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CASE STUDY - Visionary School District Finds New Ways to Eliminate Information Technology Interoperability Issues

By Richard Krause, Product Marketing Manager, Data Integration Products, Vision Solutions, Inc.

Broward County Public Schools in Florida has developed an innovative student analytics system and data warehouse that captures immense volumes of information, including attendance records, grades, test scores, medical histories, and contact information.

More than 200,000 students, partners, teachers, and school administrators have password access to this new data warehouse, where facts are available on demand. To achieve this level of collaborative transparency, Broward needed to eliminate barriers between several disparate databases and platforms.

Replicate1 from Vision Solutions has been implemented at Broward County Public Schools to provide real-time changed data capture and on-demand, enterprise-wide data sharing between any application, regardless of database format or operating system.

According to the school district’s senior data warehouse analyst, Phyllis Chasser, Ph.D., “About 85 percent of our users are on Macs, and the other 15 percent on PCs. All of the student transactional applications as well as our data warehousing activities run on IBM System i. With Vision Replicate1, we can bring data over rapidly from a wide range of data sources, including SQL tables, DB2 tables, flat files, SAP, Oracle, and others— often with just a point, click, and drag.”

Vision Solutions helped Broward implement Replicate1. Says Chasser, “We found that a rapid, successful implementation is key to maintaining project momentum, and everything went very smoothly.”

Chasser emphasizes that teachers and administrators can make more collaborative, data-informed decisions thanks to the data warehouse and Replicate1, and this has a very real impact on student achievement.

“A good example is the fact that our district demographics change on a regular basis—we have a lot of students moving from school to school during the year. We used to update all of our records overnight, but now, some of the most essential data, such as student registration and attendance, is real time. So, by the time the student reports to the new school, everything is already there, and if they move during the middle of the day, the records are there immediately,” according to Chasser. “Students can be placed right away in the specific classes they need. If they have problems with English or they need to be on the lunch program, there’s no delay.”

“We used to update all of our records overnight, but now [with data integration], some of the most essential data, such as student registration and attendance, is real time.” –Phyllis Chasser, Ph.D., Broward County Public Schools

Broward County Public Schools shares their cache of information with an organization called the Broward County Information Network, a consortium of several public entities within the county of Broward, including hospitals. All of these entities access an Oracle database hosted by the county. Chasser explains, “Data sharing definitely makes things easier for agencies across the county. For example, if a child is hurt outside of school, authorities can link into this independent database and get contact information or information for emergency treatment such as allergies that we have in our data warehouse.”

Vision Solutions’ Replicate1 has played a significant role in this evolution. “The data warehouse has created a data culture within the school district, and it’s wonderful. The easy availability of data makes it an integral part of the organization, and Vision Replicate1 has been instrumental in creating that environment of easy availability,” says Chasser.

For a free white paper on this topic, click here and choose the title “Get the Facts: Real-Time, On-Demand Information for Business Intelligence and Data Integration.”

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