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An Enterprise-Wide Data Hub  for School Districts



End users and mangers are often in the position of fending for themselves in order to acquire information that is needed to manage.  This situation has fueled the development of spreadsheets, word processing functions and other use of other desktop applications as a way to develop and organize management data.  And, when standalone processes replace organized management, errors occur.  As an example, in 2003, soon after announcing third quarter earnings, Fannie Mae had to restate its unrealized gains, increasing them by $1.2 billion dollars. This very high profile outcome was said to result from "honest mistakes made in a spreadsheet used in the implementation of a new accounting standard".  The actual bad news is that millions of similar, but usually smaller, errors are being made every year by separately managing data in spreadsheets or other types of desktop applications. A 1997 study by Coopers and Lybrand showed that 91% of all spreadsheets with more than 150 rows contain at least one significant error.  Although spreadsheets are the quintessential end-user tool, spreadsheets require users to perform programming functions and to maintain data in a free standing format.


The District Pulse also performs the task of an Enterprise-Wide Data Hub.  In this function, Pulse interactively delivers data to desktop applications such as spreadsheets, word processing, email systems and virtually all other desktop applications.  Additionally, Pulse can provide interactive data to web sites, other application systems as well as the generation of data for state reporting requirements. 


As an example, in the case of a spreadsheet, The District Pulse is gathering information from various application systems on a daily basis.  This data is simultaneously processed into advanced management information.  Any of this acquired or processed data may be interactively provided to a spreadsheet.  For example, a user spreadsheet could obtain new data from The District Pulse as it was generated by Pulse.  That spreadsheet could be further expanded with user generated logic and data, or via data from other applications acquired by Pulse.  The result is that the information in this spreadsheet is always accurate, up to date and available without the need for the user to perform user directed data entry.


While this is an outstanding capability, the real advantage of Pulse is to perform these functions while enforcing user security.  The data delivered to a spreadsheet is only that data that that user is allowed to use.  Pulse simply manages who needs what data and then delivers that data on an interactive basis directly to the spreadsheet being used.


In the following example, the blue portion of this spreadsheet contains middle school assessment data that is interactively delivered to a middle school based spreadsheet each day.  This data repopulates that portion of the spreadsheet which then "feeds" all other appropriate formulas and calculations.  The green portion of this example represents additions to the spreadsheet added by the end user.  As the new data is loaded by Pulse, this data is automatically recalculated.





Additionally, data may be supplied to mass email documents, web sites, presentation applications such as Power PowerPoint  or virtually any other type of application system.


An additional capability provided via the Data Hubbing capability of The District Pulse is the development, maintenance and management of Interfaces between application systems.  Pulse easily accumulates data from one application, processes that data into the appropriate format and file type and then forwards that data to a second system for processing.  This capability provides virtually of the functionality of a SIF implementation, at a fraction of the cost and staff requirements and as a combined function with its other capabilities.  In summary, the ability to create and maintain interfaces between systems is one of the greatest benefits provided by pulse.


The District Pulse performs the function of a district-wide data hub by channeling timely, accurate and secured data to all of the users and functions where it is needed.  This unique concept results in:


  • Very significant time savings as end users avoid direct entry of data.

  • Avoids data errors because all data is pre-processed by Pulse

  • Allows preprocessing of data into the format needed by the end user or programs.

  • Allows data security at any level desired by the school district.

  • Results in far more efficient users and mangers as more timely and accurate information is provided for decision making.


The District Pulse provides security and order to the traditional chaos of data management and delivery, and at financial and staff costs that are shockingly low.





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