Presentation: Banner 8 – An Early Adopter’s Story
Presenter: Kathryn Matuch, Drexel University
It is here where I thank my lucky stars that I moved to an organization that is NOT into early adoption.
Hopefully, I’ll get a preview of the hiccups and priorities with this upgrade. See if I missed anything during my initial evaluation of our baseline instance.
BTW – “Baseline instance” means an installation of the application with no modifications. Designed as the vendor sells it.
My takeaway - as a trainer, watch and ask about technical issues during the upgrade.
Not a lot to train unless there is a process change as a result of reviewing new features.
Drexel – 4 campuses, including 1 in Sacramento, CA.
(funny how universities are now all about branding rather than location)
They went live with 8.1.
(This is going to be a technical presentation – you may not see that many notes)
Small windows available for upgrade
- Monday over Xmas holiday.
- Use quarter term system. Not a lot of downtime.
The System Administrators in the Student and HR systems wanted the new functionality
- Multi-year encumbering
- Algorithmic packaging
- Course wait listing
To limit the amount of work involved – limit all modifications. One set of code for all campuses.
They use practically everything except ODS/EDW or new Enrollment Management Solution
Have home grown and 3rd party products with hooks into Banner (really important when implementing to know what these are)
- Banner 8 upgrade not too difficult
- Big piece was to make sure your integrated pieces don’t break. (3rd party and homegrown)
How many people?
- IRT (5 DBAs – 1 dedicated to Banner, 1 70%, 3 came on board fast)
+ 14 Software engineers
+ 4 systems people
+ 1 Lumis Application Admin
- System Administrators (liaisons between IRT and the end-user)
+ 13 Drexel Student, Financial Aid, Admissions
+ 6 finance, HR, Accounts Receivable
+ 4 hosted schools.
+ Responsible for data QA, initial troubleshooting, etc.
- March 2008 – Early Adopter program (past Beta)
- June 2008 – agreed to participate (already had trial character set. Server roadmap being developed already since knew were going to be replacing servers)
- July 2008 – database conversions and baseline Banner 8
+ Apply baseline mods (trying to stay close to baseline)
+ Test 3rd party databases – look for required changes
+ PIN documentation and impact reviewed and questioned.
+ Finalize hardware needs
- September 2008 – release code for testing
+ System Administrators begin comprehensive Banner 8 testing
+ Any C programming changes tackled. Reviewed baseline code. Gotta change the code to support UTF-8
+ Had direct contact with the SunGard developers
+ Encrypting the PIN is NOT OPTIONAL (for tech folks using this – this will make more sense. Potential headache. Definitely impacts your reports and how things go out to the students. Also impacts Duplicate PIDM process – for those who know what I am talking about.).
- September 2008 – of course there was also a 3rd party upgrade scheduled. Had to move to whole new architecture on one of their major systems.
- October 2008 – (more tech prep and testing. All of this is back-end. Speaking in code for those who know it.)
- November 2008 – Banner 8.1 installation and hardware installation.
+ Lesson here – watch migrating files, machine name changes, host key verification and tns name issues. Most result of migration issues to new hardware.
+ Took time to streamline and do base configuration management so everything talks to each other. Great opportunity to document.
+ Saw COBOL and C issues surface. If in 64 bit environment, can’t compile COBOL right now.
+ Configure production manager.
- Go live December 08.
+ Production down for a week due to load issues (oooh……this is bad.)
-- (I’ve saw this in the EMR upgrade with a new product. Works great in test. Works well with smaller institutions. Go live. Bad juju.)
+ Received emergency build and index rebuild and configuration changes.
(at this point, absolutely no training involved whatsoever in this discussion. I am getting the impression that training for the upgrade really isn’t that important. All end-user issues mentioned in the sessions I’ve run into so far have been technical, not training.)