Contact Us  ·  Search  ·  Sitemap  ·  Home    
Division of Financial and Business Services

Business Intelligence and Analytics

Business Intelligence (BI) is the practice of leveraging applications—using resources to maximum advantage—to make sense of raw data. BI can improve business practices by cutting costs (through the elimination of inefficiencies and redundancies) and by identifying new business opportunities.

Business Intelligence Activities Include:

  • Data Mining — Data mining is used to discover new patterns in large data sets.
  • Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) — Typical applications for OLAP include financial reporting, management reporting, budgeting, etc.  
  • Reporting — In coordination with a data warehouse, business reports can join data from multiple sources into one report, such as combining data from financials with contracts and grants data.
  • Querying — Querying is the process of retrieving information from a database.
  • Business Process Management (BPM) — BPM focuses on aligning all aspects of an organization with its clients' wants and needs, all the while striving for innovation, flexibility, and integration with technology.

Additionally, starting in February 2016, account encumbrances for payroll expenditures are calculated in the BI system, using payroll data drawn from the Workday system. Authorized users can run BI-Payroll reports presenting labor distribution and labor encumbrance data. For more information, please see the Business Intelligence - Payroll Reporting page on this website.


USC's BI tool, Cognos, provides reporting and querying capabilities in coordination with the Kuali Financial System and other data bases. Cognos gives users the capability to begin at the University overview/summary level, drill down to the transaction level, and then return to a "bird’s eye view." USC's BI system is designed to:

  • Create university-wide access to a trusted source for data and information.
  • Empower users with easy-to-use reporting and ad hoc analysis tools that allow patterns and trends to be discovered.
  • Drive the competitive edge of the university with the ability to respond to changing conditions with precision and agility.

BI-Cognos ASRs:

Authorized users can run Account Status Reports (ASRs) with BI-Cognos. Visit Cognos ASRs for information and resources.


BI-Cognos vs. Kuali Financial System (KFS) Inquiries

Some Kuali Financial System reports can be created with KFS Inquiries. As a rule of thumb, users can access real time financial data through KFS Inquiries, but can mine a vast warehouse of historical data (24 hours old or older) with Cognos. The table below notes the types of information available through each system.


KFS Inquiries

 Cognos Reporting Overview

  • Key Cognos report types include Account Summary Report (ASR), ASR for Download, and Analysis R
  • Modern user interface (UI) with the ability to search by partial or full account number and/or by name
  • Reports can be saved as Excel worksheets or as PDF or CSV files
  • General Ledger data security governed by account level security (ALS)
  • Ad hoc reporting package to create custom reports available to advanced users
  • Can schedule report delivery
  • Users can create:
  • Financial Reports developed from the legacy WebBA system
  • CSV Reports, data downloads developed from the legacy FDL system
  • LookUp Reports, inquiries for account and object code information

 Account Summary Report (ASR):

  • Cognos ASR features interactive drilling through links from summary view to transaction details
  • Fiscal year and fiscal period parameters can be changed on-the-fly without exiting the report

 ASR for Download:

  • This report enables users to download all four parts of the ASR at once

 Analysis R:

  • Based off the legacy WebBA Analysis R report
  • A version allowing selection over multiple fiscal years and periods is in design and development

KFS Cognos Reports Access Guide

 KFS Inquiries Overview

  • Inquiry types include Available Balances, Available Balances by BCG, General Ledger Balance, and General Ledger Entry
  • Drill-down links from summary totals to the supporting details
  • Links to KFS eDocs where appropriate
  • Optional output to Excel spreadsheet and PDF on all inquiries
  • Requires a specific role to use inquiries
  • Search options on some key fields
  • Option to include pending items from KFS, not just posted transactions

 Available Balances:

  • Sorts rows by Object Code
  • Has all the totals required to get to the available balance of the specified account:
  • Budget
  • Total actuals (debits and credits)
  • Encumbrance amounts

 Available Balances by BCG (Budget Control Group):

  • Same as the Available Balances inquiry, but it sorts the object codes in budget control group order and subtotals by budget control group

 General Ledger Balance:

  • Displays only one balance type at a time, but includes all months in the fiscal year and the totals
 General Ledger Entry:
  • Displays only one fiscal year period at a time and/or one balance type at a time
  KFS Inquiries and Lookups User Guide