Archive for the 'Enterprise Applications' Category

The Event Management System (a.k.a. – EMS)

For most of us, acronyms get tossed around and the meaning is lost in translation. From LDAP to IFAP, CRN to VPN, FTIAC to FISAP, we are bombarded in almost every water cooler conversation or meeting amongst colleagues. Rather than introduce one of the most powerful software suites that will affect us all by acronym, I will instead introduce you to a best friend you never knew you had, the Event Management System (yes Tammy, another EMSJ ).

The Event Management System was designed specifically for universities to handle all aspects of their academic scheduling needs. However, in doing so, they unleashed a powerful product robust enough to attract each and every department to take advantage of this “diamond in the rough”.

We’ve all heard “there’s an app for that” before, right? The iPhone slogan is now universally equivalent to your soon-to-be favorite acronym, EMS. An entire semester of academic course offerings available for viewing from work, home or cell phone, you ask? Yeah, there’s an app for that! So now that I have your attention, take a peek at the 201020 Lettinga class schedule on the 3rd floor view!

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Now, what if I told you that you could have access to all available meeting space University-wide? Using the Virtual EMS application, you can easily find the room needed for next Tuesday’s meeting. Not only are you able to request your room, but also lunch and dessert for 15 people. Most likely, the detailed invoice for lunch will land in your email before you get done praising the capabilities of EMS.

We have just scratched the surface with EMS and what it can do. In the coming few months, I hope to assist each department with all of their wants and needs. We can easily integrate calendars for meeting and testing spaces available at your location or create department specific calendars of any size and quantity. This helps explain why there are nearly 1,000 universities across the country already enjoying the benefits. The Main campus will be moving to “go-live” over the next two months and will be fully operational on EMS beginning in May. There will be more great information and rollout schedules provided in the near future for each location – so stay tuned!

Avoid the pitfall of bad data.

In organizations where there are gigabytes or terabytes of data collected through the course of business, there exists a risk that, over time, some of the data can be bad, thus losing their business values.  This happens when the data cannot be consistently understood or interpreted to correctly represent the real world life.

Bad or unclean data creates confusion to the data users, making businesses lose insight on their performances. It also drives bad decision-making, causing damages or loss of profit to the business, and in the really bad scenarios, to customers.

(Read about GIGO: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garbage_In,_Garbage_Out)

The two keys reasons for bad data in an enterprise are loopholes within application/system design and incorrect usage by the end users.

In respect to Banner ERP, SunGard designed this system with SOME integrity in it. This ensures, to some extent, the business processes are adhered to, based on the normal work flow in most higher learning institutions. E.g. a student cannot register for a course before the registrar’s office creates it, or a classroom can’t be assigned twice for the same time slot in the same building. In the meantime, SunGard also left some flexibilities open for institutions to exercise their own policies and procedures. This leaves room for the second cause of bad data – incorrect usage.  Since there is not much Davenport staff (including IT) can do about the fundamental design of Banner, or any other purchased software the University is currently using, correct usage of these vendor products becomes the key factor for data integrity.

The following are some data quality suggestions that functional departments can implement

  1. Determine consistent and standardized data values within departments. This is the most important but also at-times ignored factor
  2. Validate data against the values developed from step 1 before entering into the system
  3. Enter/change data based on the result of step 2
  4. Developing training and knowledge transfer documentation to assist end-users with data validation/entry process
  5. When impact of data crosses to other departments, work with other departments and/or ITS to bridge departmental gap to ensure institution wide data quality
  6. Don’t try work-around to circumvent the established process/standards. If needed, re-evaluate the process and make process changes with consistency and integrity. When in doubt, seek advices from SunGard and/or ITS.

Kane Zhang

End of a Era

A final AS400 project has begun. The goal of this project is to remove all active applications from the AS400 by the end of the 3rd quarter and to power down the system by the end of the year.

There are several tasks to be completed before we can power down the system.

  1. The adjunct pay application is being re-written 
  2. The depreciation application will convert to a new system in the next couple of months
  3. Functional departments have been asked to define and prioritize their legacy data needs going forward and meetings have been held to accomplish this step
               Examples of data needs requested:
               a .   Student Ledger card lookup
               b.   Student Class history lookup
               c.   Vendor History lookup
  4. Programmers will review the list of legacy data needs and provide specifications for the data warehouse reports to be developed
  5. All data files will be moved from the AS400 to the data warehouse
  6. The Data Warehouse and Banner Reporting team will write data reports based upon the priorities set up by the functional teams
  7. Access to the new data warehouse reports will be granted to the appropriate users
  8. The AS400 will be powered down and removed from the data center.

The completion of this project will free up valuable floor space in our data center and free up programming staff to work on the Banner 8 upgrade and other projects.

The Banner 8 upgrade has begun

The Banner 8 upgrade project has begun and this is a high level summary of the plan. This project can be broken down in 3 phases.

Phase 1 – Hardware purchase
The hardware requirements have been determined and server, rack and SAN orders submitted. Over the summer various members of the IT staff will be working to ensure that the new hardware is delivered, installed and configured so that our system administrators and DBA can begin creating a Banner 7 environment on the new hardware.

Phase 2 – Hardware validation
Once Banner 7 has been created on the new hardware, we will be asking the functional departments to test their critical functions on the new hardware. Our ERP project manager will be working with the functional areas to create testing plans so that we can complete this testing phase quickly and accurately.

Phase 3 – Banner 8 upgrade
The Banner 8 upgrade will include upgrading all of the Banner components (General, Student, Finance, etc.) and add-on products like the ODS, Degree Works, and AppWorx. Again functional departments will be testing and training on new and existing features. Again our ERP project manager will work closely with the functional groups to thoroughly test functionality before we move Banner 8 into production.

Moving Banner 8 into production will require 3 to 4 days to complete the database conversion and software upgrades. Three different potential go-live outages have been approved and the selection of the actual go-live date will be determined as we progress through the project.

1. Friday, May 28th at 3:00 PM through Monday, May 31st. User validation will occur on Monday.

2. Saturday, June 5th beginning at 12:00 AM through Tuesday, June 8th. User validation will occur on Tuesday.

3. Saturday, 3rd at 12:00 AM through Tuesday, July 6th. User validation will occur on Tuesday.

Please check back for further updates on the Banner 8 upgrade.