The welcome return of SANDI


SANDI may sound like a day at the beach, but this MIT acronym stands for a year-round tool: Staff Appointments and Distributions. SANDI includes HR appointment, salary distribution, and payroll data for exempt employees, fellows, and graduate students. Authorized users can view this data for their department, lab or center (DLC) in end-of-month snapshots for a given fiscal year.

SANDI had been available to MIT administrators in a previous payroll system, but was discontinued with Payroll’s migration into SAP in 2006. Many financial administrators were sorry to see it go; they found the monthly snapshot very useful.

Based on repeated requests for SANDI’s return, Glen Shor, Vice President for Finance, gave the go-ahead last year to create a new version of SANDI in the Data Warehouse.

The project to recreate SANDI launched in September 2015 and a pilot began in February 2016. The pilot includes 16 staff from each of the schools and from labs across campus. The first phase of the pilot focused on getting the correct calculations for the end-of-month snapshots and creating a view of this in the Data Warehouse. The new incarnation of SANDI, with this view, is expected to be available to authorized administrators on November 28.

The next phase of the pilot will address Transfers In and Retro views. Transfers In refers to academic staff who work primarily for one DLC but have a paid assignment with another DLC. In the future, SANDI will be able to account for the salaries from both DLCs. Retro views will enable administrators to see the movement of money if a staff member was paid too much, too little or from the wrong cost object.

The SANDI Setup

The SANDI Data Warehouse report has been built using Tableau, interactive data visualization and business intelligence software. However, since the SANDI reports display on a web page, administrators don’t need a copy of Tableau on their computer. They can just login into

Four search criteria are available as drop-down lists in the report: Select Month, Select Department, Select Personnel Subareas, and Name Search. To generate the report, users must choose options from the Select Month and Select Department drop-down lists. Selections in just those lists will generate a full report.

To narrow results for a specific need, users may choose additional search options from the Select Personnel Subareas or Name Search drop-down lists.

It’s worth noting that changes made to prior periods will only be reflected on future SANDI reports and won’t change the data in the snapshots. In addition, SANDI only creates reports; it was not developed as a forecasting or projection tool.


To learn more, see the article about SANDI in the Knowledge Base (KB). If you have technical questions about accessing the Tableau server, send mail to; questions about content in the snapshots can be sent to