It has been a few months since Ellucian announced Banner 8 would move to sustained support after 12/31/2018. Have you started your planning process? If not, the end of 2018 is approaching quickly and already Banner 9 resources are difficult to find. Having a good plan will assist you in minimizing the required outside services and maximize the value of the resources when they are needed.
In many cases, we have seen the focus of the planning to be on the elimination of modifications and the Banner 9 technology. An interesting review of why institutions have modifications can be found in James Brunner’s post Will Customizations Kill your Cloud? Although the analysis of the modifications is important, we do not believe it should be just a technical solution. Questions such as those identified below need to be addressed:
- Are the modifications still needed?
- Were there any updates to Banner that eliminate the need for the modification, but have not been utilized?
- Can a policy or process be updated to eliminate the modification?
- If you update the technology to remove the modification, will the change impact existing processes?
Institutions have many competing initiatives, and we are sure most have not planned for the Banner 9 upgrade project. Starting with a solid plan sets expectations, limits risk, and maximizes resource utilization. Before diving in and pulling a Banner Upgrade Project team together, make sure you’re ready to capture maximum value from the upgrade project. We recommend taking an assessment that focuses on the following three main components:
Overall Readiness Assessment
- How does the project tie to your institution’s strategic goals?
- Do all stakeholders have a common understanding of the desired outcomes of the project?
- How will success of the project be measured?
- What are the decision making and governance models for the project?
- Does the staff have a clear understanding of the objectives?
Banner Utilization Assessment:
- What is the inventory of customizations/capabilities in Banner?
- What was the need for each of the customizations? Does it still exist?
- What is the level of manual processes utilized in addition to Banner?
- What are the value-add or differentiating processes for the institution?
- To what degree have Banner enhancements been adopted by your institution?
Technology Environment Assessment:
- Is the technical infrastructure in place to support the project?
- Are the skills to support the upgrade on staff?
- Will you require Ellucian or third-party consulting support?
- What training will be required?
- Are any technology purchases required to support the upgrade?
- How will the technology be supported post implementation?
Most importantly: keep in mind that upgrading to Banner 9 is more of a business initiative than a technology project. Simply implementing new technology will not help you realize all the benefits of this upgrade.