From Silos to Sharing: An Institutional Research View of the Conversion to an ERP

From Silos to Sharing: An Institutional Research View of the Conversion to an ERP

Dana L. Dalton (Forsyth Technical Community College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4153-2.ch053


This case study describes the events from 2003 to the present surrounding the implementation of a relational student information Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. The introduction and implementation of an ERP to a campus that previously engaged separate stand-alone administrative computer components is indeed a cultural and philosophical shift. Campus leaders must not discount the importance and to some degree, acceptance, of these shifts. Multiple factors have to come together to make the ERP a successful venture. We found that continuous communication and a sense of ownership aided the cultural shift. At the beginning of any institution-wide project, all the stakeholders should have a seat at the table and a role in the decision-making processes. As in any undertaking, best practices and the lessons learned served as both formative and summative types of evaluation in this experience. This case is not meant to serve as a “how to” guide, but a narrative of prominent issues that other institutions may find helpful if a conversion is in their future.
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Case Description

Selection of ERP

The then President of the SESS entered into a contractual agreement with a major maker of ERPs. This campus-wide system Banner® is touted as world’s most widely used collegiate administrative suite of student, financial aid, finance, human resources, and advancement systems. It is a tightly integrated suite of proven, scalable, enterprise-wide applications on a single database, designed to support institutions of all sizes and types. This system uses Oracle®, a major relational database management system as its foundation, one used by both corporation and government agencies.

The aim of a relational system used by the majority of the SESS cluster of universities is to bring standardization and uniformity to the data and subsequent information used by consumers. This standardization will increase the ease and understanding when the SESS compares campus data. Figure 1 shows the home page screen for the Banner ERP, with folders representing the main system modules.

Figure 1.

Screen of home page indicating modules in the ERP

The campuses should give credit to the system office for realizing early the vast scope of this transition and allocating considerable resources to the campuses. This type of support was incredibly needed and beneficial to all campuses, particularly campuses with limited information technology capacity. A lesson for the high-level decision stage is for the stakeholders to give an accurate depiction of strengths and needs early on in order to identify and allocate sufficient resources to the entire project.

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