Answers in Analytics: Portland State University Streamlines Budgeting and Controls Cost


When Portland State University needed to streamline budgeting, control costs, and increase student retention, it turned to the expertise of Prolifics.

An overhaul of the university’s data warehouse and reporting tool eliminated tedious, time-consuming work. Prolifics used IBM® Cognos® TM1® to build a new solution that put unprecedented analytics power at the university’s fingertips. Now Portland State is able to make data-driven decisions and present the right data to the right people to help enhance student performance.


How can I streamline budgeting, control costs and increase student retention?

Alison Nimura, Business Intelligence Manager, Portland State University:

Portland State University was facing several challenges. We had a legacy data warehouse and reporting tool that left people feeling like it wasn’t providing enough insight into the data. Our budget office was having trouble co-ordinating the budgeting and planning process. They were sending around spreadsheets, Excel spreadsheets, to the different units and then having to reconcile all the information that was coming back to them. And it was tedious and time-consuming, and there was no source control.

When we first started our analytics-type initiatives with IBM® Cognos® BI® and IBM® Cognos® TM1®, we were really used to working without a lot of data fueling our decisions. We’re able to provide dashboards that show how students are performing, and help advisors respond to their needs. We’re also able to better plan financially so that better money management is always important when keeping tuition costs low.

We worked closely with Prolifics, which was at that time Stream, to develop our IBM® Cognos® TM1® solution. We had a great experience with them. They really helped us assess what our needs are and helped guide us through the process of designing our tool. We couldn’t have done it with all that support.

You can really see the culture change now that we have these solutions in place. People are asking for more data and asking more intelligent questions that require some advanced analytics of the data that we have. And now we’re being asked to combine all our data sources into one large warehouse so that we can draw conclusions that we wouldn’t have been able to draw before.


  • Helped PSU structure and automate the university-wide budgeting process
  • Automated integration of Ellucian banner data
  • Extended the solution to include enrollment and tuition revenue planning

“Stream Integration (now Prolifics) was able to take a budgeting system which was inadequately designed and turned it into a fully functional system which is user friendly, much easier to maintain, and incorporates ‘best practices.’”

-Robert Naranjo, Business System Analyst/Programmer, Portland State University