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Best Practices in Campus ERP Implementations. IT at McGill: Creating Profound and Positive Impacts Roger Rigelhof McGill University. About McGill & me. Established 1821 30,000 students Research intensive, Faculty of Medicine Annual budget approaching $1 Billion Roger Rigelhof

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it at mcgill creating profound and positive impacts roger rigelhof mcgill university

Best Practices in Campus ERP Implementations

IT at McGill: Creating Profound and Positive Impacts

Roger Rigelhof

McGill University

about mcgill me
About McGill & me
  • Established 1821
  • 30,000 students
  • Research intensive, Faculty of Medicine
  • Annual budget approaching $1 Billion

Roger Rigelhof

  • 37 years as a Math Prof at McGill
  • Project Director of SCT Banner Implementation
  • 10 years as Associate Dean of Science
  • Senator 1984 – 1993, 1996 – 2000
  • An Engineering Physics Grad from the U of Sask!
what we did and when we did it
What we did, and when we did it
  • First Senate Report – Spring 1995
  • Second Senate Report – Spring 1997
  • RFP July 1997
  • Purchase SCT Banner -Spring 1998
  • Finance “go-live” June 2000
    • General Person “go-live” for Finance and HR
  • General Person “go-live” Aug 2001
    • for student and all historical data (450,000 persons)
what we did and when we did it4
What we did, and when we did it
  • HR/Payroll January 2002
  • Student Web Registration April 2002
  • Academic Records conversion July 2002
  • Admissions “go-live” September 2002
  • Degree Evaluation
  • Recruitment
  • Imaging
  • What’s next –HigherMarkets, Workflow
what is a best practice
What is a Best Practice
  • Definition
    • A best practice is what results when qualitative comparisons are made between similar organizations’ business practices.


    • A best practice is any activity that an organization finds successful in accomplishing a task.
10 best practices that worked
10 Best Practices that worked
  • Executive management should endorse the project and remain actively involved throughout the implementation
what to avoid
What to avoid

Executive Interest

Project begins Time Projects ends

project governance
Project Governance


Project Sponsor

Project Director




FIS Policy

SIS Policy

HR Policy


adapting to change
Adapting to change
  • Executive management should be cognizant about the institution’s ability to adapt to the organizational changes that occur when ERP software is implemented.
adapting to an erp
Adapting to an ERP



adapting to an erp11
Adapting to an ERP





ERP “Shock”


Preparation period


erp shock relief
ERP Shock Relief
  • SIS and FIS specialists
  • Funded by IST, coordinated by project manager
  • Hired by faculties to serve departments
  • Extremely successful program
  • Training, liaison, advocates
more best practices
More Best Practices
  • ERP software implementation responsibilities should be shared between the information technology department and functional areas where the software is being implemented.
    • Policy committees involved senior management
    • Implementation teams consisted of functional and IT people
best practices
Best Practices
  • The project team composition should represent all functional areas where the software will be implemented.
    • Finance System: Core team of managers from Accounting
      • Broad consultation within the entire financial community – esp for CofA
      • Functional specialists in Purchasing, AP, AR, Budgeting, Grants
best practices15
Best Practices
  • Cont’d
    • Student System
      • Managers from Admissions, Registrars, Student Records Officers from Colleges of Arts, Science, Grad Studies
      • SROs used to test “mock” registration
      • Students used for communication plans etc.
    • HR/Payroll
      • HRPMC (HR Project Management Committee) met regularly.
best practices16
Best Practices
  • Project team members’ normal job responsibilities should be reassigned to other employees for the project duration.
    • Temporary promotions and backfilling
    • Replacements were trained before Implementation started
    • Finance and HR systems
      • Managers spent 4 days/week at Project HQ
    • Student System
      • 100% at Project HQ
best practices17
Best Practices
  • A separate dedicated work environment should be specifically created for the project team.
    • Project headquarters
      • Functional and technical users brought to a work environment specifically dedicated to the project team and to building the system.
  • A project manager should be assigned full-time to the implementation.
    • That would be me!
      • An Academic with some previous experience with projects
best practices18
Best Practices
  • Implementation information should be continuously communicated to the campus community.
    • BannerSpeak – quarterly newsletter
    • Website
    • Information sessions before each go-live
    • Information reports to Deans, Senate Committee on Student Affairs, Senate Committee on Information Systems, Computer Users Committee
best practices19
Best Practices
  • All employees who will use the software should receive thorough training.
    • Training room and training team (approx 6 trainers – as many as 30 at times!)
    • Basic Navigation course plus:
      • Finance: 5 courses, HR: 3 courses, Student: 23 courses
      • 4,840 Employees attended 1 or more sessions
      • Detailed instructions for each and every form

As of May 2003:

      • Total number of sessions:1,166 Attendees: 7,094
best practices20
Best Practices
  • Cont’d
    • Banner Help Desk , FAQs, How-tos
    • Hands-on obligatory sessions
    • You only get access to the forms for which you have had training
    • Drop-in labs (bring in your real work)
best practices21
Best Practices
  • Conversion of data from the old software system to the new should begin early in the implementation process
    • For student system:
      • Converted all electronic “person record” – 450,000 records
      • Converted all electronic Student records -250,000
    • Financial data was partially converted
    • HR Legacy system ( a relatively new system) was converted.
a best practice that didn t work
A Best Practice that didn’t work
  • Vanilla vs. Customization:
  • Customization:
    • Makes end users happy
  • Vanilla:
    • Lowers TCO
vanilla with sprinkles
Vanilla with Sprinkles

When to Customize:

  • Compliance to legislation
    • Protection of Privacy
  • When the student is the user (has big impact, lots of users)
    • Example: Modify Name
  • When there is a show-stopper for user acceptance
    • Transcripts, Admissions, Self serve data labels
  • When there is big disproportional impact on one user area
    • Budget Query for Researchers
vanilla with sprinkles24
Vanilla with Sprinkles

When to Customize:

  • Performance considerations
    • Rewriting code
    • Web Governor
vanilla with sprinkles25
Vanilla with Sprinkles

How to Customize:

  • Build add-ons rather than baseline mods to tables, procedures
    • Manage development
      • Develop a standards document
      • Use version control
  • Be willing to throw your add-ons away if the vendor provides functionality in a future release
    • Even when the vendor delivered enhancement isn’t quite as functional as the local mod.
gartner on the cost of an erp
Gartner on the Cost of an ERP

The CFOs dream


An upgrade bump

Reality (Mods)


Reality (Vanilla)

Project Begins Project Ends Time

what is success anyway
What is success, anyway?
  • Possible Definition

Success is realizing your vision.

our vision
Our Vision
  • Our vision is of a McGill in which the constituents - faculty, students and support staff, have direct access to secure data, and the means to accomplish certain administrative tasks. Thus students and staff would maintain the appropriate parts of their own records directly. Students, for example, would apply to McGill, be able to track their applications, register for their courses, request student aid, examine their records, via a form of universal access such as the Web. Academic staff would receive course rolls, submit marks, and receive support for academic advising via the Web.

-Project Definition Document, December 1999

what is success anyway29
What is success, anyway?
  • Possible criteria
    • On time, on budget
      • Only if the scope doesn’t change!
      • Only if Technology doesn’t change!
    • Are all end users happy
      • Unthinkable at an Institution where critical thinking is valued
    • Are they using the system?
      • If yes, the implementation is a success!
banner stats
Banner Stats
  • Cumulative Client User Logins: 1,165,323
  • Distinct Client Users : 2,829
  • Typical active client logins: 400-500
  • Distinct Web Users: 95,295
  • Distinct student registrations: 49,185
  • Typical active web logins: 200-300
the big wins minerva
The big wins - Minerva
  • For the student – diminished need to understand the beaurocractic structure of McGill – “everything” is on Minerva:
    • Application for admission
    • Course schedule, advising and registration
    • Course evaluations
    • Transcripts
    • Degree evaluation and graduation
    • Fees and Income Tax forms
the big wins minerva32
The big wins - Minerva
  • For Faculty –course and advising info on Minerva:
    • Class lists and grade submission
    • Advising transcripts and Degree evaluation
    • Real time interface & SSO with WebCT
  • For Researchers & fund administrators :
    • 3 clicks to the bottom line of a Research Grant or fund
    • Invoice Imaging
    • PCard reconciliation
    • “Push” and “Pull” reports
in addition
In addition
  • Employees and Students are empowered to mange their own personal information including :
    • Address changes, phone numbers, emergency contacts, email, name
  • For Faculty and Central Administrators
    • An improved appointment process
    • An integrated system and Data warehouse
      • Enhances Institutional Research
      • Aids consistency and accuracy of reporting
      • Only one system to learn, not 3
and now lea and rick
And Now – Lea and Rick

Thank You!

Roger Rigelhof