ERP: A Software Upgrade
It is time for Brandon University to overhaul some of our legacy software systems, especially in student records and administration.
Many of these custom-built or licensed programs are outdated, and they do not work well together. Not only is this frustrating for students and for everyone who uses these tools as part of their jobs, it also means that BU is not as effective as we should be, and we are inefficient when compared to other universities.
We want Brandon University to be a leading university of choice for students, faculty, and staff among its peer post-secondary institutions. Improving the student experience is one of the University’s primary goals as we seek new ways of providing better service.
Moving to an ERP would be a complex process that would affect most of the University. Here are some answers to common questions.
Share your ideas
We need your help to make sure we find the right fit for BU. Tell us your thoughts on BU’s future software systems.
What are we doing?
We are exploring the move to an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system: a very large software package that can manage most of BU’s administration and records. This means we would use the same, modern tools as other universities do to:
- Recruit, admit and register students in classes
- Input and track student grades, marks and degree pathways
- Process tuition payments
- Manage our accounting and budgeting processes
- Maintain alumni and donor connections
- Administer payroll and benefits
- And more
An ERP would mean a technical upgrade with built-in support for mobile devices and web applications and would replace BU’s custom-built software, some of which is rooted in the 1970s. Staff who originally programmed that software and who have maintained it since then are among those strongly encouraging BU to look at moving to a modern replacement.
A fully integrated ERP will bring BU up to current industry standard for post-secondary education, meeting the expectations of today’s students, faculty and staff. It will also ensure that our systems remain current for years into the future. An ERP can also help us eliminate many of our inefficiencies and workarounds that have built up here over the years. In all likelihood, an ERP will involve changes to at least some work, information and records processes for people right across campus, but it will also provide many service improvements for both students and employees.
This is a big job. We have partnered with CampusWorks, an exclusively higher ed consulting and services firm with nearly 20 years’ experience throughout Canada and the US. They have helped more than 100 post-secondary institutions evaluate, select and implement an ERP system.
Our focus right now is collecting information. This information-gathering phase is expected to last through spring and into summer 2019. We need to know the full scope of how things are done in each department, and where your pain points are. CampusWorks will be on campus in early February, to host faculty, staff and student workshops. They will also do some targeted assessments. We encourage you to share processes that cause you grief, workflow roadblocks, or lengthy delays that you’ve experienced. Especially please share your suggestions on how it can be improved.
The information we gather from you and from our assessments will help us to better understand our current processes and teach us more about the difficulties that everyone faces with our current systems. As we get closer to autumn, we will be applying those lessons to help us design and map better and more efficient ways to meet the needs of students and our colleagues. This will help guide our exploration of ERP options through an official Request for Proposal.
By winter of 2019-20, we expect to present one or more options to the BU Board of Governors, which will decide how to proceed. A full transition to an ERP would be done with care over a period of several years.
- Feb 13, 2019 — Future Forward: Brandon ERP Modernization — Needs Assessment First Look presentation
- Feb. 12, 2019 — Trends in Post-Secondary Education Administrative Systems video
- Feb. 1, 2019 — ERP Town Hall video
See previous updates and related resources here.