Sungard Summit 2011 – My Highlights from Day #3

I found three of Tuesday’s sessions particularly informative and valuable.  These were:

Creating Campus Communities for Student Success:  The Tuesday opening plenary was given by John Gardner, a pioneer in developing the “First Year Experience” aimed at increasing student success in college.  Dr. Garder’s programs have been successful in increasing college retention, especially among “at risk” populations.  Several keys to these successes are fostering learning communities that enable students to develop support networks for their course work. Linked courses and interest / study groups are ways some institutions have done this.  Developing a cross functional core that fosters team teaching and cross disciplinary courses is another.

Banner 8 Security:  Banner 8 comes with a number of new features intended to make the management of Banner security more efficient and effective.  One of the new security features in Banner 8 is to allow “one of” additions or subtractions to security classes, so there is no need to create a new security class if one individual in a functional area needs more or less access than others.  My takeaway from this session is that at some point in the next year Seton Hall University should kick off a project aimed at re-implementing Banner security using the Banner 8 tools; this will require some work up front but will result in a Banner environment that is both more secure and more manageable.

Building a Mobile Portal With Luminis:  Hofstra University presented their strategy for building a mobile portal using Luminus.  In short, they added some scripts to the portal to detect if a user was coming in via a Web enabled smartphone and presented a very streamlined Luminus portal to those users.  The “single signon” issue was effectively bypassed; their mobile portal presents a variety of public information, but users are required to log in to access any and all secure services. SHU’s strategy of using Sungard Mobile Central may enable SHU to develop a better user experience, but Hofstra gave an interesting alternative strategy.  Particularly valuable was their data on what students want in a mobile portal and students’ use of the Hofstra mobile portal.  One surprise was that many users were not members of the community and didn’t have Hofstra accounts, but rather were looking to get at the public information.

Steve Landry, CIO

SGHE’s Banner Student / Banner 9 Roadmap

Last week at Sungard Higher Education Summit 2011 the SHU team learned that the Banner Evolution / Banner Horizon was being re-named Banner 9.  At the same time we learned that rather than just a technical upgrade, Banner 9 was going to include new features and functionality.  We also learned that there woill be no further enhancements to Banner 8; while there will be problem fixes and regulatory updates to Banner 8, all new features on Sungard’s product roadmap will be developed in Banner 9.

Attached is a copy of Sungard’s Banner Student Roadmap for 2011-12.


This and other documentation from Summit 2011 is available on the Sungard Higher Education Commons at:

Here you can join the over 15,000 participants in the commons to access and share information about Banner.

Steve Landry, CIO

Highlights from Sungard Summit Day #2

Day #2 of Sungard Summit 2011 had a nearly overwhelming number of tracks.  I often felt it was an embarrassment of riches; in many periods there were several sessions I would have liked to attend.  However, this also presents an ongoing learning opportunity for me and for the SHU team.  We can continue the discussions and learning back in New Jersey by taking advantage of the many online presentations from Summit 2011 that will be available shortly.

Meanwhile, here are some of the highlights for me from Day #2.  Other participants in the on ground or virtual summit have attended different sessions or might have different highlights of the sessions I attended, so I am looking forward to additional posts on Day #2 sessions.

“DIY U – the Coming Transformation of Higher Education” by author Anya Kamenetz.  Ms. Kamenetz noted that the costs of both private and public institutions for higher education have risen sharply the past several decades, and these costs have risen much higher than the rate of inflation.  Ms. Kamenetz discussed several causes of this phenomenon, but focused on technology as a major contributor in the following sense:  most industries have used technology to dramatically increase productivity, but certain services have not, due in part to the nature of their craft; as a result, the relative cost of such services has risen compared to other products and services.  Ms. Kamenetz suggests several areas where higher education can use technology to reduce costs while at the same time  improving student learning.  There are open content initiatives, such as open textbooks and open course sites; these have the potential to reduce faculty work in preparing course materials while at the same time reducing cost to the students.  There are social learning initiatives that seek to connect subject matter experts with learning communities in ways that cross course or institutional boundaries; such collaborations have the potential to provide greater institutional support for students without increasing institutional costs.  And there are alternative ways emerging to certify mastery of certain concepts or programs that will make certification or accreditation of learning more transparent and more portable.  Ms. Kamenetz contends that these trends are going to enable the transformation of higher education, and tightening credit along with government mandates are going to force higher to adopt some or all of these changes.

“Banner Enterprise Identity Services Overview and Update” outlined some of the new Identity Management features available in Banner 8.  The short summary of this talk is that many of the customizations SHU did in Banner 7 to enable Banner integration with Oracle Identity Management are now baseline in Banner 8.  The takeaway from this presentaiton is that in the next year or so SHU should re-implement Oracle Identity Management using the Banner 8 baseline “hooks” from Banner into standard identity management systems.

“introduction to Groovy and Grails” was an interesting overview of Groovy on Grails as a development environment.  Banner 9 is being developed in this environment.  One advantage of Groovy on Grails is its simplicity; Groovy on Grails is based on Java but has a powerful set of libraries that simplify coding and make it easy to modularize and re-use code.  As a result, you can more rapidly develop and deploy new features using this framework.  The takeaway from this talk is that Banner 9 is coming, and indeed is closer than we think, and institutional knowledge of Java and Groovy on Grails is important to institutions’ success with Banner 9, just as knowledge of PL/SQL was important to success with Banner 8.

“Web for Proxy Set Up Tips” outlined some of the features and functionality coming in Banner Web for Proxy.  SHU was a development partner with Sungard and several other colleges and universities in developing Web for Proxy.  In short, Web for Proxy is a powerful set of tools that enable users to authorize access to certain Banner Self Service information to their “proxies”, who may not be part of the University and therefore may not even have a General Person record.  For example, a student may give proxy access to a parent to view her grades.  In this case, the parent may receive an email with a link to Web for Proxy.  The student will set up a PIN that will authorize the parent’s access (similar to logging in).  The takeaway for me from this session is that this is a feature that SHU will want to implement as soon as practical.

“Banner Student Product Roadmap” was essentially a rehash of the Banner Student Kickoff presentation.  The short version is that Banner Horizon has been re-branded Banner 9; Banner 9 will be modularized and will co-exist with Banner 8 (avoiding the need for the “forklift upgrade” SHU went through with the Banner 7 to Banner 8 migration); the first Banner 9 modules will be available in the next six months; no desupport date for Banner 8 is being announced, but it will be “several years out.”

Overall I learned a lot from Day #2.  The biggest takeaway for me was that there are a lot of new features in Banner 8 that SHU hasn’t yet implemented.  The SHU team should reconvene soon to debrief on all our findings, but a push to more fully implement the feature set we already own should be one of our institutional projects for the coming year.

Steve Landry, CIO

Re: Virtual Summit: Luminis 5 from the Ground UP

We’ve all been to workshops, conferences, or training where there’s been a technical glitch, or where the presentation isn’t at the right level or doesn’t cover the material we expected.  I’ve been to some great sessions here at Summit 2011, but admittedly not all of them have been stellar.  Some were high wire acts; for example, in yesterday’s Intro to Groovy on Grails, Bob Rullo wrote and ran Groovy code on the fly, which went very well but could have been killed by a technical glitche.  The important thing for our purposes is what we learn from our participation in Summit 2011 that can help the University.

Interestingly, independently of the planned upgrade to Luminis 5 the Web Content team is working on redesigning the PirateNet experience for our users, and they have a class from our School of Business running focus groups in their survey and focus group lab in Jubilee Hall.  Getting user input into the design / redesign is an important part of portal development, but the SHU team here in NOLA had the same comments regarding the presentation – they wanted and expected more technical details regarding Luminis 5, not an overview on seeking user input on portal design.

I’ve been slow to post updates from NOLA.  There’s an incredible amount of information to digest.  I’ll have more posts up later today.

Steve Landry

Some Highlights of Sungard Summit Day 1

I just wanted to post some very brief observations and highlights from Day 1 here at Sungard Summit 2011.  Many of us participating in Summit 2011 attended different sessions, and those that view the same sessions as I did might have different highlights and takeaways, so please feel free to add or extend to these comments.

Opening plenary:

I enjoyed Cokie Roberts talk.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I hadn’t realized she has family ties to NO, and she had some interesting anecdotes.  My favorite of her many observations was her comment that the income gap in the United States does is really an education gap, and we in higher ed have a lot of work ahead if we’re to achieve President Obama’s goal of having the highest college graduation rate in the world by 2020.

Banner General Kickoff

A number of initiatives launched at Summit 2010 are making progress.  In the past year the community source initiative has posted over a hundred community shared enhancements and ten of these have been incorporated into Banner baseline.

Project Infinity has had tremendous take-up on the hosted federal financial aid analysis module,  and Sungard is able to deliver new regulatory updates much sooner in the their hosted environment than through code updates to clients.

Like previous Summits, this was an event with some significant announcements from Sungard.  Project Horizon is making significant progress, and is being re-branded as Banner 9.  Unlike previous Banner upgrades, Banner 8 and Banner 9 can co-exist, giving campuses the opportunity to to smaller modular upgrades rather than having to upgrade everything at the same time.  No de-support date for Banner 8 is being announced, and Sungard is providing assurance that they will continue to provide regulatory and security updates to Banner 8 for some time to come, but future features and new functionality will be developed in Banner 9.

Course Signals is a Banner add-on that is intended to combine information from LMS’s like Blackboard and Banner to provide early warning for students at risk in individual courses.

Banner Student Kickoff

Sungard is re-organizing the student services unit into Banner Student Services (registration, course scheduling) and Banner Student Financial Services (financial aid and bursar).

Banner 8.5 is scheduled for release this summer and will include some new features.

Banner Flexible Enrollment is an add-on to Banner Student that is designed to support continuing education endeavors.

Most of the talk was taken up by a discussion of the timeline for Banner 9; the Banner Student Horizon / Project 9 roadmap should be available today in the Commons.

Others will have more to post regarding their highlights of Day 1.  Now on to Day 2!

Steve Landry

First Piece of Info from NO

I shared a cab last night from the airport with Lori, a financial aid consultant from the midwest.  The campus she’s working with has been on Banner 8 for about a year.  She says we’re really going to like Banner 8; she reports that there’s some new functionality she thinks we’ll find useful, especially regards to compliance.

Lori has been in NO for a previous Sungard Summit, and she gives some good advise to those of us in the “on ground” conference:  wear comfortable shoes!  She says that the conference center is VERY large and that the sessions are VERY spread out, and so there’s a LOT more walking than we might anticipate.


Some Things for Us to Find Out at Sungard Summit 2011

As we discussed in our meetings for attendees, Sungard Summit provides us with a tremendous professional development opportunity.  The significant participation of Seton Hall University in the “on ground” and virtual summits provide us with an opportunity to learn a lot more about the system we rely on to provide services to our students and colleagues.  While we have had substantial achievements with Banner since our first steps toward implementation in 2006 through last year’s upgrade to Banner 8, much work remains to be done.  There are features of Banner that we have licensed but not yet implemented, such as Banner Workflow and Banner EDW.  There are many new features in Banner 8 that we have not yet learned or implemented.  And Banner itself is rapidly evoloving into a very different architecture that will provide more features but will also require different knowledge and skills to manage.  Here are some of the questions we should all consider as we participate in Sungard Summit 2011.

How can we continue to learn from Sungard and our peer institutions about the ways we can use Banner to improve access to information and services and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the University?

How can we best implement currently licensed (but not yet used) Banner components such as EDW and Workflow?

What new features of Banner 8 will allow us to do our jobs better or more easily and help us improve University services and efficiency?

What is the roadmap for the evolution of the Banner ERP system and how can we best prepare for the coming changes and take advantage of new features and services?