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Leaping Forward:. Positioning Yourself for a Successful System Implementation. The Pennsylvania State University Dawn Boyer, ITS Carol Findley, OUR Melanie Schuster, ITS. ISIS History. Electronic Data Systems (EDS) Went Live in 1983 with Admissions

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Leaping forward

Leaping Forward:

Positioning Yourself for a Successful System Implementation

The Pennsylvania State University

Dawn Boyer, ITS

Carol Findley, OUR

Melanie Schuster, ITS

Isis history
ISIS History

  • Electronic Data Systems (EDS)

  • Went Live in 1983 with Admissions

  • Considered “State of the Art” System at the time

  • Built to reflect processes and University structure in early 1980s

What is isis
What is ISIS?

  • From Penn State Newswire, March 21, 2013

  • ISIS is integral to the work and academic needs of tens of thousandsof Penn State community members daily. Not only is ISIS used to manage billing, student aid awarding, course scheduling, transcripts, and student records for Penn State students from admission through graduation, but it is also the backbone for eLion, Penn State's Web-based system for students, advisers and faculty.

Elion background
eLion Background

  • Web-based application (portal)

    • Students (Current and Former), Advisers, Faculty, Parent/Other

    • Access to Information and Services

  • Web front-end to legacy SIS

  • Timeline

    • 1994 – Project Team Formed

    • 1996 – Prototype Release

    • 1997 – Production Release

Elion student
eLion Student

Isis statistics
ISIS Statistics

  • Some brief statistics

    • 23 Campus locations, including World Campus

    • 96,000Students University Wide

    • 1 Medical and 2 Law Schools

    • 21,000Degrees awarded per year

    • 1,839 unique student batch procedures

    • 17,000batch student procedures run per month

    • 500,000emails sent out in last 180 days

    • 11,000 file transfers in/out per month.

    • 5000+unique report definitions in our electronic document system

Isis current interfaces
ISIS Current Interfaces

Schreyer Honors


Central Person Rep.

Univ. Outreach

Grad School


(Data WH)

GI Services

Degree Audit

Dickinson Law

Hershey Medical

Global Pgms

Student Aid

Univ. Libraries

Student Affairs

Sched. of Courses

Budget Office

MyPenn State







Ug Adm












Psu unique functionality
PSU Unique Functionality

  • Undergraduate Admissions Decision Process

  • eSteward (Donor gift stewardship)

  • SRTE (Student Rating of Teacher Effectiveness)

  • Early Progress Reporting

  • Loan Processing

  • The Graduate School Application/GRADS

  • Automated Collection Process

Option a do nothing option b rebuild isis option c open source option d purchase a vendor sis

Build vs. Buy

Option A – Do Nothing

Option B – Rebuild ISIS

Option C – Open Source

Option D – Purchase a vendor SIS

Leaping forward

Build vs. Buy

Each option was evaluated using

Technical skills of IT staff

Skills of functional staff

Viability of current technology & architecture

Functional capability of current software

Risks and benefits

Leaping forward

Benefits of Buy

Modern System

Faster access to new functionality

Software compliance with federal regulatory requirements

Vendors constantly enhance their products

Support the needs of distance and continuing education learners

Business process review
Business Process Review

  • Mapped Current Processes

  • Defined Future State Processes

  • Goals

    • Reduce number of steps in a process

    • Reduce/Eliminate duplicate tasks

    • Reduce time/effort to complete task

    • Increase accuracy and quality

    • Increase user satisfaction

    • Ensure consistency

Future state registrar examples
Future State –Registrar Examples

  • Non-Degree Enrollment – one entry point for all types

  • Registration – integrate with student plan, degree audit, and course schedule; shopping cart functionality; prereq checking; waitlisting

  • Re-enrollment – incorporate workflow in evaluation process

  • Holds – alerts within Student Portal

Policy review
Policy Review

  • Engaged Faculty Senate

  • Faculty Focus Groups

  • Evaluating current policies

  • Process to expedite policy changes

  • Examples

    • Academic Drop Policy

    • Course Scheduling Policy

    • Hold Policy

Leaping forward

Request for Proposal (RFP)

Goal - acquire and install a new Student Information System that supports Penn State’s traditional brick and mortar and World Campus student services for the next 15 years or more.

3 parts software vendor rdbms systems implementation partner

Request for Proposal (RFP)

3 Parts :

Software Vendor


Systems Implementation Partner

Leaping forward

Guiding Principles

Inclusive process

Vanilla implementation

University System

Opportunity for change

Utilize best practices

Enable consistency

Things will be different but better

Will not achieve perfection

Project staffing psu and implementation partner
Project StaffingPSU and Implementation Partner

  • Project Management team

  • Functional Area teams

    • Cross-Module Functions

    • Recruiting & Admissions

    • Records & Enrollment Advising

    • Student Aid

    • Bursar

  • Technical team

  • Change Management team

  • Training team

Impact to functional areas
Impact to Functional Areas

  • Experienced / Senior-level staff moving to Project Team

    • Operational and Technical staff

    • Full time commitment

  • Staff remaining in office

    • Assume additional and/or higher-level responsibilities

    • Assist Project Team

Leaping forward

Governance – Decision Making

Current State:

13 to 1 is a tie

Too many people have veto power

No time limits on discussions

Future State:

100% consensus is not required

Effective & timely decision reduces cost

Formal documented process

Leaping forward


The new, student-centered information system will foster transformative thinking, increased efficiency and agile delivery of excellent and consistent services to students, faculty and staff. The system will enable robust strategic planning and data-informed decision-making across Penn State. Penn State will leverage best practices and adopt uniform business processes in support of the diversity of education delivery models and needs of the University community.

Project lionpath
Project LionPATH

  • Student Contest to name the project

  • Penn State Academic Technology Hub

  • http://projectlionpath.psu.edu/

Leaping forward

  • Questions?

  • Advice for us?

    Dawn Boyer dmb1@psu.edu

    Carol Findley csf3@psu.edu

    Melanie Schuster mus2@psu.edu