New Banner version deployed

After more than a year of planning, designing, developing, and configuring a new web-based infrastructure, the latest version of the Banner software was deployed on Monday, November 19, 2018. Ellucian’s Banner has been the Enterprise Resource Planning software for the university since 2000, and the latest version brings new features and functionality, and an enhanced user interface for faculty and staff. Banner 9 is the system of record for human resources, finance, and student information.

The previous version, Banner 8, was built on the now-retired Oracle Forms platform that the vendor, Ellucian, has supported for years. Over the past 20 years, a number of the Banner forms have been customized to streamline specific needs and requirements that could not be met with the delivered software. IT Services has worked closely with stakeholders to modify forms and processes to fill gaps in functionality — in particular for financial aid management, student advising, graduation checkout, and other key business processes.

Converting forms

Since Banner 9 promised new enhancements, features and functionality, the overarching goal of the project — called Banner 9 as Designed — was to retire software customizations where possible by leveraging the baseline software instead. This approach held true for the vast majority of requirements, and users learned new ways of performing tasks in the system. However, there were some mission-critical custom forms that would be needed to ensure the transition to the new platform went smoothly, with little to no impact on students and the campus. Transforming these custom Banner 8 forms to Banner 9 pages was identified as a critical task early in the project.

IT Services reached out to Ellucian to obtain cost estimates for converting the identified high-priority Banner 8 forms to Banner 9 pages. The cost for outsourcing this work far exceeded the project budget, so the team had to explore other options. And with limited time, budget, and resources, accomplishing this was going to be a challenge.

Could the forms be replaced with an Argos report that pulls the needed data on demand?

Could some forms be retired altogether?

Without Ellucian’s support, could the IT Application Operations teams quickly learn the new Banner 9 development tools in order to transform these legacy Banner 8 forms to Banner 9 pages?

Many members of Application Operations stepped up to the challenge! They have learned the Banner 9 development tool, PageBuilder, and have been working with stakeholders to redesign the Banner 8 forms as Banner 9 pages.They have already deployed four forms to production, with the remaining legacy forms  either in development or being tested by stakeholders. The goal to have all of the Banner 8 forms migrated to Banner 9 by late spring is on target. Once completed, the Banner 8 legacy system can be retired altogether.

Banner 8 forms remain available

As a temporary solution, the Banner 8 forms will remain accessible to stakeholders until the new pages are migrated to Banner 9. For further information about Banner 9 and the changes that have come with the new solution, check out the FAQ and summary of changes.

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