After over a year of preparation, the upgrade to Banner 9 is under way. A new, modern interface awaits all William & Mary Banner Admin users.
Staff and faculty use Banner Admin to manage student, financial, and human resource information for the university. There are about 480 users of Banner Admin at W&M. As Director of Infrastructure Services Pete Kellogg described it, Banner Admin users “control what everyone else sees” when they login to Banner. The reason why students are able to check their holds, or registration times on Banner Self-Service is because of the data inputted into Banner Admin.
The Banner system was first implemented in 2002, and this will be the first big cosmetic update to Banner Admin. “There have been back-end logic updates, but this is the first interface update,” Kellogg said. Although Banner 9’s look will change, the overall functionality will stay the same.
Some of the benefits of Banner 9 are its increased accessibility. The old Banner was most compatible with Internet Explorer. Banner 9 will work on any type of modern web browser, such as Safari or Chrome. Banner 9 also works well on large-screen mobile devices, such as tablets and iPads.
“Being a more modern platform, there are less constraints on the environment for the user,” said Director of Software Systems Corinne Picataggi. Banner Admin runs through the software product Oracle Forms, which uses Java. The upgrade means less versions of Java will be utilized so, when updates are needed, they should run more smoothly.
For more information on the benefits of Banner 9, check-out our project page.
The transition to Banner 9 will take place form-by-form. During the process, some Admin users might find themselves using some forms on Banner 9 and some forms on Banner 8. Since both Banners have the same underlying database though, there will be no missing data or replication of data.
All the forms will have the same data and data outlets that they did before, but their layouts will be changing. The new forms might take some getting used to for users who know the old layouts by heart, but once an adjustment period has passed, they will hopefully appreciate the new layouts for their accessibility. “In the long term, I think the forms are better designed, and they’re more intuitive,” said Picataggi.
It will also be easier to search for forms on Banner 9. Currently, Banner Admin users have to know a specific seven letter code to reach a form, but with Banner 9, they can search for forms by using general description terms via a new tool called the Application Navigator.
Another benefit to the upgrade is that Banner Admin users will no longer have to change their password every 90 days. Instead, a 2-factor authentication system called Duo will be used. Users will be able to log in using W&M’s Central Authentication System (CAS), and Duo will initiate a secondary form of authentication through a cell phone or office phone. This 2-step process will add an extra layer of security that lets Banner Admin use CAS to login just as Banner Self-Service users do.
In order to introduce Banner Admin users to the new Banner 9, IT hosted a series of “Town Hall” style meetings. These meetings took place in early March and allowed Admin users to learn and ask questions about what to expect.
View recordings of the Banner 9 Town Hall meetings.
By the end of October 2018, all forms should be migrated from Banner 8 to Banner 9. Transition and testing must be complete by the end of the 2018 calendar year, as support will be discontinued for Banner 8 (W&M’s current version of Banner). Please note that the upgrade will not directly impact Banner Self-Service at this time. However, changes are on the horizon for Banner Self-Service, too. Stay tuned!