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Missouri State Completes Multi-Year ERP Project

Missouri State University in Springfield has completed a multi-year implementation of a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) that began in December 2006. The initiative encompassed installation of Banner administrative modules (student, financial aid, finance, HR and payroll, and advancement), as well as the Banner Document Management Suite, Banner Operational Data Store, Banner Enterprise Data Warehouse, Xtender imaging software, and the Luminis integration platform, all from SunGard Higher Education, and AppWorx workload automation software from UC4 Software. The initial schedule for completion was set for July 2009.

"Anticipation of changes in process and culture that occur when implementing a new and integrated ERP system can cause considerable anxiety throughout the campus community," said Kent Thomas, co-project manager of the ERP implementation at the university in charge of the operational aspects of the effort. "By delivering an on-time, on-budget implementation, we fostered confidence, support, and active engagement from the campus community. This will help lead to quicker adoption of our new business processes and a stronger return on our investment."

The university used SunGard HE's consulting service prior to implementing the Banner Unified Digital Campus. The professional service is designed to assess the administrative processes, academic environment, data, and integration priorities that will help an institution achieve its digital campus vision. The service maps strategic goals to institutional objectives and links those goals and objectives to specific initiatives. The initiatives are then mapped to projects undertaken by the institution's technology organization.

"Anytime you make a change as significant as implementing an ERP system, you must seriously rethink how all the people, processes, and technologies fit together to support your institutional mission," said Jeff Morrissey, CIO and co-project manager of the ERP implementation in charge of the technical aspects of the project. Morrissey was the co-author along with Thomas of a Campus Technology article that explored the challenges of the project. "SunGard Higher Education's strategic planning process reinforced initial implementation plans and helped identify potential pitfalls early on so that we could address them in advance."

Missouri State contracted with SunGard to provide an onsite project manager. "Our SunGard project manager was critical to our success," said Morrissey. "Her experience with other implementations and ability to access additional resources at SunGard were invaluable."

Other success factors identified by the two project leaders include:

  • Strong executive support;
  • Buyin from stakeholders in the administration and campus community for the ERP project;
  • A culture of strategic planning and execution;
  • Collaboration and participation of campus functional and technical people; and
  • A well developed training program and support services.

The project team used an online site, U-Link, to keep the university apprised of its progress.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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