What reporting and statistical options are available in Alma?
Alma Analytics is used for the generation of a variety of reports, as well as for generating statistics from various library activities. Analytics is built into Alma throughout the system and is very flexible. Alma comes with a wide range of preconfigured reports and dashboards, all of which are customizable. In addition, designated staff may create reports of interest to other roles within the library and provide dashboards for staff, enabling them to access the defined reports. Alma communicates with external systems such as PeopleSoft, Banner, and more, allowing staff to run reports on up to date data across the institution.
Alma’s analytics function provides a Business Intelligence solution centrally installed on Alma servers in the cloud. The solution serves all Alma customers, but the data of each institution is separated from other institutions, based on the Alma SaaS model. Alma Analytics is designed to work over the Web and in the cloud so libraries can run out-of-the-box reports as well as create and run ad-hoc reports without the need for third-party reporting tools. Consortium members also have the ability to run reports on the level of the network.
Alma Analytics provides a full suite of capabilities for creating and exposing reports, and presenting dashboards of summary data using this tool:
- From screens within Alma;
- From dashboards specifically tailored to a particular staff role;
- As widgets that are accessible from lobby areas within Alma; and
- As pushed reports, sent to the interested staff as emails.
All reports can be exported in CSV, Excel or PDF.
In addition to the out of the box reports, Alma Analytics includes embedded reports as shown below:
Alma analytics includes data from different business areas (such as funds expenditure, loans, acquisitions, bibliographic data and more) and was built in mind both for operational day to day reports such as outstanding orders by supplier\fund\material type or a fund transaction report as well as for more analytical, decision support reports, such as most frequently used and least frequently used journals.
Alma roles determine which users can create reports (report designers) and which users can only view reports (report consumers).
Alma provides for the automated dissemination of reports. For example, library staff can schedule a report to run periodically; authorized staff may then subscribe to the report and receive the output in an email sent automatically based on the report schedule (e.g. daily, weekly, monthly). In this way, a staff member can get to his/her email report at fixed intervals without the need to log into Alma.
How often is data exported from Alma to Alma Analytics?
A snapshot of data is taken from Alma every 24 hours. The ETL process then takes place. An example of the daily status: “Data updated as of: 12/06/16 02:00. Data available as of: 12/06/16 06:05”
How does Alma support reporting on activity in the library?
Alma includes advanced data analytics, Alma Analytics, based on a worldwide leading Business Intelligence platform: Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE). Alma Analytics is fully integrated into Alma and transparent to the end user.
The data warehouse is organized into subject areas which are designed as a star schema and which classifies the attributes of an event into facts (measures) and descriptive dimensions.
The benefits of a star schema are:
- Simpler queries - star schema joined logic is generally simpler
- Simplified business reporting logic
- Query performance gains - star schemas can provide performance enhancements for read-only reporting applications
- Fast aggregations - the simpler queries against a star schema can result in improved performance for aggregation operations
Reports which cross subject areas are possible through dimensions, which are shared by multiple subject areas. For example, Classification is a joint dimension of Expenditure and Circulation subject areas so it is possible to create reports that match expenditure and usage of a specific location.
All reports are exportable in PDF and HTML format. In addition, each component within a report (chart, table etc.) can be exported in a variety of formats including Excel, XML, CSV. In addition, reports can be scheduled to be sent as email outputs to authorized staff on a regular basis.
What options are there for combining data elements for reporting?
Data elements and subject areas in Alma Analytics can be combined.
There is however a minor limitation, and that is a relational database restriction:
It is not possible to combine different subject areas if there is not a common dimension with measures.
However, to overcome this, Alma Analytics has added dimensions from many subject areas to other subject areas.
For example fund information from the "Funds Expenditures" subject area has been added to the "Physical Items" subject area.
Similarly, "Course Reserves" information has been added to the "Fulfillment" subject area.
Can SQL be used in creating reports?
All queries in Alma analytics can be converted to SQL and retrieved via SQL. For example:
In the first screenshot items created on or after June 21 2015 will be retrieved.
In the second screenshot items created a year or more ago will be retrieved.
This is an automatic SQL filter whereby it will always be "one year ago" regardless of when the report is run.
Can Alma produce reports on all data held?
Analytics is built into Alma throughout the system. The following illustrates the “subject areas” available for reporting :
Can patron information be anonymized in analytic reports?
Fields that contain identifying information of users can be anonymized when creating Alma Analytics reports. Anonymizing this data allows the library to generate reports for statistics and trends without violating privacy concerns or local privacy-related laws.
If the parameter analytics_anonymize_user_details is set to true then when you create a report, fields that usually contain identifying information for users are left blank.
What documentation related to report creation is available?
Ex Libris provides training and detailed documentation and examples to help users create custom reports. Besides using and customizing the many out of the box reports, staff can also create new reports to provide the institution with information on library activities. The simplest way to create a report is based on one subject area. There are cases in which you need to combine data from more than two subject areas, which is a more complex process that requires understanding of the data dependencies. Detailed instructions are provided in the documentation.
Field descriptions for the various subject areas in Analytics are available in the documentation, which is now openly available on the Ex Libris Knowledge Center
Ex Libris also offers additional Expert Services for libraries that are already in production. During an Expert Service engagement, a product expert may analyze opportunities for workflow efficiencies, set up new services, or build custom reports. These and other services can be adapted as the library’s unique requirements develop.
Does Alma provide real time data reporting?
Reporting that is run from within the Alma interface, as opposed to using the Alma Analytics functionality is real time. Alma Analytics is based on a data warehouse created from the online transaction databases and does not run any queries directly on the operational system. This means that there is no interference with the operations of the system.
Data is refreshed on a daily basis from the operational data into Alma Analytics.
Can Alma analyze trends in historical data?
Historical data can be analyzed in all areas such as electronic usage, physical usage (loans etc.) and expenditures as well as "cost per use".
Below are three screenshots showing:
- Overall electronic usage for the past two years by month.
- Electronic usage for which there has been an increase in usage in the past two years.
- Electronic usage for which there has been a decrease in usage in the past two years.
Can reports on cataloging activity be generated?
Alma contains an out of the box report called ‘Cataloger Activity’ which includes a table and graph of cataloger activity showing staff users and how many records they created, updated and deleted (top ten). The year filter is prompted.
Is an analytics API supported?
The Analytics API returns an Alma report (in XML format only). This blog
provides additional information on how to determine your reports' paths and how to apply pagination or filters.
Since Alma Analytics reports can be very large, Alma supports retrieving it in several parts: The first retrieval will return a Resumption Token as part of the OBI report. This token should be used as a parameter instead of the path parameter for the next retrievals in order to get the next rows. See here for more details. https://developers.exlibrisgroup.com...apis/analytics