Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

July 2018

0 Commentsby   |  08.09.18  |  Uncategorized

July 2018, By The Numbers

  • 110 end-user support requests resolved
  • 61 development and administration issues resolved
  • projects-in-progress
  • projects completed (Banner Advancement 9, Banner Advancement custom forms, and remote IT services transition)
  • projects requested
  • 99.99% average uptime

ACU Files End-of-life

Xythos (aka Files, ACU Files, myACU Files, dropbox system) will be removed from service on Thursday, December 20, 2018.  The change will impact those who use Xythos for classes, personal web space, personal home space, and departmental shares.  Information Technology personnel are coordinating with individuals and departments to ensure a smooth transition well in advance of the end date.  Users of these services will receive targeted communications with more details soon. 

Project Updates

  • Banner 9 status – With the go-live of Banner Advancement 9 on July 23rd, we only have a few remaining items left in the Administrative Banner modernization project, which includes migration of two custom forms and the Banner Financial Aid 9 go-live.  We anticipate completion of the work later this fall.
  • Dining services change – The university’s transition to Chartwells required our work to integrate Chartwells’ point-of-sale (POS) system with our ID card system, in addition to work by our colleagues in Enterprise Infrastructure for network connectivity and construction projects.
  • Slate CRM go-live – Residential graduate admissions and undergraduate admissions are transitioning to Slate CRM after use of Talisma since 2006. Slate gives the admissions groups an improved and modern system for recruiting and admissions.  We are creating the integration with Banner so that data will automatically flow between the two systems.

June 2018

0 Commentsby   |  07.11.18  |  Uncategorized

June 2018, By The Numbers

Here are Computing Services’ statistics for June 2018:

  • 157 end-user support requests resolved
  • 84 development and administration issues resolved
  • 10 projects-in-progress
  • projects completed (PageUp, Banner Finance 9 update, and Ellucian Ethos Integration)
  • project requested (move to Strata Information Group for remote IT services)
  • 99.87% average uptime

New Services and Transitions

The month of June included the introduction of new services and some transitions:

  • PageUp go-live – The new talent management system, PageUp, went live on June 1st, which completed a collaborative project with Human Resources that started in mid-October 2017.  PageUp streamlines processes and includes integration with Banner.
  • Ellucian Ethos Integration go-live – The Ethos Integration platform standardizes integrations between Banner and third-party applications.  We are working with multiple vendors to establish integrations in the coming months.
  • Remote IT services change – We transitioned to Strata Information Group (SIG) for remote administration of Banner updates and Oracle databases, which signaled the end of a six-year relationship with Ellucian for similar services.  The move to SIG provides operational efficiencies for some of our most critical applications and will allow us to control costs better.  We appreciate the work that Ellucian completed on our behalf, including the move to Banner 9.
  • Student Financial Services work – We helped Student Financial Services prepare Fall 2018 aid and bills, submit regulatory reports, test Banner Financial Aid 9, and navigate personnel changes. We anticipate similar tasks this month as the Fall 2018 term nears.


May 2018

0 Commentsby   |  06.06.18  |  Uncategorized

May 2018, By The Numbers

Here are Computing Services’ statistics for May 2018:

  • 161 end-user support requests resolved
  • 86 development and administration issues resolved
  • 12 projects-in-progress
  • project completed (includes go-live of Blue course evaluation system)
  • project requested
  • 99.95% average uptime

Fiscal Year 2018 – The Rise of Integrations

We maintain a service portfolio of 135 services that power critical functions for the university.  We implemented 14 new services and removed 12 services during fiscal year 2018 (June 2017 through May 2018).    All 14 new services are data integrations with services like Banner and single sign-on, which follows a multi-year trend where most new projects involve integration work.  Seven of the new integrations improve the student experience, including AcademicWorks and CampusLogic for financial aid and Adirondack for on-campus housing management.

Professional Development Never Stops

The information technology industry requires us to consistently explore new technologies and gain expertise so that we adequately support the campus and remain relevant.  Every year we set learning goals to address this, which are attained by attending conferences, reading books and trade publications, and taking online courses from platforms like Coursera and Udemy.  We also participate in team activities to explore emerging technologies and discuss ways these technologies could benefit the campus.  Along the way, we gain knowledge, skills, and have fun.

Beef Up Your Physical Security

With the threat of hacking, malware, phishing, and other digital threats constantly looming, it can be easy to overlook the importance of physical security best practices.  Employing good physical security practices does not have to include hiring a detachment of the queen’s guard (though this might be an excellent attraction for prospective students!).  Here are a few basic physical security tips that can substantially improve the institution’s security risk profile.

April 2018

0 Commentsby   |  05.08.18  |  Uncategorized

April 2018, By The Numbers

Here are Computing Services’ statistics for April 2018:

  • 118 end-user support requests resolved
  • 65 development and administration issues resolved
  • 13 projects-in-progress
  • project completed (custom Banner form conversions)
  • project requested
  • 99.99% average uptime

Did You Know?

Computing Services personnel have an average of 17 years of service in the information technology industry and an average of 10 years of service to ACU.  Our highly-skilled team creates, installs, maintains and supports a dynamic service portfolio that includes a diverse set of technologies and vendors.  We are proud of our ability to attract and retain talented people who believe in ACU’s mission to educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world.

Use Strong Passwords and Passphrases

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes out there, and it can take a lot of time, effort, and money to recover from this sort of crime.  Your passwords are the key to a host of information about you, and potentially those close to you. If someone can access your personal information, it can have serious long-term effects—and not just online!  Follow these recommendations to protect your identity while making the Internet more secure for everyone.

March 2018

0 Commentsby   |  04.13.18  |  Uncategorized

March 2018, By The Numbers

Here are Computing Services’ statistics for March 2018:

  • 114 end-user support requests resolved
  • 91 development and administration issues resolved
  • 14 projects-in-progress
  • projects completed (includes significant projects, such as the Universal Cancellation Process and Banner Student Registration 9)
  • projects requested
  • 99.98% average uptime

Lead Every Day

Our professional development theme this school year is to “lead every day.”  The theme centers around the idea that leadership is based on influence rather than position or title.  We have challenged each other to be intentional about the way we use our influence to help others, share expertise, and guide people to decisions.  If you have an opportunity, please ask our team members how they are leading.

Spring Cleaning—Be Green, Not Blue

Recycled or donated computers containing the confidential information of the prior owner continue to be a source of embarrassment or identity theft. Many still believe that dragging a file to the recycle bin removes the data from the machine, or that all computer drives write and overwrite data in the same way. Here are some steps you can take to remove anxiety later that forgotten sensitive files on your last laptop could become a source of embarrassment or identity theft.


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

February 2017

0 Commentsby   |  03.07.17  |  Uncategorized

February 2017 by the numbers:

  • 161 end-user support requests resolved
  • 84 development and administration issues resolved
  • 99 development and administration issues created
  • projects in-progress
  • project completed
  • 3 projects requested
  • 99.97% average uptime
  • 146 people attended Banner 9 information sessions

Security Tips for Traveling at Home and Abroad

We all like to travel with our mobile devices (smartphones, laptops, or tablets) — whether it’s to the coffee shop around the corner or to a café in Paris. These devices make it easy for us to stay connected while on the go, but they can also store a lot of information — including contacts, photos, videos, location, and other personal and financial data — about ourselves and our friends and family. Here are some ways to protect yourself and others.

Banner XE is Banner 9

Ellucian announced in early February that Banner XE, the next major update, has been rebranded as Banner 9, which is the version number associated with the new release.  Our first set of updates for Banner have been delayed as a result of critical issues that we identified in late February.  We hope to announce a go-live date in the next few weeks.

What else is going on?

  • Banner projects – We are in the midst of multiple projects related to the Banner 9 updates, including finalization of the first phase of updates as well as planning the next phases (Finance, Human Resources and Student).  We are also working on multiple development projects to migrate some of our custom Banner forms into the new Banner 9 interface.
  • Data integration maintenance – We have been working on multiple data integration maintenance projects, which includes Activity Insight (Provost’s Office), Reeher (Advancement), and Follett (ACU Online).
  • Financial Aid – We are working with our colleagues in Student Financial Services to prepare for personnel transitions as well as tasks related to the 2017-2018 financial aid awarding cycle.


October 2016

0 Commentsby   |  11.07.16  |  Uncategorized

October 2016 by the numbers:

  • 151 end-user support requests resolved
  • 104 development and administration issues resolved
  • 97 new development and administration issues created
  • projects in-progress
  • projects completed
  • 99.99% average uptime

Did you know?

The threat of identity theft (ID theft) is real, and it can take months or years to recover once you become a victim. Recent statistics show that each year approximately 15 million U.S. residents have their identities used fraudulently. In addition, nearly 100 million Americans have their personal information placed at risk of theft each year when records in databases are lost, stolen, or accessed by unauthorized individuals.  Here are some tips to help prevent ID theft.

What else is going on?

  • Personnel changes –  We are moving one of our Systems Analysts, Brennan Turner, into the open programmer position, which means that we are searching for a Systems Analyst.  We are currently reviewing applicants and will start interviews soon.
  • ACU Dallas campus projects – We are working on multiple projects for the Dallas campus, including improvements to student billing and integration with a new textbook vendor.
  • Travel and expense management – We are in the final stages of data integration work for our new travel and expense management system, Concur.  Select employees will start piloting the new system soon.

See October 2016 – Resolved Issues for more details.


July 2016

0 Commentsby   |  08.08.16  |  Uncategorized

Here are the highlights for July 2016 as well as our ongoing work:

  • 49 development issues and 132 end-user support requests were resolved.
  • We recorded an overall application uptime of 99.97%.
  • Did you know? Computing Services personnel have a combined 120 years of service in the information technology industry and a collective 71 years of service to ACU.  Our highly-skilled team creates, installs, maintains and supports a service portfolio that includes many technologies, hosting configurations, clients, programming languages and vendors.
  • Banner updates – We are working with campus colleagues to install and test a set of updates for Banner that are necessary for upcoming Ellucian Extensible Ecosystem (Ellucian XE) upgrades.  Our current project is focused on the XE Registration upgrade, which will modernize and improve the class registration process for students.
  • Travel and expense management – Work is well under way to implement data integration for a new travel and expense management application that will go live later this fall.  We are collaborating with folks from Finance and Operations as well as our vendor to implement the necessary integration with Banner.
  • Summer maintenance and start of Fall 2016 – We wrapped up updates to the Banner infrastructure, the CBORD CS Gold campus ID card system, and Xythos (myACU Files) last month.  We are working on final updates to myACU and blogs this week before entering a change moratorium from Monday, August 15th, until Tuesday, September 6th.  The next three weeks will be busy as we wrap up summer projects and support faculty, staff and students at the start of the term.

See July 2016 – Resolved Issues for more details.


June 2016

0 Commentsby   |  07.07.16  |  Uncategorized

Here are the highlights for June 2016 as well as our ongoing work:

  • 74 development issues and 143 end-user support requests were resolved.
  • We recorded an overall application uptime of 99.96%.
  • Did you know? For many years, we have equipped faculty with a set of course tools that are easily activated and configured through myACU.  The current tool set includes Blog, Calendar, Canvas, and Files (Classfolders and Dropboxes).  Tools are enabled with a few clicks in myACU and automatically provide access to all faculty, students and teaching assistants associated with a course.  Faculty can create the Blog and Canvas tools as a copy of a previous course so that they can start with previously-used content.
  • Banner updates – Work is well under way to implement the next generation of the Banner platform with applications like Employee Profile and Student Advising Profile already in production.  The Ellucian Extensible Ecosystem, or simply Ellucian XE, will provide a modern web interface that is mobile, simple and flexible.  Those who use Internet Native Banner (aka INB, Big Banner and Banner Forms) will be pleased that INB will be completely web-based with no Java requirement.  The complete XE project is expected to take the next 18 to 24 months to complete.
  • Summer upgrades and improvements – We have multiple summer upgrades scheduled over the next month, including major updates to the Banner infrastructure, myACU and the CBORD CS Gold campus ID card system.  Most of this work should be completed by the end of this month.

See June 2016 – Resolved Issues for a more in-depth summary.