Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

ERP Selection and Implementation

What is an ERP?

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is the term for a system that manages the internal and external resources of an organization utilizing a single software system and a single database. In higher education institutions, standard ERP applications include student and academic information, financial aid, human resources, financial management, admission, and institutional advancement.

What led us to ask vendors to propose a new ERP system for F&M?

Over the past few years technology investments have improved our infrastructure and service capabilities, but administrative database integration has not.  With that in mind, this past winter the College completed a comprehensive assessment of its systems with consulting partner Grant Thornton and concluded the following:

  • Departments duplicate work, create shadow local systems and work hard to manually provide analysis that should be integrated and more easily created (producing agile answers is very difficult)
  • Simply placing a new set of reporting "dashboard" tools over top of the existing system is not a prudent undertaking
  • The assessment verified and refined our assumptions and provided an excellent foundation for a request for proposal (RFP) for a new system

After Senior Management and IT Governance Committees endorsed the findings of the assessment, replacing the existing ERP system became an Institutional Priority Project in late Spring 2011.  RFPs were issued to vendors in June 2011.  On-campus interview / demonstrations are scheduled in early September 2011, with a final selection anticipated in late September early October 2011.  Selection criteria include, but are not limited to: culture of the campus, culture of the vendor, product match, technology basis of the product and total cost of ownership.

The College selected SunGard HE as its ERP vendor in October and Strata Information Group (SIG) as its consulting ERP Implementation partner in December 2011.

The most current information about the ERP Implementation work, named Project BOOST, can be found on the Project BOOST web page