Enterprise Technology Management >> Do You Know a Crossover Pro

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Michelle Arth Georgia Perimeter College Asst. Dir., Enterprise Information Systems Supports: HR, and Finance-related offices Primary app: PeopleSoft (www.peoplesoft.com)

Bruce Briggs, Associate VP and CIO of Georgia Perimeter, has a bird’s eye view of Michelle’s crossover talents: “PeopleSoft is supported out of a central site for all schools in the Georgia system, so our campus technical support people are allowed to focus primarily on the customer. Michelle d'es that, and she is a breath of fresh air to work with. Michelle is smart enough to figure out what the users are trying to accomplish; she puts the focus on the customer first—the right way to do it. When we converted to version 8.1.x, she was good at getting right in there and straightening out any glitches so that the clients and the staff didn’t see any problems. No one missed a paycheck.”

And according to Linda Corva, director of Accounting, “As we converted, she went to every technical and user training [session] with us, so she could understand both our side and hers. She d'es take the time to learn what we do and understand what we are trying to achieve; she d'esn’t just tell us what table it’s in. Style of communication is more important to me than technical knowledge. I feel like we can work through most anything, because she will work with us. She d'esn’t just say, ‘I’ll take care of it.’ With the new systems now, you have to have that [commitment to work together]. I don’t know how people do it without others who are willing to understand the functional side.”

Tod Maki St. Norbert College (WI) Asst. Dir., Computer Svcs. Supports: Functional areas Primary app: SCT Banner

John Beck, Director, Computer Services, has this to say about Tod Maki: “Tod is spearheading our migration project to a new ERP system (SunGard’s SCT Banner). Being a reasonably small college (about 2,100 students), we have an unreasonably small staff, so it has been a great benefit for us that Tod understands the operations of the administrative functional areas, in addition to the operations of the software.”

Patricia Wolfe-Thornton, administrative secretary to the Dean of Admission, adds: “Ask him a question once, twice, three times, and every time he will patiently answer as though it’s the first time the question was posed to him. He will question you right back until you know he understands what you need accomplished and why. He guides with a firm but non-intrusive hand. We are very fortunate to have his technical knowledge, but even more so, to have someone who works to understand how our office (as well as all of the other offices on campus) functions.”

Jill Vannella Georgian Court University (NJ) Database/Systems Specialist Supports: Registrar, Bursar, Admissions, Financial Aid, Institutional Advancement Primary app: SCT PowerCAMPUS

To Cindy Lisowski, director of Information for Institutional Advancement, “‘Database Specialist’ sounds ominous to those of us who are on the fringes of the informational technology world. We know our ‘fields’—admissions, registrar, financial aid, finance, and advancement. But do we necessarily know the real ins and outs of the systems with which we’re dealing? No; and, gratefully, we don’t have to, because we have someone like Jill Vannella ’86, our very own ‘database specialist.’ If she simply understood the hardware and software, she would be very little help to us. Jill not only knows the intricacies of the system, she knows the intricacies of each of our offices. To be effective in her position, she has to.”

According to registrar Jill A. Riley, “When I first started at GCU, Jill had just completed a full software conversion. She worked tirelessly with a new registrar, staff members, and system to make the conversion a success. She so immersed herself in the records arena that we have named her an ‘honorary’ member of our staff. Jill’s thorough knowledge of our office process allows her to anticipate how changes/modifications in software functionality may impact the office.”

Ronald Wagner Lehigh University (PA) Senior Project Specialist, Enterprise Systems Implementation Supports: Registrar Primary app: SCT Banner

Says Registrar Bruce Correll, “Let’s say we’re trying to make a modification to a baseline form: Ron can tell us in exact detail what the code d'es and what he can make it do. For example, we have a course that students can repeat to improve their grade. The baseline system did not include the option that we needed to follow faculty policy, so Ron came up with a different notation for the course. The fact that Ron understood it so well, and had been working with us functionally, made all the difference in the world. He knew what the faculty was trying to get at.”

Ron, how did you learn about what the registrar’s office d'es? “[I learned] over time, meeting with the staff in the registrar’s office on a regular basis to make sure that I understand what they do. A lot of people don’t realize how much there is to the operation of that office. Every time you turn around, demands are being made on the registrar.”

What is your style of working with the Registrar’s Office? “Some problem will be found, and rather than the registrar or me going off on a tangent by ourselves, we work on it together. That way, we solve problems that might have been overlooked. In the long run, that makes it better for both of us.”

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