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Memorial manages core administrative services

Banner repatriation



Members of the team at Computing and Communications.

By Shannon O’Dea Dawson

For the past 40 years, the operations of the core student registration and financial management computer systems have been provided by xwave, a division of Bell Aliant, and its predecessors. For the last three years, Memorial has worked to bring these applications back to campus.

Repatriation began in creating and staffing Edutech, a provider of learning solutions, and for Edutech to take over the applications management services previously provided by an xwave team. The Board of Regents approved the creation of Edutech Services Inc., a Separately Incorporated Entity (SIE) of Memorial, on May 22, 2007. Banner professional services were fully repatriated from xwave in December, 2008, under the leadership of Graham Mowbray, director of Computing and Communications and Penny Fillier-Skinner, general manager of Edutech.

The second phase was completed on Oct. 13, 2009, when the hardware and computer operation functions were brought back to campus, and Memorial assumed in-house management of these core administrative services.

“There are many benefits to Memorial University,” explained Mr. Mowbray. “This project has been so successful due to the hard work of the entire Computing and Communications department and all those we worked collaboratively with in the Registrar’s Office, Finance and Administrative Services, and Edutech.

“It’s not that xwave wasn’t providing top-notch service,” Mr. Mowbray said. “But Memorial had outsourced some key business functions relating to student and financial systems as well as the operation and management of these. Passing control of such systems to an outside organization brought risk and expense to Memorial. When we evaluated the service levels against the risks we felt we could provide consistent service levels using our own people and at the same time reduce the business risk. The most prudent course for Memorial was to bring Banner home.”

This project started many years ago but really gained momentum in 2006 when the right set of circumstances arose, explained Mr. Mowbray.

“Back then, the Board of Regents approved this project based on finances and operational risks, however we have since found many other benefits which were hidden from us at the time. One very good example is printing volume. In examining the operations of the Banner environment, it became apparent that thousands of pages were being printed yet were not always needed. Our client departments have reviewed their printing needs and in a number of cases have significantly reduced them. The result is a cost saving on printing and supplies but, more importantly, we are helping Memorial meet its sustainability targets.”

With repatriation of Banner and Memorial managing core administrative services, there are significant cost-savings as well as greater independence, flexibility, and security, he said. For more information, refer to www.mun.ca/cc/repatriation/Banner_Repatriation_Project.php.
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