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Banner installation begins

By : Katie Ellis

The University last week officially launched the SunGard Higher Education Banner project at a meeting attended by more than 60 people from across campus. Currently in use by more than 40 SUNY institutions, Banner will integrate a number of student-related processes on campus, including applications, financial aid, course registration, grades and billing. Installation of portions of the system began this week, with full integration expected in time for fall 2008 registration.

Likening the launch to keeping up with changes in aviation equipment over the years, President Lois B. DeFleur told meeting participants that change can be hard, but worth the effort. “This system will provide us with new tools to stay competitive and serve our students well,” she said.

With two false starts for student systems behind us, all of the prior work will pay off, added Provost Mary Ann Swain, who, with Vice President for Administration James Van Voorst, is sponsoring the project. “Our work from the two scrubbed missions was not lost and will enable us to move ahead on the timeline,” she said. “We’re going to fly very fast. We’re on a fast track and we want to get this up and running with all of its capabilities to see what it does for us.”

Project Manager Jennifer Schorr, special assistant to the provost, emphasized that this is not a beta test for Banner. “We are way beyond that and are definitely going forward,” she said. “In two years, we’ll be at a very different place.”

The project is expected to improve efficiency and productivity, reduce paperwork and replace manual functions with automated ones, said SunGard’s project manager, Allan Curtis, who, along with Swain, asked the campus to provide input. “Everyone is now part of the project planning team,” he said. “We’re heavily into the planning phase and the key theme is communication.”

“Let me be clear,” Swain said, “the three vice presidents (Swain, Van Voorst and Vice President for Student Affairs Rodger Summers) and the steering committee want your input. Say as clearly and crisply as you can what will and will not work. The system has flexibility, but we will drive these decisions quickly.”

Project application areas include implementation of workflow to automate processes, enhanced self-service for students and faculty, streamlined reporting for and by functional offices, ease of generating reports, system stability and single sign-on. In addition, the system will automate financial aid packaging and document tracking, maintain the integrity of academic records, provide the ability to extract clear and consistent data for reporting and provide data integrity and the ability to push information out to appropriate personnel through a portal.

All of these applications will help the University meet its objectives, Curtis said. “You’ll be joining with other SUNY schools for their knowledge and experience and establishing a new cornerstone for the use of technology on this campus,” he said.

The project will also have support from the Student Information and Campus Administrative Systems Center (SICAS) in Oneonta, which develops common software and services for campuses using Banner software in New York state. The SICAS Center will serve as the primary go-between with the University and SunGard after implementation is complete, providing advice and training on the software.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08