Your Student Lifecycle Programme questions answered

More than 350 of you attended the Student Lifecycle Roadshows in July, asking more than 70 questions about the long-term transformation programme and the immediate transition from Banner 8 to Banner 9

All the questions asked via Slido, on email and through our inbox have been collated and answered by the Student Lifecycle Programme (SLP) team.

Contact SLP communications manager Liz Wilmshurst if you have any further questions, or need more clarity on any of the answers given. You can also join the SLP mailing list by emailing Liz.


How will staff be supported in making real process change to bring consistency where we currently have a lot of variation across different schools?

We have dedicated process improvement specialists within the Student Lifecycle Programme, who will be working with teams to bring consistency to processes so that we can align them to the core processes inbuilt within the technology solutions. This will see us gradually moving from multiple processes to a single process for each part of the student lifecycle. Colleagues will be supported by this team throughout the process improvement work. We will need to work together to understand:

  • how things are currently done and why
  • what the technology can offer us by way of consistent process
  • what new processes we need
  • who will own them
  • whether or not any genuine variation is needed; and
  • what controls we need.

The team will also support training and will continue to help with review and improvement of processes as we develop our services.

How will we be supported through ongoing change?

We have a work-stream within the Student Lifecycle Programme which is all about 'People and Change' and is supported by colleagues from the programme, HR and OD&PL. This will consider all the cultural elements of change, engagement, communication, training and ongoing support. We will need a range of support for colleagues – from communication about what is happening to information about how they can be part of the change and be involved, through to understanding changes to roles, training on new processes and development of continuous improvement skills.

Given our past record for procuring and launching complicated and expensive IT systems, are we confident that the current management and technical team have the skills and experience to do this successfully? Has anyone involved actually achieved something similar before?

This is a very large and complex change programme and we would be naïve to think we can do it by ourselves. As part of the programme, we will be engaging with external technology expertise, implementation expertise, contract management and legal expertise etc. We have also recruited an internal team, which is balanced between those with significant university (and University of Leeds) experience and those with experience of leading large change programmes in other sectors. This mix of experience, expertise and ultimately deliverables will be continually reviewed through a strong governance structure, put in place to oversee the progress of the programme towards achieving its objectives and to ensure the right resource is in place to deliver them.


How does the TPG admissions CRM fit into this plan?

The current PGT CRM will need upgrading onto a new version of Microsoft Dynamics during the next two years. This presents a good opportunity to migrate it to the new Dynamics platform within the Banner suite and how this might work is currently being reviewed.

PGR Admissions is an example of a system that is not fit for purpose. We cannot wait eight to 10 years to fix it. Please can PGR not be last in the queue after UG & PGT?

There are many items that are both urgent and important for users and this is just one example. We are considering all items for prioritisation both in terms of business/student benefit and in terms of a logical technology sequence for implementation. We will share the prioritisation once it has been agreed in the next few months. Where there are systems that will not be touched for the programme for many years but remain urgent, there will need to be further consideration regarding options outside of the programme. The focus for the programme remains on fixing the core student records and curriculum management elements first. That said, there is already a PGR Admissions project, which will deliver improvements to the process, and this project may well identify the need for tactical solutions to support the process in the interim.

How will workstreams within the project be prioritised?

As mentioned above, prioritisation is being based on a number of factors, including business and student benefit and a logical sequence for technological implementation. Where 'systems' may not be 'fixed' for a few years, there will always be opportunity to make improvements to processes in these areas as the first steps towards new ways of working. In many cases, this can be done by the teams themselves and with support from the programme, as required.

Which major pages of Banner related to which services will change first? Example: will module enrolment system modification happen on Banner 9 in the next year?

The initial focus is to get the Banner 9 platform installed and the current forms and reports migrated to this new platform. In this way, the functionality currently within Banner 8 will continue within Banner 9. We then have opportunity to make enhancements to what we do on the Banner 9 platform and with the extensive range of Banner 9 suite of products. We are currently working with Ellucian (the provider of Banner) to understand the optimal implementation path alongside our prioritisation of areas from a business/student benefit perspective. We are not yet at a stage to say what we will look at first or which areas of the student lifecycle we will focus on first. However, this is work in progress and updates will be provided once this is agreed.

What are the major risks for the change between Banner 8/9 and how are these being managed?

There is a large list of risks! These range from risks such as insufficient Ellucian resource available to support us, problems with implementing Banner 9 in our IT architecture, insufficient funding and the challenge for SES of supporting this change alongside ‘business as usual’ operations. All risks are analysed within a risk register, which also includes likelihood and probability scores, risk target position, controls, mitigation, assurance, owners etc. There is a risk escalation route from projects through to the Working Group and ultimately the Programme Board. Risk is reviewed monthly by the Programme Board and also by the University Change Delivery Group.

Do marketing processes factor into the project?

Yes, they are currently being considered within the overall student recruitment model (which includes marketing, admissions and academic input). The aim is to fully understand the end-to-end recruitment process and what changes to processes and systems are needed in order to achieve the 'future state' desired. This is being led by Martin Holmes and his team.

Will you be looking at existing systems, identifying peaks of excellence and integrating those into any new systems?

We will be using the core systems for student records and curriculum management in its standard format – i.e. we will not be customising these products, but will be using the inbuilt functionality as far as we can (an approach adopted by other universities and thus should also work at Leeds, but will need us to change our culture and practice in some areas). However, there will no doubt need to be some peripheral systems in order to fulfil requirements that cannot be met through the core systems. Where this is the case, we will be looking at best practice and streamlining existing systems. There may also be cases where an intermediary step to a new system will be consolidation of the existing multiple processes and systems. In this case, it is likely that an existing system that performs the functionality best will be the 'pocket of best practice' that is used to shape the process going forward.

When will admissions for cohorts, such as online distance learning, incoming study abroad, IFY and PGR be reviewed and process/system improvements be introduced?

The initial focus is to get the Banner 9 platform installed and the current forms and reports migrated to this new platform. In this way, the functionality currently within Banner 8 will continue within Banner 9. We then have opportunity to make enhancements to what we do on the Banner 9 platform and with the extensive range of Banner 9 suite of products. We are currently working with Ellucian (the provider of Banner) to understand the optimal implementation path alongside our prioritisation of areas from a business/student benefit perspective. We are not yet at a stage to say which system modifications we will look at first or which areas of the student lifecycle we will focus on first. However, this is work in progress and updates will be provided once this is agreed. Admissions for all cohorts is being considered within the prioritisation work, however, a more standardised, easy-to-use underlying student information system will make any process easier, even if it is being done on an ad hoc basis.

I want to try to understand how this will affect the Employability Teams across the University. We are being led into using the ‘My Career’ system, owned by GTI to make the student placement process. Could this not be a function of Banner 9 and it does tie into their UG degree?

This may well be a function within the new Banner 9 suite and work is ongoing to understand both the suite of products and also the implementation prioritisation. Banner won’t necessarily take care of all our processes but at this stage, we are not at a stage to say which system modifications we will look at first or which areas of the student lifecycle we will focus on first. However, this is work in progress and updates will be provided once this has been agreed.

How is this going to work when Schools within a faculty differ in their processes? Surely there should be similarity here to begin with?

For some areas of the student lifecycle, we have a different process in nearly every school. In other areas this is consistent at a faculty level. Yes, one of the first steps will be to have consistency at faculty level, as a stepping stone to consistency across the University. Even when the system enhancement may be a number of years away, process consistency can be considered by all areas of student administration as a precursory step.


Will you be asking ‘Generation Z’ for input?

We already have feedback from existing surveys (both internal to UoL and external) and think tanks regarding Generation Z views. We have conducted a few student focus groups so far and will continue with this low-key approach in order to capture views – e.g. at registration and module enrolment time. However, we will not be doing large-scale consultation with Generation Z yet. This is because there is initial work to be done in just getting our core (largely invisible to students) administration systems fit for purpose. Only then will we be at a stage to make enhancements that will be visible for students. At that stage, we will be consulting widely but it is likely to be about four years away from now.

Will schools be consulted when creating processes and Banner forms – e.g. central/Banner only ever sees the module rather than the individual components?

Where available, we will be using the standard processes, forms and functionality within the Banner 9 product and not customising this to suit us. There will be full engagement to understand the changes that will be needed to move to the standard processes and functionality. Where additional functionality is needed (e.g. a bespoke form) there will be engagement with those who have the expertise in order to create the forms to suit all users.

How do we encourage those who are more resistant to move forward with the new systems and ideas?

It’s natural to feel anxious about change and to wish that we could just stay with what is familiar. We will be working hard to communicate and engage with all colleagues and to involve everyone in the change so that it isn't 'done to us'. Inevitably, when there are changes to long-standing processes and ways of working, this can create uncertainty for colleagues. However, standing still and doing nothing is not an option and the change is necessary for us to remain both operational and competitive as a university. We will be supporting colleagues through the change and hope to have a network of ‘champions’ and ‘advocates’ across the university to help us in doing this.

What can non-admin staff do to support SLP?

Where colleagues are not directly involved in the change, we would appreciate their advocacy for the change and their support for colleagues. We would also like colleagues from other areas to provide insight into how improvements to administrative processes and systems can benefit both students and academics and to help us demonstrate how we can realise this benefit. There will be networks of colleagues established to support the implementation of the programme, and work on the service design for each area will involve extensive collaboration with staff working in that area.

Will staff on the ground be involved and have the opportunity to get involved with the project as well as Functional Leads? Often it's staff who do the job who have the knowledge.

Absolutely. It is imperative that those who understand the processes are involved in the change programme. There will be opportunity through workshops and through liaison with functional leads and Subject Matter Experts (seconded onto on the programme) to get involved.

So how is the academic community being engaged because they don’t tend to come to sessions like this (despite being invited!)?

We know that it is harder to engage the academic community, especially at this time of year. However, we have academic representation on the Programme Board (two Deans and two Pro-Deans for Student Education) and we have a number of channels for engagement. We have already engaged with academics through Faculty Executive Committees, Pro-Deans meeting, DSE Forum, Leadership Forum etc. and we will continue to create opportunities for engagement with all stakeholders. We are particularly interested in engagement with academics since academic support will be needed to implement changes to processes and systems, which in turn will free up time for academics to spend on student-facing activities rather than administration. That said, some of the developments shouldn't affect academics directly as the fixes we put in place should end up as hygiene factors that 'just work'.

Will resource from schools or faculties be used/needed for the Banner 9 move?

There will be little involvement needed from schools or faculties initially since the Banner 9 platform implementation will be a 'lift and shift' from Banner 8 to Banner 9. However, some testing may be required and this will be coordinated through the Subject Matter Experts on the programme. However, once this 'precursory' project is completed, we will need to involve colleagues from schools and faculties to review processes.

Will training be delivered within Schools, or will everyone need to book via OD&PL? When will training take place?

Training for the initial Banner 9 platform interface will be delivered directly and not booked via OD&PL. Training is anticipated to take place in the autumn and there will be full communication once dates are confirmed and content is developed.

To what degree will student applicants (PGR and UG) be consulted?

At this stage, the degree to which applicants will be consulted is unclear. However, where we do need input, this is likely to be through small focus groups. We have conducted a few student focus groups so far and will continue with this low key approach in order to capture views e.g. at registration and enrolment time. However, we will not be doing large scale consultation yet. This is because there is initial work to be done in just getting our core (largely invisible to students) administration systems fit for purpose. Only then will we be at a stage to make enhancements that will be visible for applicants. At that stage, we will be consulting widely but it is likely to be about four years away from now.

What training will be provided to Banner users for the new look forms?

It is anticipated that training on an overview of Banner 9 will be provided. Training will cover the basics from Banner Navigation, Enquiry and Reporting and Record using short online videos showing common tasks and how they are accomplished in Banner, plus drop-in/workshop sessions to cover specific familiarisation requests. Banner 9, despite the new interface, will appear familiar to users of Banner 8.

Are students, UG, PGT, PGR etc, going to be involved in the programme? Are they actually going to be asked what they want from our (digital) services?

At this stage the degree to which students will be consulted is unclear. We intend to use the standard functionality within Banner 9 without be spoking it and therefore may not need to test this extensively (it is already used in many university environments). However, where we do need input, this is likely to be through small focus groups. In terms of future system enhancements (post the core systems being upgraded during the next four years) we anticipate fuller engagement with applicants and students to understand their wants and needs. At the moment, we do not want to be raising expectations with future applicants or students when the additional enhancements they might want are more than four years away from being delivered. The focus remains on updating our core systems first and these are largely invisible to both applicants and students – i.e. they do not see the administration burden that is largely 'back office'. That said, they might find Banner self-service easier to navigate and I am sure they would want us to fix the single sign-on problem, which means they have to log on twice to access it.


Will all staff be given the opportunity to get involved with the SLP or will it just be management?

All colleagues will have the opportunity to be involved and there will be more communication on this once the programme gets underway fully. Inevitably, managers may represent their teams, but the teams themselves will need to be involved in understanding and documenting current ways of working, and supporting the design and testing of new processes and systems. All employees can also be involved in advocacy for the programme and supporting other colleagues as we go through the changes enabled by the Programme.

Have lessons been learnt from the implementation of the CRM? A lot of work and money went into it but there doesn't seem to have been much return on this.

Yes, there has been a full 'lessons learned' exercise conducted by a third party and reported to the University’s Risk and Audit Committee. As a programme, we monitor our progress against these lessons learned quarterly and will continue to report our progress to UEG and the Risk and Audit Committee. The lessons learned included areas such as engagement, governance and management of third party contracts.

Was the CRM not supposed to be the shiny new 'do all' system? Can we not migrate data into this instead of using both systems side by side? We spent a lot of time and money on CRM. What’s going to happen to it now?

A CRM is an automated and auditable way of managing work flow, relationships and communications with customers, in this case students. The current 'CRM' is a CRM for PGT admissions only, although there was always an ambition to extend this to students on-course eventually. First, we need to ensure the core systems (student records and curriculum management) that support any CRM or other peripheral system are fit for purpose. Therefore, the Student Lifecycle Programme is focusing on these core systems as a priority. We envisage that there will be further CRM functionality we need to consider within the programme (e.g. for UG admissions and on course support) and the implementation, sequencing and timescales for these are being looked at currently. There is new CRM functionality within the Banner 9 suite and it is likely that we would consider this over any further standalone CRM systems. There is also a need to upgrade the current PGT CRM onto a new Dynamics platform within the next few years and so it is likely we would migrate this into the Banner suite.

The University has sometimes had difficulties in procuring IT solutions that meet its needs. What's different in the current project?

Quite simply, we intend to procure a solution and change our processes and ways of working to fit the solution, rather than the other way round. We have added to our processes at the University so much over a period of decades that finding any technology solution that can fit our needs is virtually impossible. We end up either building our own (expensive and adds to complexity) or customising a standard solution (equally expensive and complex). It is now time to take the opportunity to standardise our processes and ways of working and align to standard ways of doing things within a systemised environment that delivers consistent service to end users.


Can Banner 9 help with dealing with pre-entry and outreach work?

We have not yet explored the full functionality of the Banner 9 suite (which includes more than 50 products, the majority of which we do not currently have). Ellucian Consultants are supporting our discovery and scoping phase, bringing unrivalled product knowledge to help us to understand: the full capabilities of the software suite; opportunities for improvement in our use of the deployed product; and wider opportunities from adoption of functionality. As we enter the design and delivery phases, we will explore these opportunities in greater detail, including the potential requirements mentioned.

Will Banner 9 give us the opportunity to redesign the OLA form for PGR admissions?

We have not yet explored the full functionality of the Banner 9 suite (which includes more than 50 products, the majority of which we do not currently have). Once we know more about the products and our intended implementation path, we will be communicating this.

Could we possibly see some initial screenshots of the BANNER 9 interface?

Yes, these were shown at some of the roadshows (after this question was asked, thank you) and will be made available. These are just prototypes currently.

Will the students be able to move seminar groups themselves, as this is work intensive for timetablers when so many students request to change groups?

We have captured this potential new requirement and will explore during the design and delivery phase next year. However, we are unlikely to be making any changes that affect timetabling in the early stages of the programme

We have many local database systems that rely upon accessing Oracle data via ODBC. Will ODBC functionality still be available in Banner 9?

In short, yes, ODBC will be available in Banner 9. The use of ODBC for data exchange is the subject of a broader University study and will be reviewed in future. Rest assured that any change to policy will not be implemented before an alternative and improved solution is available.

Will there be more scope in Banner 9 for pushing data into the student record from other systems?

We are exploring associated technologies for data exchange that would facilitate simpler and securer data exchange between Banner 9 and other systems. One of the key objectives of this work is to have master student data that is secure, integral, reliable, current and accurate.

Going forward, will the University still support the use of external products (e.g. Scientia) or will it be looking to replace these with Banner 9 functionality?

There will always be a need for other systems at the University since the Banner suite does not do everything. The likelihood is that we will always need a separate application to support timetabling.

Would the name of the Banner forms remain the same as before? Also, the old Banner was modelled on an American University system. Would this be bespoke to the English system?

Yes – certainly in the short-term, to minimise change. As with Banner 8, users can use the Form ID to load a known form. This is complemented by more intelligent and intuitive user navigation tools – similar to the Google Search Bar and History Shortcut features.

You’ve said that Banner 8 becomes unsupported at the end of the year, but when do you anticipate that Banner 9 will be launched?

We are progressing the Banner 9 implementation project quickly to enable us to have a Banner 9 solution ready for deployment as soon as possible. Having the option to deploy the new solution will mitigate operational and security risks associated with Banner 8. We have to switch over to Banner 9 before the end of March 2019, though we are working towards delivering by the end of December this year.

Is there a danger/risk/possibility that some/any of the bespoke Banner forms won’t work in Banner 9? If so, when will this be known and will Schools/Faculties be given any warning about this, so as to consider alternatives? I’m thinking of SWAPMCU and SWAMMUF and related reports, which are two forms created three/four years ago to aid management of Programmes in the Catalogue.

We have customised Banner 8 over many years and consequently have about 400 bespoke forms and reports that need to transfer to Banner 9 but will have to be rewritten since they are in a language that is also going out of support. Priority is being given to these forms so that they will also work in the Banner 9 environment. Subsequently, however, we will be wanting to move away from extensions to forms into standard and consistent ways of working and that will be the focus of the programme once the Banner 9 environment is deployed.

As with any new software, we will be undertaking rigorous testing to mitigate the risk of defective software being used for live service.

How long do you foresee the testing period of Banner 9 lasting?

Testing is essential to mitigating the risk of live service incidents caused by software (and non-software) defects. We have to balance the volume of testing with the risk associated with delaying service go-live, but there will be several months of testing to provide quality assurance around the new solution. Testing needs to happen by IT and then by the users and this is likely to be in a phased manner once forms are available to test.

Would it possible to open multiple tabs on the new Banner? Currently, you can only open one at a time.

Banner 9 can have several pages active at one time – it is not precisely the same multiple tabs but provides the same function. This will be demonstrated during training.

Will our permissions for Banner 8 be transferred to Banner 9?

Yes. We will be reviewing our use of role-based access control as part of the Transformation programme.

Will the new system will be able to deal with pre-entry/outreach work? For example, we keep track of support interventions with prospective applicants. Would the new system have this functionality?

All functionality that is currently in Banner 8 is also in Banner 9. Enhancements to what we currently have may be possible with the new functionality of the Banner 9 suite and this is currently being explored.

Banner 8 states whether a student has a disability, but has no further info. Will further info – e.g. Disability Needs Assessments – be available on Banner 9?

Not immediately (the initial focus is simply to get the Banner 9 platform working and to be able to do the same things we currently do in Banner 8) but we hope to use the full functionality of Banner 9 during the coming years and there will be the opportunity to review specific needs as part of the implementation.

How is artificial intelligence featured in the SLP?

It isn't yet… but we are developing our 'future state' for technology for the University and AI may well feature in this. Roughly speaking, we want to get to a standard robust system that provides a good platform for any future developments.

Will document sharing be available off-campus?

We are investigating the case for adoption of Banner 9 document management for associating documents with student records. The use of document sharing off-campus hasn't specifically been considered – any such requirement will be subject to University policy, security considerations and enabling technology. There are already ways of sharing documents remotely via Desktop Anywhere, using Sharepoint and One Drive.

Will we still be able to use ODBC on Banner 9?

Yes. However, the use of ODBC is being considered more widely.

Are we going to get rid of all the fax machines?

The Student Lifecycle Programme will not be getting rid of your fax machines – but please feel free to do this yourselves! We are amazed to understand that there are some still being used. However, we will work with the relevant teams to get consistent processes and envisage there to be no need to be continuing to use fax machines. In the short term, the multi-function printers around the campus should allow you to scan and email to replace faxes.


When will attendance monitoring move into the 21st century?

There is a need to monitor student attendance in order to provide increased support to students (identified through sub-optimal attendance) and also provide attendance data to fulfil government requirements for students on study visas. The current manual processes are time consuming and inefficient and, as such, there have been previous projects that have considered solutions to deliver both a technology solution to capture attendance data directly and also a reporting and analysis tool.

The Student Education Service will be conducting a full end-to-end project, which will consider the views of students and also a review of new Tier 4 guidance. Solutions to capture data will sit outside of the Student Lifecycle Programme. However, the programme will, as part of the understanding of functionality of Banner 9, seek to understand the options available to store data and report on attendance, aligned to a full student record.

Will the 'sticking plaster' culture be addressed to ensure we don't continually rely on projects to drive our systems and processes forward?

There is a cultural change needed to ensure continued investment in our back office systems and continual improvement in our processes, and ways of working as part of ‘business as usual’. This cultural element will feature within the Student Lifecycle Programme.

You alluded to centralisation of functions. Is this a principle that will underpin the project?

The Student Lifecycle Programme is about transformational change – it is more than a systems upgrade. The transformational approach centres on consistency to drive effectiveness, efficiency and, ultimately, a better student and colleague experience. With this comes the opportunity to bring together all programme support, quality assurance and assessment 'transactional' administration into a unified 'back office' service for the University. It also provides opportunity to focus more effort in schools and faculties on student needs and student-facing school-specific support to make some processes less labour-intensive, such as programme support, assessment and so forth, and to invest more effort in student-facing support, for which there is an increasing need. This is a change to how things are currently done and will inevitably take a number of years and a phased approach, during which time colleagues will be fully involved in the changes. There are no decisions made yet on timescales, locations, space, numbers etc. This is all for discussion as the programme commences.

Will jobs be at risk?

No, but we do expect to make efficiencies in how we perform transactional 'back office' administration because of consistent processes and ‘fit for purpose’ technology being in place. However, with a continuing increase in both student numbers and the diversity of our intake, we know that we need further investment to support student outcomes in the years ahead. We anticipate roles changing and skills changing over time to accommodate different needs but no overall risk to jobs.

Will major changes and training be implemented during term time given the indicated date for Banner 9? Are consultations/workload models being looked at if so?

Unfortunately, yes, there will be changes and training implemented during term time for Banner 9. We have no choice in order to meet the deadlines. However, we are working with Subject Matter Experts seconded from the Student Education Service onto the Student Lifecycle Programme. They are able to advise on the busy times for different areas, work patterns and prioritisation.

Will timetabling be part of the project, and if so, what will it look like?

No. Timetabling is not within the scope of the Student Lifecycle Programme. There is a separate initiative to improve the way we construct our timetable. In the future, we hope to be able to link our timetabling functionality into the student record functionality.

If you are aiming for consistency, does this mean the future aim is to create one big SES service, potentially getting rid of faculties/specific job roles?

We already have one big Student Education Service! Within this, however, we still have many small teams performing the same tasks but working in unique ways. The aim is to create operational resilience by adopting consistent working practices and acting as a unified service.

Will new systems improve communication between central University and Faculties and Schools?

Communications will not be improved by systems alone but they will certainly help. We will be aiming for consistency of processes and systems across all schools and faculties, except for where genuine variation is needed. Consistent processes and systems will enable us to be more efficient, freeing time up for value-added student-facing interactions and reducing the risk of single points of failure at school level. A unification of teams and consistent ways of doing things should support enhanced communication.

How will the changes affect staff numbers! Often new systems require less or more employees. Is a piece of work being done alongside to look at numbers?

Over time, we anticipate roles and skills changing to accommodate different needs but the size of the SES remaining much as it is now. This will be looked at on a ‘function by function’ basis, as part of the programme, rather than just number crunching theoretically at the beginning. The aim is to be able to provide enhanced services and support student number growth without having to grow the service excessively beyond its current size.

With greater use of technology, what will be done to ensure health, safety and wellbeing – e.g. more mouse clicks, more looking at screens etc.?

As technology advances and ways of working change, the University continues to ensure that health, safety and wellbeing is a key consideration for all individuals, managers and departments. Individuals remain empowered to take control of their own health, safety and wellbeing – taking regular breaks away from a screen, ensuring their desk set-up is correct, eating healthily, taking exercise etc. and there are many facilities and resources available at the University to support colleagues in this.

With the update to Banner 9, will there be an update to minimum IT requirements – especially screens? e.g. for CRM users the recommendation is two screens but some users only have one, or two small screens so some menus are difficult to use as CRM assumes widescreen. Some Banner users (e.g. undergraduate admissions) only have one small screen and could really do with two.

Individuals will continue to need to discuss IT requirements with their managers to ensure they have the optimal set-up in order to fulfil the needs of their role.

Is it true that the financial cost of the CRM was about £13 million? If so, is a budget of £40 million for this project realistic?

The financial cost of the previous Student Education Programme was £13m. This included the CRM but also included many other things, such as realignment of Student Education Services (creation of the SES), a training and development programme, the new online course information website, the For Students website and the new student portal (Minerva). The indicative cost currently of £40m for the Student Lifecycle Programme is in line with programmes at other universities. This cost will be refined during the coming months as more information becomes available regarding the scale and complexity of implementation.

Could the Language Centre be involved in Banner 9 user testing?

Yes. We will need to ensure that the functionality of Banner 9 works for all areas of the business. Our first aim is to ensure what we can do in Banner 8 we can also do in Banner 9.


Is there anything built into the project to stop us falling behind again during its implementation? A lot of this feels like catching up on the past 10 years.

There is a lot of governance built into the programme which has not been built into previous programmes. The Business Change Team was set up at the University about two years ago and has made great strides into introducing consistent project and programme management methodology. Part of this includes 'gateway reviews', whereby projects cannot continue until they have met precise criteria at specific gateway points. These are built into the plans for the Student Lifecycle Programme. The programme also has monthly tracking against milestones and budgets. This is reported to the University Change Delivery Group and to the Programme Board. Of course, these things won't stop us falling behind (significant programmes of change like the Student Lifecycle Programme are inevitably subject to many issues, including delays). However, they will allow us to have early sight of issues and make interventions, including pausing or stopping projects within the programme, if required.

Once the Student Lifecycle Programme delivers its outcomes, it will be important to continue to invest in student education administration and ‘back office’ functions in order to keep pace with the sector as it continues to progress.

The majority of my team are on temporary contracts, significantly shorter than your plan to update Banner. Thoughts?

We would like to identify areas of the business where there is a large proportion of temporary contracts since we may need to give greater focus to these areas where turnover can be high and colleagues not as engaged in the change agenda because of the short term nature of their roles. Our 'People and Change' stream of work for the programme will be picking this up in more detail, but if you are already aware of areas where we need to focus effort then please let us know via email.

My department is trying to lower student numbers, not increase them. How will this sort of need be handled in the overall push for more students?

Some programmes want to increase student numbers during the next few years, others to decrease them, and others to change the cohort mix of students. Regardless of the numbers and types of students, we need to ensure that the administrative systems that support them are fit for purpose now and also adaptable to meet the needs we might have in the future.

If Banner is going out of support by end of 2018 why are we so late in transitioning? How did other universities approach this?

We have been slow in transitioning and this is acknowledged at UEG. We have made decisions previously to prioritise other investment that enhances the student experience over the investment in our student records systems. Unfortunately, the significant risks of not having Banner 9 in place were not understood and communicated until recently and, therefore, not escalated to a level where they informed the prioritisation of overall investment. It is only relatively recently that the scale of the transition has been known (once Ellucian and other universities had been through it and could share experiences – and also once we started to understand the impact on our own very customised version of Banner and brought Ellucian in to look at this in detail).

Is the plan to streamline programmes and assessments? We have modules with <5 students on and other modules with assessments worth <5% of the module!

This is outside the scope of the Student Lifecycle Programme but it is a key strand of the Student Education Strategy sponsored by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Tom Ward. This is being led in Faculties by the Pro-Deans for Student Education working in partnership with academic and professional services colleagues to identify opportunities to reduce complexity in the curriculum and to ensure we have the right programme portfolio to attract quality students to Leeds.

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