University signs contract to upgrade old software

Dr. Terri Agee - Vice President for Business Affairs

Dr. Terri Agee – Vice President for Business Affairs

On Sept. 23, the Board of Governors approved a $3.4 million contract with SunGuard SCT Banner.

Soon after, the contract was signed.

Dr. Terri Agee, vice president for business affairs, said for two days each, two vendors who had submitted proposals dealing with the administrative software systems came to Missouri Southern.

“During those two days, they presented information on their company [and] on their products,” Agee said. “We had scripted scenarios of questions and how do you do this and how do you do that, that we asked of both vendors.”

Steve Earney, assistant vice president for information services, said campus-wide e-mails were sent inviting people to the presentations.

“A lot of people did come,” Earney said.

Agee said they demonstrated their products to group of deans, staff and faculty.

“From that, each person who attended the sessions was asked to evaluate each product,” she said. “We kind of culminated all of those in selecting what people liked, what they preferred and what worked best.”

Agee said the University spent several months researching and evaluating the software systems. She said Southern developed a detailed request for proposal to put on the market.

With SunGuard SCT, the system links the departments and individuals into a community.

“It gets everybody to share information, and it creates a single, unified environment,” Agee said. “It gives students accessibility to information that they can use and makes their surfing and information gathering so much easier.”

“It ‘s based on an oracle database, which is the most powerful database there is,” Earney said.

Earney said there will be a portal more sophisticated than Lion Link.

“It will be for everyone,” he said.

Everything on the portal will be self-service such as making changes to addresses or phone numbers. Earney said the software is going to be comprehensive.

“Everything that we currently do on the mainframe and more will be on this,” he said.

He said Southern has been in the market to replace the mainframe, which is 25 years old.

“It’s really old technology and not easy to maintain,” Earney said. “There is not new software available for it.”

This software includes admissions, financial aid, registrar’s, student support services, assessment, student accounts receivable, lifelong learning, foundation office, alumni office and financial aid and accounting areas. Agee said it also applies to human resources, payroll, accounts payable, financial reporting and budget and planning.

“It has a content management system that the public information office, and all of our departments can use in development our University Web site,” Agee said. “It really touches on all areas of the University.”

Earney said with the new system, it will not be social security-based.

“It will be the MOSO user I.D.,” he said.

Earney said SunGuard SCT will send updates each year for the software.

“We’ll install it so that we can stay current,” he said.

The committee of 30 to 40 people selected SunGuard SCT because of its low cost.

“They also scored higher in the faculty and staff evaluation after they demonstrated their product,” Agee said.

She and Earney said SunGuard SCT has been implemented in other Missouri institutions.

“We are going to have a vast network of resources to tap into,” Agee said.

Agee and Earney said it will take 24 months to implement the system. Earney said this will start Nov. 1.

Agee said she is excited about it.

“We have been wanting this for a very long time,” she said. “It’s going to make us more efficient and more effective at what we do. It’s going to improve every aspect of our processes for students and faculty and staff.”

“We just need to do it,” Earney said. “This will be a quantum leap for Southern.”