"Centerprise is much more user friendly and requires less training. For someone who doesn't have much training, SQL, etc., Centerprise is much easier to learn. Utilizing Centerprise to review data quality rules, look up reference codes, transform data, and clean large batches of data, while automating the entire process, permits us to work with the data and make sure it’s up to specifications."
Lawrence Duggan, Business Analyst
The world’s largest education network company works to empower young men and women by providing the technological resources, mentorship and support many students need to pursue college and career training opportunities. In serving educators, students, parents, administrators and employers, the company helps learners make and meet goals as they transition from school to career. With nearly 20 million registered learners, including 130,000 employers and over 4,000 educational institutions, this company is a national leader in developing customized district-wide, statewide, national, and international web-based applications for students as they migrate through the learning lifecycle. The company, based in Boston, MA, provides web apps that permit students, teachers, counselors, and employers to track individual educational pursuits and offer guidance and direction from high school all the way through to future employment.
After evaluating a number of different data integration platforms, Centerprise was chosen by the business team because it met all needs, thanks to the exceptional usability, first-class functionality, and affordability.
Due to the scope of support offered, the company addresses large batches of disparate data coming from different school districts and states that need to be merged into individual student directories. It also manages data for course planning research, and moves, tracks, and processes student records. The company needed to be able to transform the data, ensure it was up to specifications, and then load it into their system, where it could be used to create reports, enabling new customers to evaluate their data for errors.
The company needed an integration platform that would enable it to manage disparate student data and migrate it in a timely, error-free manner, especially since small errors on students’ records can result in a qualified student being denied an important opportunity. It was apparent that a tool was needed that would enable the company to gather large batches of data and cleanse it so that each student’s data was accumulated into a format compatible with the high school-to-college transition and beyond. The process required data quality checks, data conversion, and automation – all on one platform.
The team had previously been using a number of different tools, but none of them completely met its changing requirements. SSIS was one such tool, however, the team found the learning curve a bit too steep to be practical. “Centerprise is much more user friendly, and requires less training,” said Laurence Duggan, business analyst. Tasked with allocating lean IT resources for training associated with the other ETL tools being evaluated, Duggan preferred Centerprise with its user friendly, drag-and-drop functionality. This superior functionality made the software so straightforward that it can be utilized by business users as well as IT staff, thereby shortening the training period and decreasing high training expenditures.
A solution was implemented using Centerprise where dataflows were created for each client, including data quality checks and all the required transformations for the incoming data. Most of these jobs were automated by the use of the scheduler and workflow automation features in Centerprise. “Utilizing Centerprise to review data quality rules, look up reference codes, transform data, and clean large batches of data, while automating the entire process, permits us to work with the data and make sure it’s up to specifications,” said Duggan.
The company is currently using Centerprise to synchronize, migrate, cleanse, and transform student data into a format compatible with college and career planning services and platforms.
The company chose Astera over the competition because, “I do like that it is on the element level and the fact that you have all of the elements as opposed to SSIS where everything is object and script based,” explained Duggan. The company also discovered that Centerprise was “more user friendly than SSIS,” resulting in less training for their staff. Duggan's overall impression of the product was “solid.” He liked that it has the same navigation and look and feel as SSIS. “For someone who doesn’t have much training, SQL, etc., it is much easier to learn,” he said.
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