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Your faculty and staff news since 1965
May 9, 2005
Volume 40, Number 10

Back to Banner basics


By Fred Youberg

Several of us met with the Faculty Senate recently to answer their questions about LINK. I was struck by the number of very basic questions: Why are we doing it? Why Banner? What’s next? In the midst of massive organizational change, we cannot lose sight of the reasons for the change. So …

Why replace our administrative systems? Simply put, although they served us well for 20 plus years, they were on the verge of failure and costing us more to maintain each year. In several instances, we were conducting critical business processes with PC software, developed by employees who didn’t even work for UNM anymore. Our ability to stay competitive in research and higher education was being compromised by our outdated information systems.

Why Banner? We evaluated all major products available. Neither Oracle nor SAP had a student system. Several large universities questioned PeopleSoft’s ability to deliver necessary functionality. SungardSCT Banner was, and is, the leader in enterprise software for higher education. Although their financial applications were not as robust, no other vendor could touch their student systems. Choosing Banner was the only justifiable decision.

What happened with the Finance implementation and why are we proceeding with other Banner applications before Finance is stabilized?
The Finance implementation is getting a worse rap than it deserves. After all, it was first. In hindsight, there were some things we could have done differently. We had never done a project like this before and we were learning as we went. Our reporting strategy did not work like we had planned. We’re working to fix it. However, the finance team delivered the new system on time, within budget and totally replaced our aging finance system. We now enjoy new functionality like E-Procurement, document imaging, online approvals and auto-deposit of employee reimbursements.

There are three reasons to implement the other applications: (1) The student application is a more mature product and most users will utilize a more intuitive self-service interface than what they use in finance; (2) we did learn from finance—we will do more system and load testing, begin training earlier and provide additional support services; (3) UNM cannot begin to realize all the benefits of Banner until it’s all in place—like driving a car with three good tires and one bald one, you can still only go 35mph.

I always welcome your comments and feedback. My email is fyouberg@unm.edu.