Microsoft Excel or Tableau.

Why was the UW Finance Cube redesigned?

The initial finance cube, Financial Activity Cube, through changes and with time, had become unwieldy and lacked needed flexibility. There were several attempts made to redesign the cube in a way that would not affect users, but finally a decision was made to drastically change the cube to make maintenance easier and to improve the process and flexibility for adding new attributes.

This enhanced cube will be especially important with UWFT (UW Finance Transformation) going live in July 2023. To preserve data currently available for static reporting, we don’t want to build more reports but rather, we want to use the cube. A good example of the need for this strategy is the multitude of reports we currently have in MyFD, the application for UW’s financial accounting system that will soon be retired. How can we retain the rich data in those reports? The best answer is the new UW Finance Cube, which can be easily changed to satisfy varied reporting and analysis needs.

The redesigned UW Finance Cube for biennia 2019 and 2021 are now in production. Users can expect the redesigned finance cube and its predecessor to run in parallel until September 15, at which point we’ll retire the older cube. Users can expect to find the same data elements and have the same levels of access as in the previous version, but will need to rebuild their existing workbooks using new dimensions and renamed attributes.

What will it take to switch from the old cube to the new?

To support flexibility and ease of maintenance, we’ve worked very hard with users to update the schema making it more intuitive for finance users of all levels. In the updated schema, some attributes that were in one dimension are now in a different dimension which will make the switch from the old cube to the new a bit more challenging.

But you’re not on your own. We have support documentation, and we held a webinar in June led by Karen Goetz, UWFT: Software Engineer, which resulted in helpful resources listed below. In addition, every Friday morning the BI team hosts BI Office Hours where you can ask questions and get answers.

To connect to the new UW Finance Cube, please refer to the Finance Data Cube Resources wiki page.

Currently, the following cubes are available:

  • UW Finance Cube 2021
  • UW Finance Cube 2019

The redesigned finance cubes for biennia 2005-2017 will be added shortly.

The Financial Activity Cube and the redesigned UW Finance Cube are running in parallel. Please remember, the Financial Activity Cube will no longer be available after September 15.

Additional resources

To learn more about the new design, how to connect to the cube, and what changed and how, please visit our Finance Data Cube Resources wiki page.

To learn more about the new schema and attributes, please visit Knowledge Navigator: UW Finance Cube.

UW-IT’s Enterprise Reporting and Analytics (ERA) will continue supporting users as needed. We’re here to help:

  • Join us for BI Office Hours every Friday from 9am – 10am via zoom link https://washington.zoom.us/my/busintel, or
  • Email us at help@uw.edu with “reports, cubes and dashboards” in the subject line, or
  • We’re available to meet one-on-one if you’re having problems switching to the new cube.