Project Highlights (April 7, 2011)
"Some days it feels like a tornado, and others it feels like a roller coaster. But either way we're moving fast!" This is a comment from a OneCarolina team member this week.
The OneCarolina Project is gearing up for its scheduled second Admissions test. Team members are busy getting all the parts and pieces of the system in place and ready. This test will include changes suggested from testing last month, as well as getting the Banner administrative software to share information with a number of external databases and software systems.
On parallel tracks, the Admissions team is finalizing plans for test documentation and evaluation. Other OneCarolina teams are working on end-user training schedules and support. The last two weeks have seen intensified activitity in a number of other sections of the Project. Here are a few of the things teams have been focusing on.
While some members of the Student Services team are busy with the upcoming Admissions test, others are working seperate Project initiatives. The Data Standards group is finalizing rules and documentation for how data will be stored and shared in the OneCarolina system. Their recommendations will be submitted for committee review at the end of April. The Banner Document Management (BDMS) group has been conducting assessment visits to offices in the University system that will be using BDMS. This system will allow staff to scan paper documents into digital form for more efficient storage, cataloging, and retrieval. The Student team is also involved in other major tasks, such as finalizing process sharing rules in student registration and records, test procedures for schedule building in Banner, data maintenance, exception processing, and academic history tracking to name just a few.
The Student Accounts Receivable team is currently assessing Banner financial processes. They have also been collaborating with the Student Services team on joint handling of processes for compiling and sharing student population data, as well as procedures for fee assessment in Banner. These student financial processes must incorporate a long list of regulatory and accounting controls, and each process in Banner must be evaluated and verified by the team. Student A/R is now working with consultants from SunGard Higher Education to ensure compliance.
The Financial Aid team has finalized their strategic calendar for the remainder of the year, identifying milestones to be met, test schedules, training needs, and the projected Go-Live date for their module. Team core members at each of the campuses have been working on building database rules and tables for the Banner financial aid system - a detailed process that involves constructing over 300 data tables. Testing of these databases is scheduled for later this month. And as with the Student A/R processes, the financial aid system must precisely adhere to regulatory rules for student record-keeping, financial disbursements, application controls, and a host of other procedures. The team must go through each step to ensure compliance on every level. "It's a big job," says Bob Godfrey, Student Financial Aid team leader. "But everyone of our staff is working through it and progressing well."
Technical Team members have been busy ensuring system operability for current Banner training and the upcoming Admissions test. Tasks include work on every part of the new technical infrastructure: configuring and implementing processes for data integration, building data bridges for application imports, creating and testing identity controls for system access and use, designing a new self-service login page, and developing online forms for administrative use. Groups within the team are also developing a test environment designed specifically to emulate the actual OneCarolina production system. This "model office" will allow both functional and technical teams to rigorously test changes and integrations without putting the actual OneCarolina production system at risk. Software configurations, data bridges, and 3rd party programs can be verified for use before introducing them into the actual OneCarolina technical infrastructure. The test system can also be used for training purposes.
As our Implementation phase continues, Project groups are collaborating more to integrate elements into a functioning system. "We are developing so many new and effective ways of doing business that we haven't hammered them all out yet," says Barbara Blaney, Student Services team leader. "Things are constantly changing so it is sometimes difficult to communicate what's going on. But I've learned that at this stage we need everyone to think about everything all the time!"