Data Integration Considerations

Slate can operate as the central repository for data generated in various systems across campus.  Integration with campus systems (such as SIS, LMS, and Financial Aid System) is a critical step to import the data points into Slate, and set the frequency of uploads (such as weekly, nightly, and twice a day).  Structuring a sustainable data integration ensures that the most up-to-date information is available to your users when they need it. 

Data points that may not change often, such as Class Standing or Expected Year of Graduation, may be better suited for a data exchange that happens less frequently.  Conversely, data points such as updates to class registration during the drop/add period should be included in exchanges with similar frequency (for example, overnight).

A majority of institutions will use SFTP processes to transfer files, however, RESTful Web Services are also available.  Prior to set up, this may be a good time to have a strategic conversation with a member from the IT staff in order to best align this process.

Ultimately, the goal is to design a process that is reliable, stable, supportable, and sustainable for your institution.

  • Reliable - The integration can be more reliable when it lives within the Slate infrastructure, and is exported to our SFTP servers.
  • Stable - The integration should run without constant human intervention - in other words, you should be able to “set it and forget it.” It should not need to change with any frequency and code and value translations should not live within the query itself.
  • Supportable - The integration should minimize the use of custom SQL wherever possible.
  • Sustainable - The integration should host the value translation inside Slate, but outside of the query, enabling the people closest to the process (for example, student success staff) to manage the periodic changes that may be necessary because of new data objects.

Tip

For information specific to your SIS or external system, peer institutions may be your best source of information. We recommend reaching out through the Slate Community Forum.

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