Student Information System (SIS) Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Review

Update Archive

For the most recent update, visit the SIS ERP Review Update page here.

October 24, 2018
Last month’s accomplishments (August 10 – October 24, 2018):

  1. A final report based on a full committee face-to-face meeting on June 12 regarding general date alignment was sent to Dr. Choi. Seven issues were identified, three of which have been resolved (No student administrative rep will be added at System at this time; all universities are using the framework developed by MU concerning differentiating terms; degree-seeking and non-degree-seeking discontinue policies are now aligned). Updates for the remaining issues are below:
    1. Reassessment and swap policies and practices.
      1. The recommendation made by the committee was to align financial and academic milestones (MU’s model). Each campus pulled data demonstrating the financial impact of moving to a 100% refund during the first week of classes. This would result in either no financial impact or a slight increase in revenues.
      2. The proposal was sent to the university CFOs in early September and the committee is waiting final decisions.
    2. Colorado Modification – Return of Aid/Last Date of Attendance.
      1. After reviewing the technical design specifications from Colorado, EAS estimates the time to implement to be ~20– 30 hours. This work could most likely begin in the December/January timeframe. However, prior to that EAS would need the campuses to collaborate and determine the complete functional specifications needed for this.
      2. A financial aid and registrar workgroup will be formed at the October 25 SIS ERP meeting. They will work with their respective campuses to identify faculty to work on this because the process touches faculty.
    3. Summer Registration.
      1. The committee recommendation was to term activate MU, UMKC and S&T students for the Summer Semester so that they can enroll in UMSL summer courses.
      2. Term activation will be used as a short-term solution (summer enrollment 2019); however, leadership wants the committee to continue working on what would be required to move to January enrollment at all four universities.
      3. The SIS ERP committee will borrow from the approach used by UMSL to move from March to January summer enrollment. By using an already established approach, this will help identify all stakeholders, potential barriers, and keys to implementation.
    4. Data inaccessibility:
      1. During the June meeting, the Directors within the functional areas expressed an interest in accessing other UM universities’ data. This would cut down on inefficient communication strategies (i.e., email, phone calls). The group suggested the development of a Memorandum of Understanding or confidentiality agreement that outlines who can have access and under what circumstances.
      2. During recent discussions, the committee recognized that the driver for this was cross-campus summer enrollment. They were able to manage the data inquiries for summer 2018 enrollment via email and phone calls. Additionally, there is some concern that if data was accessible to only particular people (e.g., directors), a lag could still exist in terms of getting answers to particular questions. The committee will table this for now. If there are significant increases in summer enrollment for 2019, they will revisit this issue.
  2. OCR technology. A recommendation made by the original SIS ERP committee was to investigate the cost of purchasing optical character recognition technology, which would allow for the conversion of images into encoded text. Cost estimates were put together and the purchase has been approved by Ryan Rapp. Work will begin with admissions to move their manual process of inputting paper test scores into the OCR. This will require aligning the process between the four universities first, a UM requirement of implementing the OCR technology.
  3. Although work will not officially begin until March 2019 on the additional processes (see Upcoming Work below), the committee did review all processes to determine if any Systemwide or university-specific efforts were underway.
    1. Resolved:
      1. Service mod requests (method used to request EAS modify, create a new process or provide other services): EAS has increased the number of developers from 2 to 6 and improved their service delivery model.
    2. In process:
      1. Degree-audit exception processing. UMSL and UMKC are currently working with their academic units to ensure that what the AUs offer is in the catalog. MU had already completed that process but are now enforcing the rule that exceptions must match what is in the catalog.
      2. Census reporting: MU meeting with the UMDW team to manage edits with the other universities. Jeff Elliott taking lead. MU named “point university” to oversee. Distributing clean up to those that can best manage rather than doing it centrally. Process running better.
      3. Bill financial customer. As part of the TouchNet project, Cashiers are discussing a billing redesign that should help students better understand what is going to happen with their financial aid and what it will actually cover. Cashiers and financial aid will work together on this. TouchNet will be implemented by June 30, 2019. Still working out details at the System level. All universities will move to this billing system.
      4. Withdrawal. A key impediment to this process is that no workflow currently exists. UMSL is piloting a workflow process working with their campus IT that eliminates the use of paper. Piloted with one college/one session and have now rolled it out campus-wide. Theresa Keuss will share the outcomes in December or January.
      5. Change of major: SIS did write a transfer of division program in Cold Fusion that can be initiated by a student or their advisor. It is now online and managed electronically with workflow developed outside of PS. MU SIS will share the code with UMSL and UMKC. S&T lacks a Cold Fusion programmer.

August 10, 2018

  1. A final report based on the June 12, 2018 meeting was sent to Dr. Choi. Next steps and updates are below:
    1. Issue #1: Student Services Representation at UM.
      1. Begin discussions with System leadership to determine if a position should be added. If so, develop a job description and determine to whom the position will report.
      2. UPDATE: At this time, UM System does not feel this is feasible. However, Dr. Christine Holt, Chief of Staff at UM System, has been appointed as the official contact for the committee and will be able to assist the committee in efforts moving forward. The committee has also been asked to consider a committee structure that can satisfy this need.
    2. Issue #2: Reassessment and swap policies and practices.
      1. A “Date Alignment Task Force” has been established. Their initial focus will be on making recommendations on the alignment of add/drop dates and reassessment/refund dates. Along with aligning dates, there is a need to align practices. All universities would like to move to a 100% refund during the first week of classes.
      2. UPDATE: The first meeting was held on July 25, 2018. The recommendation was to align financial and academic milestones (MU’s model). Each campus will work on pulling data that will demonstrate the financial impact of moving to a 100% refund during the first week of classes.
    3. Issue #3: Return of Aid/Last Date of Attendance.
      1. EAS is investigating the University of Colorado Modification. They will also investigate whether there is delivered functionality in v9.2 of PeopleSoft.
      2. UPDATE: No delivered functionality is available within v9.2. EAS did investigate and found that they would need to change the grade roster page to add a “Last Date of Attendance” field, add PeopleCode to determine and enforce when that field is required, and create a UM table to track the data in order to implement the Colorado Mod.
      3. Next steps: EAS needs to have the SIS ERP committee determine if this modification is a high priority. The v9.2 upgrade will not happen until March, but this could be implemented prior to that if the need is great. If so, FA and Registrars develop more detailed specifications about how they want this to work. The Registrars will also need to communicate this change to all instructors, and FA will need to determine how they will retrieve the last date of attendance data.
    4. Issue #4: Summer Registration.
      1. The first step is to outline clearly what it would take for MU, S&T and UMKC to move to January for summer registration as well as reasons why UMSL could consider moving summer registration to March.
      2. UPDATE: The first meeting with this group was held on August 9, 2018. MU is investigating whether or not there is a fix within PeopleSoft that will allow MU, UMKC and S&T students to be term activated for the Summer Semester so that they can go ahead Status Template and enroll in summer courses. If not, discussions will resume concerning if the other campuses can move to a January summer enrollment.
    5. Issue #5: Differentiating Terms.
      1. Since a policy has already been developed by MU and vetted, the committee recommends that the other UM universities review and put into practice this policy on their campus. The committee also recommends that the policy become a Collected Rule and Regulation.
    6. Issue #6: Discontinue policy.
      1. At the time of the June session, non-degree seeking students at UMSL had to reapply each semester they wanted to take classes, which is an impediment to cross-campus enrollment. MU and S&T’s Discontinue procedure does not distinguish between degree seeking and non-degree seeking. UMKC is already in the process of treating DS and NDS the same.
      2. UPDATE: UMSL has begun to solidify the process of treating non-degree seeking students the same as degree seeking concerning term eligibility. UMSL’s Bulletin, which includes descriptions of undergraduate and graduate policies and programs, has been updated, websites are in the process of being updated, and communications are going out to advisors and academic units concerning this new business practice. UMSL is now in alignment with the other universities on this issue and will not discontinue non-degree seeking students each term, but treat their eligibility the same as degree seeking. This issue is now resolved.
    7. Issue #7: Data inaccessibility:
      1. The Directors within the functional areas would like to be able to access other UM universities’ data. This would cut down on inefficient communication strategies. The group suggested the development of a Memorandum of Understanding or confidentiality agreement that outlines who can have access and under what circumstances.
      2. The committee will began discussions and draft proposals of agreements between the campuses that will be ready by September 28.

May 30, 2018

  • Date Alignment project
    • Met with Financial Aid and Registrars to identify which dates can be aligned. This concluded meetings with all functional areas (Admissions, Cashiers, Financial Aid, and Registrars).
    • These discussions helped identify additional operational dates; provided context about the importance of each date and the relationship to other dates; highlighted the need to bring the four functional areas together to make informed recommendations; and emphasized the need to have a clear goal in mind (e.g., facilitating cross-campus enrollment) when considering date alignment.
  • IT Cost Investigations (Ben Canlas lead)
    • OCR technology
      • Questionnaire responses, transcript volumes and user account needs have been sent to Hyland (OCR vendor). This provided Hyland the information they need to generate cost estimates.
      • Cost estimates from the 2015 investigations into OCR have been sent to Gary Allen.
    • Deteriorating Transcripts
      • JoAnn Looten, Director of Records Management for UM, has been contacted and is aware of the need.
    • Impacts on Department and/or Faculty
      • A charter was finalized regarding the course proposal process for Study Abroad at MU (see below for details about importance of this to the SIS ERP).
    • An updated report was prepared for Dr. Choi and sent May 9, 2018. A meeting was held to discuss the report. The following were identified as high impact projects:
      • Alignment of key academic and operational dates.
      • Redesigning scholarship management processes (e.g., load department decisions, liaison with AUs for scholarship awards).
      • Continued investigations into optical character recognition software with cost estimates.
      • Examination of each campuses’ residency processes.

This month’s work (June 1-June 30):

  • The Directors from all the functional areas will convene on June 12. Through the discussions with all functional areas, it has become clear that it will be necessary to decide, with all four functional areas, which dates are key (which is dependent upon the goal of alignment, e.g., facilitating cross-campus enrollment), what issues exist that make date alignment difficult, management strategies for the issues, and next steps. The meetings’ outcomes will be shared with Dr. Choi by June 22.
  • IT Cost Investigations. JoAnn Looten will attend a standing Student Records meeting to determine current state of the transcripts – storage location, what climate control is in place, etc.
  • A project commenced on June 5 with the goal of redesigning the course proposal process for Study Abroad at MU. During the initial phase of the SIS ERP project, Cashiers at MU noted that because Study Abroad is not centralized (some academic units have their own Study Abroad programs), information may not be consistent, which includes information about fees related to Study Abroad. The Study Abroad course proposal process begins with learning the basics of study abroad, which necessarily includes cost. The project facilitator will ensure that costs become a point of discussion during the project and will consult with MU Cashiers as needed.
  • Using the specific outcomes from SIS ERP Phase I outcomes regarding scholarship management, a project charter will be drafted and shared with the financial aid directors so that work can commence on redesigning processes related scholarship management.

Project Assessment

  • Schedule. Having priority projects with expected deadlines is helpful. To maintain this, it will be necessary to meet regularly with the project sponsors.
  • The full task force and smaller teams assigned to take on the projects will likely need input and direction from leadership groups such as the IFC, CFOs, Chancellors, Provosts, etc. Some of those groups do not meet frequently and it can be difficult to find the time necessary because of their schedules. Strategies will need to be developed to do this and possibly expedite decision-making.
  • There are many efforts underway at the System level and on the campuses that potentially impact this effort, or vice versa. We will need to rely on leaders to help identify those connections so we are effectively using our resources.
  • With only a facilitator and one project manager, it may only be possible to tackle 2 possibly 3 efforts at one time. If this is acceptable, the project is resourced appropriately.

May 7, 2018

  • The following tasks were accomplished for the Date Alignment project:
    • All academic and operational dates were identified within Admissions, Cashiers, Financial Aid and Registrars along with the rationale for the dates.
    • All offices were asked to identify which dates could be aligned considering whether or not alignment would: 1) impact the student experience around cross-campus enrollment and course sharing; 2) positively impact compliance or Systemwide reporting; 3) enable getting to one instance of the SIS and 4) enable a shared services model.
      • Cashiers.
        • Align: Billing Dates, Due Dates Fall Semester, Due Dates Spring Semester, and Grace Periods.
        • Further discussion needed: Due Dates Summer Semester, Cancellation Dates and Refund Dates (with Registrar).
      • Admissions.
        • The deadlines for Admissions are generally rolling; no hard deadlines.
        • Will be willing to align dates if Admissions is moved to a shared services model.
  • The following tasks were accomplished for IT Cost Investigation related processes.
    • Staff from Admissions, Cashiers, Financial Aid, and Registrars met with representatives from Highland, who own Perceptive Content (ImageNow). Highland also owns Brainware, an OCR product.
      • Key points:
        • The focus of the discussion was on transcript processing for admissions purposes but other processes within SIS, HR and Finance could be managed with the technology.
        • UM could have individuals trained to build out the processes; vendor does not need to do this for UM. Training will be required for UM staff.
        • Other institutions using this technology are repurposing staff once they no longer need to have them entering data manually.
        • The University of Arkansas is a client and we could speak with them about their experiences.
    • AcademicWorks versus home grown system for scholarship processing.
      • S&T, UMKC and UMSL are now using AcademicWorks and MU is using a home grown system.
      • Both systems are providing the campuses what they need. The modification needed by MU uses very little technical work so moving away from that would not buy the team resources and for MU, the cost would be significant to move to AcademicWorks for MU.
      • At this time, the decision made is to make no changes to the scholarship management systems.
  • Impacts on Department and/or Faculty.
    • A project charter is being written at MU related to Study Abroad. The focus of the project is moving the current course proposal process from one that is paper-based to online. While this project is not directly connected to issues identified during the initial SIS ERP effort, there are plans to include more transparent fiscal information to the project scope to ensure that problems uncovered by MU’s Office of Cashiers during the initial SIS ERP effort will be alleviated. Input has been requested from MU Office of Cashiers to include within the project charter.
  • A report describing the full project’s progress was submitted to Dr. Choi for the April 12-13 Board of Curators Meeting.

March 30, 2018

  • A shorter report based on the final report was written and responsibility was assigned to four groups (i.e., 1) senior leaders; 2) functional areas; 3) functional areas in collaboration with EAS; and 4) EAS) for tackling the ~46 high impact business processes identified through the work of the SIS ERP task force.
  • The processes requiring senior leader input (n=20) were grouped: 1) Students’ Schedules and Fees – Downstream Effects; 2) IT Cost Investigations; 3) Academic Impact – Faculty Input Required; 4) Cashiers and Financial Aid Alignment.
    • Investigations are underway for all processes within “IT Cost Investigations” and an IT solution with a funding request (if needed) will be submitted in April (per Ben Canlas).
  • These 20 processes were presented to the Provosts and CFOs on February 22. They asked that Dr. Gary Allen and Ryan Rapp determine which processes were candidates for creating one common process. While some processes will require broader input (tuition and fees; add/drop/swap/edit; transfer credits) it was decided that the remaining processes should be resolved by implementing a “one way of doing things” via a common solution, business process, etc. The Provosts and CFOs agreed with this strategy.
  • The project facilitator and project manager met with the Intercampus Faculty Council to discuss aligning academic dates. The IFC asked that the Registrars review dates and make recommendations that will then be vetted with each campuses’ faculty. Given that dates touch multiple offices, all directors of Cashiers, Financial Aid, and Registrars were convened. They have identified all dates, academic, administrative and operational. See below for continuing work.
  • SIS ERP Task Force was reconvened in mid-March. Updates were provided and high impact projects started: date alignment and Pell disbursements.

December 4, 2017
Began drafting a report that will provide recommendations on moving forward with the 45 business processes that were evaluated during the course of the project. Change recommendations are being placed into five buckets:

  1. No change recommended at this time for particular processes.
  2. EAS investigates changes to the SIS for the 9.2 upgrade.
  3. Collaborative effort between the functional area(s) and EAS to make changes to both the business process and the SIS.
  4. Functional areas redesign the business process – does not involve EAS.
  5. Leadership must make decisions about administrative and academic policies and procedures prior to adjustments being made to the actual business process.

November 7, 2017

  • Team leads met with their respective provosts to discuss the September 19th presentation and get feedback on stated focus moving forward.
  • Completed reviewing change recommendations for business processes from the final report. Changes recommendations are being placed into three “buckets”:
    • No change recommended.
    • Collaborative effort between functional area(s) and EAS to start making changes. Taking action will still require direction from leaders in many cases.
    • Senior leaders need to make decisions before action can be taken.
  • Team leads and AACRAO consultant (Dr. Reid Kisling) met with UMAOs on October 20, 2017.
    • Discussion focused on the need to have more clarity around what it will mean, administratively, to be the same until the campuses need to be different.
    • UMAOs have asked that the project be put on hold until strategic plans at the four campuses are done and what being the same until the campuses need to be different is clearly defined.

October 6, 2017

  • Submitted final report to Gary Allen and Steve Graham, August 1, 2017.
  • Presented outcomes to UMAOs, September 19, 2017. Key messages:
    • Clarity concerning how the campuses should be the same and where they should be different.
    • The need for a governance structure that aligns with the System’s organizational structure.
    • Opportunities in the current environment.
    • The need for a highly architected student system that allows for integration of additional and necessary support systems
  • Reviewing change recommendations made within the final report. The team made recommendations based on changes to the current system (v9.0), during the upgrade to v9.2, and/or a future system. These recommendations are being analyzed by the EAS team to determine feasibility of the change and next steps.
  • A consultant from AACRAO (American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers) has been hired to provide feedback on the committee process, outcomes and assist in communicating to the UMAOs what the necessary next steps must be.

June 8, 2017

  1. Completed SIPOCs on all 45 processes; analyze the output.
  2. Completed exercises #4-#5 (discussion of output of SIPOCs, campuses differences, and recommendations for future changes).
  3. Continued the 3rd party systems and apps collection process and began discussions about keeping these lists up-to-date in the future.
  4. Began drafting the Final Recommendations document.

May 23, 2017

  1. Completed data analysis of the prioritized business processes.
  2. Identified processes to be fully document/evaluated for exercises #3-#5; 46 processes were identified:
    • Admissions: 6
    • Cashiers: 11
    • Financial Aid: 15
    • Registrar: 14
  3. Began exercise #3 – SIPOCs. This involves identifying the suppliers to the process, inputs and outputs, customers, and the process at a high level.
  4. Continued identifying 3rd party systems and apps at each campus.

April 26, 2017

  1. Ran all identified business processes (600+) through the prioritization instrument (Exercise #2).
  2. Began analysis of prioritized processes data.
  3. Met with MU K-12 online and MU Extension – discussed considerations for a Future SIS.
  4. Began collecting from each campus 3rd party systems and apps (UMSL and EAS).
  5. Documented all communication strategies for the project.
  6. Conducted interviews with all team leads focusing on project progress and identifying any issues.

March 22, 2017

  1. Create SIS ERP Information Webpage. The webpage lives on UMKC’s online page: The team leads have been instructed to contact their Provost’s office and have them place a link on the Provost pages.
  2. Conducted training for individuals who will facilitate the meetings with subject matter experts for Exercise #3 (SIPOC), Exercise #4 (Identifying Differences), and Exercise #5 (Recommendations).
  3. Tested adjusted prioritization matrix and finalized.
  4. Created support documentation for the prioritization matrix.
  5. Began developing the Stewardship/Governance Principles for the project.

February 20, 2017

  1. Completed Exercise #1 – Normalization with Admissions, Cashiers, Financial Aid, and Registrars.
  2. Tested prioritization matrix with functional areas listed above and made adjustments.
  3. Began aligning the work EAS is conducting on mods with the SIS ERP project.
  4. Facilitator training materials for Exercises 3-5 drafted; training set for March 15, 2017 in Columbia.
  5. Work breakdown structure adjusted to align with the current work status of the project.
  6. “Security,” “Technical” and “Support” defined in relationship to this project.

January 9, 2017

  1. Finished collecting business processes for all functional areas (Registrar, Admissions,Financial Aid, and Cashiers).
  2. Finalized a draft of the instrument that will be used to prioritize the business processes that need to be documented/evaluated.
  3. Began identifying processes from functional areas to test the prioritization instrument.
  4. Identified facilitators at each campus and from system that will assist functional experts during the documentation/evaluation process.
  5. Began developing facilitator schedule/training materials.
  6. Presented update to UMAOs.