Newcastle University Achieve First-Class Data Management

We have gained more than a new system for solely managing our institutional data, this has opened up a host of new opportunities for the university as we can continuously utilise the open source community in order to rectify issues such as bugs and make strategic improvements to our system. Effectively, this helps us a leading institution to stay at the forefront of education, providing our students and staff with the best resources.
Richard James, Systems Architect, Newcastle University

Overview

Newcastle University is one of the UK’s leading institutions of higher education, working to be a world-class research-intensive University. Playing a leading role in the economic, social and cultural development of the North East of England, Newcastle University needed a data management tool for streamlining its data efficiently and to provide real-time access to institutional information to its students and staff members.

Challenge

Providing higher education to 17,000 students, Newcastle University handles a host of institutional data, which acts as a resource of information for both student and employee research.

It had come to the university’s attention that a more efficient data management tool was needed in order to cope with the demands for institutional data and the timeframe in which data is required. Adding to this, Newcastle University won funding to carry out a new national exemplar trial project for JISC - a governing body that supports committees and assists with determining policy and delivering JISC’s programme of work through innovative programmes and JISC-funded services – which required seamless data integration and migration, removing the possibility of data inaccuracies.

The major challenge for Newcastle University was being able to input data relating to its staff members, students, the library and the university as a whole whilst ensuring data consistency across the board. It had become apparent that this was an impossible job for the university to carry out alone and a decision was made to seek a cost effective, yet reliable and scalable tool.

The Solution

Newcastle University began its search for a data management product, looking at a number of different solutions until they came across Talend Data Integration, an open source data integration solution, which can securely streamline processes necessary for managing huge volumes of data efficiently.

Richard James, middleware team manager at Newcastle University commented: “Talend Data Integration met our requirements on scalability, being able to fulfil real-time capabilities to ensure data is kept up-to-date and accurate; as well as providing large volume handling capabilities."

“After ticking all the boxes, we decided to trial Talend Data Integration as it is compatible with all our legacy systems. As being open source, costs can be kept extremely low, which is essential for the university but also, in terms of time, the product can be fully implemented within days or weeks rather than months, which is often the case with proprietary software.”

As a subscription, Talend Data Integration extends Talend Open Studio for Data Integration with professional-grade technical support and additional enterprise-class features. It is designed to support multi-user development, and to scale to the highest levels of data volumes and process complexity.

Benefits

Richard explained: “To date, we have managed to run over 60 data flows and 30 projects which have all been fed through Talend Data Integration."

Prior to implementing the tool, this would have simply not been possible due to the sheer scale of the tasks being processed. Further still, Newcastle University is an institution that is growing year on year and with expansion, comes the challenge of ensuring that all processes and systems are streamlined successfully. With Talend Data Integration, this is now achievable.

“Data quality has been an evident benefit and we are now confident that all of our data is accurate and consistent due to the product’s scheduling capability, meaning that jobs can be run automatically at any time. Not only does this mean that we now have a round the clock system processing data instantly, we have also eliminated the chance of human error and can allow staff members to focus on their core teaching.”

“We have gained more than a new system for solely managing our institutional data, this has opened up a host of new opportunities for the university as we can continuously utilise the open source community in order to rectify issues such as bugs and make strategic improvements to our system. Effectively, this helps us a leading institution to stay at the forefront of education, providing our students and staff with the best resources,” Richard concluded.