Archive for ‘Banner’

December 2017

0 Commentsby   |  01.10.18  |  Banner, Security

2017: A “Banner” Year

Here are noteworthy statistics that tell some of the stories of our exceptional year:

  • 2,127 end-user support requests resolved (209 more than the previous record)
  • 1,089 development and administration issues resolved (139 more than the previous record)
  • 52 projects requested
  • 43 project completed
  • 7 new services and integrations added
  • services and integrations removed
  • 99.92% average uptime (new record)
  • 286 employees attended Banner 9 information and training sessions
  • 199 Banner updates applied (105 Banner 9 updates)
  • modules live on Banner 9 (two more to come in 2018)
  • presentation proposal accepted for Ellucian 2018 conference in April (“Banner 9: How Green Is The Grass On The Other Side?”)
  • Countless emails, phone calls, meetings, and sidewalk conversations about Banner 9

Are Robots Taking Over the World?

We don’t think it will happen soon, but 2017 saw a rise in powerful technologies, services, and applications in many industries (self-driving cars, virtual assistants like Alexa, chatbots for self-service, machine learning for data analytics, etc.).  We spend time each month exploring topics like automation and artificial intelligence to understand technology trends and how they may intersect with higher education.   Some of the most promising applications assist and enhance humans rather than replace the human altogether.  Our explorations have included a lot of reading, listening, discussion, and experimentation.  We will explore exciting areas like this in 2018 as many of these technologies no longer appear to be the stuff of science fiction or short-term fad. 

Privacy Is Our Shared Responsibility

No matter how you define customers, you and your organization collect their information, and it is up to you to respect and keep their information private.  You don’t need to understand the nuances of every privacy regulation currently affecting higher education to tackle data privacy issues on campus. Whether you are working on a data breach response plan, updating institutional policies, collaborating with researchers on a new project, or educating students, faculty, and staff about data privacy, consider teaming up with your institution’s privacy officer(s). Here are some helpful tips to consider that will help you effectively protect the privacy of students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

More Banner 9 in 2018

We did not hit our original target to have all Administrative Banner modules upgraded to Banner 9 by the end of 2017, but we made significant progress.  Here are highlights of our work in December as well as work coming up:

  • Less Banner 8 – Most Banner 8 forms in General, Finance, Human Resources, Position Control and Student have been disabled.  We have a few remaining Banner 8 forms that are still active due to defects in Banner 9 or dependencies in the modules that remain in Banner 8.
  • Custom forms – We are close to completing migrations for most of the remaining custom-created forms that will live on in Banner 9.  We are removing 60 out of the 80 customizations we have in Banner 8.
  • Updates – We will apply multiple updates to the existing Banner 9 modules in the next month or two, which includes updates to Accounts Receivable, Finance, and Student.
  • Last Banner 9 steps – The first Banner 9 upgrades for Advancement and Financial Aid have been scheduled over the next few months.  We anticipate completion of most updates by the end of March.

December 2017, By The Numbers

Here are Computing Services’ statistics for December 2017:

  • 107 end-user support requests resolved
  • 61 development and administration issues resolved
  • 17 projects-in-progress
  • project completed
  • projects requested
  • 99.96% average uptime

November 2017

0 Commentsby   |  12.06.17  |  Banner

Preparing Students For Technology Careers

Information Technology provides students with real-world experience that prepares them for technology careers.  Our students power the Helpdesk and Team55, provide network and telephone support, and participate in significant programming projects.  Student programmers in Computing Services have played a key role in projects for ACU Blogs, Adobe Creative Cloud, Banner, and myACU.  Two December graduates that work in IT, Alicia Clark and Travis Cook, are highlighted in a recent School of Information Technology and Computing (SITC) blog post.  Graduates who worked in Information Technology have gone on to successful careers for companies such as RackSpace and USAA.

Your Mobile Devices Won’t Secure Themselves!

Mobile devices are everywhere — pockets, purses, nightstands, cars — and so are the security threats related to their use. Add to that the use of home networks, cloud backups, and the Internet of Things, and the risk escalates! Here are a few things you can do to protect your devices and personal information on campus, at home, or at work.

Banner 9 Project Updates

Here are highlights of our work in November as well as next steps:

  • We turned off access to most Banner Student 8 forms in mid-November.
  • Our programmers converted and deployed five custom forms to Banner 9 that support chapel and judicial affairs functions in Student Life.
  • Ellucian consulting services delivered the first release for six custom forms that they are converting for us.  We will test the forms and work towards completion of the project in early 2018.
  • We started work on updates to existing Banner 9 modules (Accounts Receivable, Finance, Financial Aid, and Student), which we plan to complete by early 2018.
  • Banner Advancement 9 has been installed in a test environment so that Advancement team can complete initial testing.

By The Numbers

Here are Computing Services’ statistics for November 2017:

  • 118 end-user support requests resolved
  • 71 development and administration issues resolved
  • 14 projects-in-progress
  • project completed
  • projects requested
  • 99.98% average uptime

October 2017

0 Commentsby   |  11.07.17  |  Banner, Security

By The Numbers

Here are Computing Services’ statistics for October 2017:

  • 169 end-user support requests resolved (new record for October)
  • 89 development and administration issues resolved
  • 11 projects-in-progress
  • project completed
  • projects requested
  • 99.99% average uptime

Are You Prepared?

Information Technology provides cybersecurity awareness training for faculty and staff. This training consists of three modules that each take approximately 15 minutes to complete: “Email Security,” “Safe Social Networks,” and “URL Training.” Employees can access the training through the “Cyber Security Training” quicklink in myACU.

 

Banner 9 Project Updates

We are among a small percentage of schools that have made significant progress with the Banner 9 implementation.  Here are highlights of our work in the last month:

  • We installed updates to many of the existing Banner 9 components to address known issues and introduce improvements.
  • We kicked off a project with Ellucian to help us migrate some of our custom forms while our programming team addresses some of this as well.  We will reduce our custom form count by almost 75%.
  • We turned off access to most Banner 8 forms for Human Resources and Position Control.  We will disable most Banner Student 8 forms next week.

Career Paths In Cybersecurity

The cybersecurity field continues to grow along with the need for new workforce talent. In fact, the 2016 EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research’s study on the higher education IT workforce showed that cybersecurity management skillsets are among those most in demand in higher education today.  Here are some ways to spread the word about potential career paths and internship opportunities that can provide vital hands-on experience as these students get ready to join the workforce.

September 2017

0 Commentsby   |  10.04.17  |  Banner, Security, google, tips

By The Numbers

Here are Computing Services’ statistics for September 2017:

  • 226 end-user support requests resolved (new record for September)
  • 93 development and administration issues resolved
  • 15 projects-in-progress
  • project completed
  • 1 projects requested
  • 99.97% average uptime

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

For more than a decade, colleges and universities have promoted National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) each October as part of a collaborative effort to ensure that everyone has the resources they need to stay safe online.  Here are some practical ways to be involved:

  1. Security Training – Information Technology is offering cyber security awareness training for faculty and staff. This training is comprised of three modules, “Email Security,” “Safe Social Networks,” and “URL Training.” Each module takes around 15 minutes to complete.  Please contact the Helpdesk for the web address.
  2. Security Measures with Google – Did you know that Google provides users with tools to help protect your account?  Do you know what a phishing message looks like and how to handle it?   We are partnering with ACU’s Innovation Foundry to offer a Gmail security session on Thursday, October 19th at 11 am.  Please join us in the Innovation Foundry on the top floor of the ACU Library to learn more.  If you plan to attend, then please visit the events page to RSVP.
  3. Information Security is Our Responsibility – In honor of NCSAM — and because information security is everyone’s responsibility — we offer the following tips to help you remain vigilant with your accounts and devices.

It’s All In My Head

How do you manage information that is critical to your department’s operation?  How do you train and prepare a new hire when they join your team?  Do you know what tools ACU provides for managing your information?  We are offering a knowledge management session on Thursday, October 5th at 11 am in the Innovation Foundry.  Please join us to learn about the tools and methods that will make your department more efficient.  If you plan to attend, then please visit the Innovation Foundry events page to RSVP.

Did You Know?

Do you find it challenging to find a time that works for everyone that needs to be included in a meeting?  Google Calendar provides a Suggested Times feature, which will automatically find times and locations for you.  Suggested Times is an excellent alternative to third-party tools such as Doodle where you have to poll people for availability.  Use of the feature requires that all meeting participants share free/busy access to their calendars at a minimum.

Banner 9 Project Updates

Here are the highlights of a busy month of September as well as upcoming work:

  • We trained 125 users in the basics of Banner 9 during August and September.
  • We are preparing updates to many of the existing Banner 9 components later this month.
  • We are ramping up work to migrate Banner forms customizations to Banner 9.  We will reduce our custom form count by almost 75%. We are partnering with Ellucian to help us migrate some of these custom forms.
  • We are still targeting completion of the Administrative Banner upgrades to version 9 by the end of this year.

Major Change for Banner General Forms

0 Commentsby   |  09.22.17  |  Banner

Please note these important details regarding changes we are making to some of the old Banner 8 functionality in Administrative Banner:

  • What is changing? We are disabling access to most General forms in Banner 8.  Banner General includes forms with the letter G in the first place of the seven-letter acronym (e.g., GOAMTCH).  This change does not include some custom forms that begin with the letters GZ.  Users who try to access a General form in Banner 8 will see an error.  You must use Banner 9 to access these forms.
  • When will the changes take place? The changes will be in place by the time you arrive to work on Thursday, September 28th.
  • How do I access Banner 9? Please contact the Helpdesk.
  • Where can I find more information about Banner 9? We have answered the most common Banner 9 questions in a frequently asked questions page that is accessible through the “Banner 9 FAQs” quicklink in myACU.
  • What should I do if I experience a problem? Please contact the Helpdesk at helpdesk@acu.edu or (325) 674-4357.

 

August 2017

0 Commentsby   |  09.04.17  |  Banner, Business Intelligence, Security

August 2017 by the Numbers

  • 247 end-user support requests resolved (new record for month of August and most for single month)
  • 104 development and administration issues resolved (new record for month of August)
  • 13 projects-in-progress
  • project completed
  • 9 projects requested
  • 99.91% average uptime

Reach Out

Please remember to reach out to the Helpdesk with all of your technical inquiries and problems. The Helpdesk can be contacted by phone at 674-HELP (x4357), or at helpdesk@acu.edu. We have added a call-back feature, so you do not have to wait in the phone queue. For technology problems that are disruptive during a class, please call 674-NEED (x6333) for immediate help.

Computer Security Change

At the recommendation of the Board of Trustees, IT worked with a security company to conduct a security and risk assessment. One of the resulting recommendations was that we implement a setting to lock computers after 30 minutes of inactivity to increase safeguards around unattended workstations. This change is implemented for faculty and staff PCs and is in the process of being rolled out for Macs.

Did You Know?

We use tools to monitor availability and performance of critical applications, such as single sign-on and myACU.  Our system status report is available under the Technology tab in myACU or can be accessed directly.

Discoverer Transition

The Business Intelligence office has converted 116 reports, but many still need to be reviewed for accuracy and approved by users.  This Discoverer Transition post outlines the expectations and responsibilities for Discoverer users.  Please contact Will Wyatt, will.wyatt@acu.edu, if you have any questions.

Optimizing and Enhancing Operations

We help the university to optimize and enhance operations by adopting new applications, automating manual work, and creating integration between Banner and third-party applications.  This fall we will complete multiple projects in this realm, including automation of manual processes to change records for students who cancel enrollment and enhanced data integration between Salesforce and Banner.

Avoiding Ransomware Attacks

Phishing attacks — which often contain ransomware — pose a major risk to everyone, leaving people vulnerable to information and privacy losses, identity theft, and extortion.  Learn more about the warning signs of phishing and ransomware, the potential risks of falling prey to an attack, and how you can protect yourself.

Banner 9 Project Updates

Here are the highlights of a busy month of August as well as upcoming work:

  • In preparation for the start of the Fall 2017 term, we installed updates to Accounts Receivable, General and Student.
  • We trained over 100 users in the basics of Banner 9 and have two more sessions scheduled in September.
  • The first Financial Aid 9 update is ready for testing with a go-live to-be-determined.
  • We are preparing updates to existing Banner 9 components during September and October.
  • We are ramping up work to migrate Banner forms customizations to Banner 9.  We will reduce our custom form count by almost 75%.

July 2017

0 Commentsby   |  08.07.17  |  Banner, Business Intelligence, Security, Uncategorized

Did You Know?

We increased third-party application integrations by 34% over the last four years, which represents the largest growth in our service portfolio.  This increase follows a national trend where institutions are frequently adopting cloud-based solutions that integrate with core services like Banner and single sign-on.  Some of our most recent integrations include Barnes & Noble for ID card usage in the bookstore, TeamDynamix for IT support ticket management, and What’s Happening on the Hill for Student Life activities.  We have five new integrations scheduled for completion over the next six months.

Discoverer Transition

The Business Intelligence office is on track to transition Discoverer reports to Cognos by December 31, 2017. Discoverer users have been contacted about transition plans. Please visit the Analytics blog for more information about the transition.

Are You Considering A New Software Implementation?

Please include us, even if the IT impact seems minimal so that we can ask questions, provide feedback, and plan ahead before committing.  We compiled some questions on our New Software Inquiry page to help guide those who are exploring a new software or service. You can share this page with a potential vendor so that they can answer the questions directly.

Are You Practicing Safe Social Networking?

Millions of Internet users engage in social networking, and many of them assume they are in a safe, controlled environment. However, social networking presents unique security challenges and risks.  Here are some tips to use social media safely and own your online presence.

Banner 9 Project Update

We are making more progress towards completion of the Administrative Banner updates we have planned for the rest of the year:

  • We will install updates to many existing Banner 9 components over the next two weeks, which will resolve numerous issues and prepare us for the start of the Fall 2017 term.
  • We are providing user training sessions to better prepare folks for Banner 9, with seven sessions scheduled over the next two and a half weeks.
  • The first Accounts Receivable 9 update is tentatively scheduled to go live this month.
  • The first Financial Aid 9 update is ready for testing with a go-live to-be-determined.

July 2017 by the Numbers

  • 164 end-user support requests resolved (new record for month of July)
  • 65 development and administration issues resolved (new record for month of July)
  • 11 projects-in-progress
  • project completed
  • 5 projects requested
  • 99.99% average uptime

June 2017

0 Commentsby   |  07.07.17  |  Banner, Security, tips

Did You Know?

Did you know that Google provides users with tools to help protect your account?  Do you know what a phishing message looks like and how to handle it?   We are partnering with ACU’s Innovation Foundry to offer a Gmail security session on Thursday, July 13th at 11 am.  Please join us in the Innovation Foundry on the top floor of the ACU Library to learn more.  If you plan to attend, then please visit the events page to RSVP.

You Can Do That?

Do you find yourself typing the same reply in an email when someone sends you a standard question?  Do you send messages on a regular basis that have a particular format and layout that you end up retyping or copying and pasting from a previously-sent message?  Gmail includes a Labs feature called Canned Responses that can help with this.  Watch this helpful video or follow the steps to set this up in your Gmail account.

Think You’ve Been Hacked?

Compromised accounts happen. Quick identification and response can reduce the harm done to your account and your information. Here are some signs to help you determine if you have been hacked as well as steps you can take to recover.

Banner 9 Project Update

We crossed the halfway point in the Banner 9 upgrade process for Administrative Banner in June with the upgrades to Banner Finance and Banner Student.  Here are some upcoming milestones:

  • Accounts Receivable 9 update testing is underway with a go-live targeted later this month.
  • We are applying updates to address known issues with Application Navigator, General 9, and Student 9. We intend to apply these updates to production by the end of the month.
  • Financial Aid 9 update testing will start this month with a go-live to-be-determined.

We continue to target completion of all Administrative Banner updates by the end of 2017.

June 2017 by the Numbers

  • 183 end-user support requests resolved (new record for month of June)
  • 115 development and administration issues resolved (new record for month of June)
  • 10 projects-in-progress
  • project completed
  • 4 projects requested
  • 99.95% average uptime

May 2017

0 Commentsby   |  06.05.17  |  Banner, Ellucian, Security

Did you know?

We support teaching and learning by integrating Banner and single sign-on with essential services such as the Canvas learning management system (LMS).  During the Spring 2017 term, 828 courses taught through the main campus used the Canvas course tool, which involved 314 faculty and 3,916 students.

Our Service Portfolio

We maintain a service portfolio of 131 services that support critical operations of the university.  Services include Banner, myACU, single sign-on, CS Gold ID card system, and much more.  We implemented 11 new services and removed nine services during the fiscal year 2017 (June 2016 through May 2017).    Eight out of the 11 new services were data integrations with services like Banner, which continues a multi-year trend where most new projects involve integration work.

Basic Steps to Online Safety and Security

Follow these six National Cyber Security Alliance recommendations to better protect yourself online and make the Internet more secure for everyone.

Google Security Tools

Google provides G Suite users with multiple tools to help protect your account and address potential security issues.  You can use these helpful resources to manage your account and combat phishing attempts.

Banner 9

We will cross the halfway point in the Banner 9 upgrade process for Administrative Banner in June with the upgrades to Banner Finance and Banner Student. Next up is Accounts Receivable 9, which will start this week.  We are refining our project timeline for the remaining Administrative Banner 9 updates, Self-Service Banner 9 updates, and custom form conversions. We are still targeting completion of all Administrative Banner updates by the end of 2017.

May 2017 by the Numbers

  • 222 end-user support requests resolved (new record for month of May)
  • 105 development and administration issues resolved (new record for month of May)
  • 14 projects-in-progress
  • project completed
  • 5 projects requested
  • 99.59% average uptime

April 2017

0 Commentsby   |  05.04.17  |  Banner, Security

April 2017 by the numbers:

  • 192 end-user support requests resolved (new record for month of April)
  • 117 development and administration issues resolved (new record for month of April)
  • 126 development and administration issues created
  • 11 projects in-progress
  • project completed
  • 5 projects requested
  • 99.82% average uptime

Step Up to Stronger Passwords

A password is often all that stands between you and sensitive data. It’s also often all that stands between a cybercriminal and your account. Here are tips to help you create stronger passwords, manage them more easily, and take one further step to protect against account theft.

Banner 9

We successfully updated to Banner General 9 on April 7th and Banner Human Resources 9 on May 1st.  In the next seven weeks, we will upgrade Finance and Student, which will move us past the half-way point in the update process.  We are developing a timeline for the remaining Administrative Banner 9 updates as well as Self-Service Banner 9 updates.  We are still targeting completion of all Administrative Banner updates by the end of 2017.

What else is going on?

  • Custom Administrative Banner forms – We must migrate custom forms to Banner 9, which requires a significant investment in work and/or dollars.  A custom form is a form that was created by ACU programmers and is identified by the letter Z in the second place of the seven-letter acronym.  We are gathering feedback from various users to help us determine if forms need to persist or can be retired in favor of baseline functionality in the Banner platform.
  • New Student Orientation (NSO) course – We partnered with the Academic Advising Center to automatically enroll NSO registrants in a Canvas course that will help prepare incoming students for their time at ACU.  Students are automatically added to this course once they register for one of the NSO orientation sessions.
  • Cybersecurity – The security of the services we administer and support is a crucial element of our work.  This includes routine activities, such as proactively addressing vulnerabilities, applying application updates, and monitoring application activity. In the last month, we collaborated with a third-party security audit firm to complete a security audit, which will help us better protect our users and services.