Business Intelligence Consolidation


The Arizona State University Smart City Cloud Innovation Center Powered by AWS (ASU CIC) recently collaborated with the University Technology Office (UTO) to apply Amazon’s Working Backwards Innovation process to help improve data sharing across the University. ASU is a major university with over 100,000 students,

The ASU UTO works closely with all departments at the University to support the IT and research needs of faculty, staff, students and partners. UTO serves as both an enabler and catalyst for advancing the vision and work of the New American University.


Today the different departments of ASU have to identify data sets and share in a one-off, ad-hoc fashion. Sharing is dependent on negotiating use of data sets on a case by case basis. All of this adds time, complexity and requires the use of third party sites to transfer the data. This can be frustrating and even prevent projects from including certain data if it is complicated to obtain. Data sharing is even more complicated when it involves outside parties.  

The University decided to explore the problem of data sharing and identify potential solutions that will make it faster, easier with standardized processes for collaborating both on campus and off. 


ASU assembled key data users at the ASU CIC for a working backwards workshop. 

Supporting Artifacts

The Amazon Working Backwards process produces three artifacts - a Press Release, a list of Frequently Asked Questions and a Visual depiction of the user experience. You can find the Data Lake artifacts here:

PDF icon Data Lake Visual Data Lake Visual
File Data Lake FAQ Data Lake FAQ
PDF icon data_lake_pr.pdf Press Release

Next Steps

The Data Lake Challenge was a ‘test challenge’ when the CIC first opened to demonstrate the process to the ASU community and provide an opportunity for CIC staff to use the Working Backwards process. No prototype will be developed on the Data Lake at this time.

About the ASU CIC

The ASU Smart Cities Cloud Innovation Center (CIC) is a strategic relationship with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and is supported by AWS on ASU’s Innovation campus - SkySong. The mission of the CIC is to drive Innovation Challenges that materially benefit the greater Phoenix metro area and beyond by solving pressing community and regional challenges using shareable and repeatable technology solutions from ideation through prototype as a service for the greater human good.

The CIC also provides real-world problem-solving experiences to students by immersing them in the application of proven innovation methods in combination with the latest technologies to solve important challenges in the public sector.

The challenges being addressed cover a wide variety of topics including homelessness, evidence-based policing, digital literacy, virtual cybersecurity laboratories and many others. The CIC leverages the deep subject matter expertise of government, education and non-profit organizations to clearly understand the customers affected by public sector challenges and develops solutions that meet the customer needs.

For more information on the ASU CIC, to read about projects or to submit a challenge, please visit