Next phase of Banner software begins

Alexandra Nicolas

Active information technology will bring Missouri Southern into the 21st century January 1.

The implementation of the SunGard-Higher Education Banner software began in July 2006 with the integration of finance modules and is following a two-year integration schedule. The software will replace the out-dated mainframe system along with many administrative systems. When the integration is complete, processes including registration and application will be handled through Banner.

The next phase of the project will integrate human resources and payroll modules on January 1, after weeks of testing the software to work out all possible glitches. Banner software is currently working in a testing phase to ensure when the system is incorporated it will run smoothly.

“The plan is that everything that could be thought of will be thought of in testing,” said Debbie Dutch Kelley, director of human resources.

The most visible change will be minor alterations in the appearance of paychecks. However, Banner will change much more than that.

Currently, Southern runs on a variety of independent systems. Banner will integrate all systems into one Internet-based center of information for use by students, teachers, administrators and families.

“The industry of computer technology is changing,” Kelley said. “It’s like 8-tracks, they were replaced . . .it’s a natural evolution of sophistication in computer technology.”

The goal of the Banner software is to bring multiple systems together to form a universal and integrated database, unlike the current mainframe.

This two-year project will take the cooperation of the administration, faculty and staff, and students along with massive support on the technological end.

“It is incredible to see the high level of commitment to the successful implementation of our new administrative software system on the part of the staff and faculty members,” said Dr. Terri Agee, vice president for business affairs.

Banner will also allow Southern to move away from the use of social security numbers for student identification. Students will be given an ID number starting with an S as their primary form of identification.

Though it will take two years for the Banner software to be functioning in its entirety, the eventual goal is to have a complete center of sophisticated information that will be easy to access and use and eliminate the technological middleman in many systems.

“It’s a very complex project,” Kelley said.

Training in the use of Banner software is being offered to those needing an in-depth knowledge of the software.

More information on the Banner software and SunGard-HE can be found through the Lionet icon on the Southern Web site. With one and one-half years left on the integration of the Banner project students can look forward to changes in the way the University works with information. However, Agee said these changes will go forward only with the work of countless individuals.

“We have many dedicated employees who are working extremely hard to keep this project propelling forward,” Agee said, “They deserve to be commended for their Herculean efforts on this project.”