First ERP program has gone live
2:55:00 PM CDT - Wednesday, July 14, 2004
By Amy Geiszler-Jones
Three months after WSU inked a contract with SunGard SCT Inc. to install an integrated Web-based database system for university functions and business, one program is already up and running. And work will begin next month on developing a new set of account numbers for all university areas, including five affiliated organizations, to use with the new system.
WSU is in the early stages of a three-year, multimillion-dollar plan to implement an Enterprise Resource Planning program, or ERP, system. All the university's functions, such as human resources, payroll, accounting and financial processes, student records, financial aid and affiliated corporations — which now operate on different databases — will eventually be merged into one single database, making for a more streamlined process. At WSU the new ERP system is called the WSU Information Network, or WIN.
WSU's financial functions are slated as the first systems to go live within the WIN system, according to David Alexander, a physics professor who is overseeing WSU's ERP project. This summer, Alexander, Gary Ott from University Computing and Telecommunications, Lois Tatro from administration and finance, and Kevin Crabtree from student affairs are developing a detailed project plan and schedule for implementing the SunGard SCT system.
On July 1, Perkins loan specialists at WSU, who administer the federally subsidized student loan program, started using SCT's Campus Loan Manager program. The move to the new ERP program happened sooner than expected because technical support for the previous program expired June 30. The move to the new program "went really smooth," says Tatro. "It's giving us a run at a small part of ERP. We received excellent support from SCT's consultants and the conversion to the new system proceeded exactly as planned. A lot of effort was required on our part to bring the new system up quickly, and Sandy Ludlum, in our controller's office, did an exceptionally fine job of getting everything done."
The Campus Loan Manager program, which is Windows-based, has drop-down boxes offering selections, a function that reduces data entry errors, Tatro notes. The new program also provides new data fields, for information such as e-mail addresses, and a history of addresses, not just the last known address, so it will be easier to keep track of borrowers. "It has some nice, slick features," Tatro says.
In August, a group of about 25 people, from areas such as the controller's office, budgeting, research administration, purchasing and five affiliated organizations — the Rhatigan Student Center, the Board of Trustees, Alumni Association, WSU Foundation and athletics, will begin meeting to start developing a new list of accounts.
"All of the four-digit account numbers we've gotten used to have to change," Alexander says.
Just as the phone company started running out of combinations for 1-800 phone numbers or within area codes, WSU has run out of account numbers and has recycled some numbers, which can create confusion, Alexander notes.
A search is under way, Alexander says, for a training coordinator to help with the extensive training that will be required "for everyone from the president to secretaries" as the new WIN system is implemented.
For more on WIN go to http://webs.wichita.edu/erp.
Archived Inside WSU stories on the ERP system: http://webs.wichita.edu/dt/insidewsu/show/article.asp?AID=352&HL=ERP-.