Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Where we're going next with Banner

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Back in November, I wrote a brief article to address the question, "Why Banner?" You may now be interested in what's next for Banner.

We have officially kicked off phase II of Project BOOST.  This second phase focuses on projects that 

  1. Improve the user experience with self-service tools
  2. Enhance information delivery
  3. Remove our remaining dependency on the legacy system
  4. Electronically file documents
  5. Streamline back office processes

Improving the user experience with self-service tools

In concert with our web site redesign project, we'll be launching into a redesign of Inside F&M.  We'll be looking at moving Inside F&M to the same platform as our public web site to reduce support effort and improve both appearance and functionality.  We'll also be reorganizing the content and links to tools to present them in a way that makes more sense to the user.  Finally, we'll be looking at a number of user experience issues related to the integration of Inside F&M with Cognos reporting, Banner Self Services, and other self-service systems.

Enhancing Information Delivery

Five of the projects in Phase II are directly related to improving the information we have available via our reporting system and extending the capabilities of our reporting infrastructure.  There will be an upgrade of Operational Data Store (ODS) that will make DegreeWorks data available through Cognos.  There will be an implementation of Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) that will make "slice and dice" report functionality possible. There will be an initiative to integrate data from about 6 non-Banner systems into the reporting system, including historical data from POISE.  There will be an initiative to enhance existing reports, partially by incorporating that newly integrated data.  Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there will be the implementation of Ellucian's Student Retention Performance (SRP) package.  SRP provides advanced data and analytics about student progress, engagement, and retention to the institutional research office and likely to academic departments.

Removing our remaining dependency on the legacy system

Two major obstacles to turning off POISE remain, and we'll address them both in Phase II.  The first is paper distribution - replacing the functionality that lets departments order paper from a centrally purchased supply.  The second is moving historical data from POISE into our new reporting system.

Electronically filing documents

We will be implementing and rolling out on an initially limited basis the Banner Document Management system (BDM).  This is a tool that allows offices to scan and index paper documents and index born-digital documents in a way that makes them secure, safe, and easily retrievable.  It will link into the Banner administrative system so office personnel can retrieve documents as they're working in the system.  It will also nearly eliminate the risk of unintentional document loss through fire, decay, or theft.  We hope, too, that it will result in decreases in paper consumption on campus.

Streamlining back office processes

Where Phase I rebuilt the foundation of our enterprise information systems, Phase II delivers more streamlined processes based on that foundation.  In HR we'll be looking at electronic personnel action forms (EPAFs), electronic enrollment of new employees into our benefits programs, a vastly improved applicant tracking system, and an electronic performance evaluation system (all currently largely paper-based processes).  In Finance we'll be looking at making electronic payments to vendors, automating accounting for fixed assets, allowing students to electronically request refunds of excess financial aid, and improving our endowment management tools.

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