In August, Mary Baldwin began the transition to a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, Jenzabar EX. The college began using the CMDS (a precursor company to Jenzabar) TEAMS 2000 product around 1990; the IBM machine was upgraded to an AS 400 model in 1994, and that name stuck on campus, though the machine has been upgraded several times since then. The conversion to EX will take about two years to complete, with an end date planned for May 2017, and will bring increased functionality and efficiency.
Jenzabar organizes the ERP transition work into different software modules; each covers the functions of the business office, human resources, admissions and financial aid, IT, student life, institutional advancement, and registrar. Representatives from these offices will tackle the nuts and bolts of the conversion process — the team and their work have been named “Compass” to recognize setting the direction for the college’s use of information and technology in the coming years. A dedicated workspace has been set up in second-floor offices of the Student Activities Center for the project.
Jenzabar representatives will be on campus to assist with the transition — training to use the software, recommending best practices, and ensuring that the project adheres to the set timeline — throughout the two years. Their on-site visits are usually focused on a single module and scheduled for multiple consecutive days.
The major phases of work include:
- a thorough review of current policies and procedures and how information is used to fulfill them
- creating a vision for how offices would like to improve upon those policies and procedures to meet the requirements of a small university
- learning how EX’s design can enable offices to accomplish and improve their work
- working with Jenzabar to convert information in the 400 database or in other files into the format and locations necessary for EX to work well
- learning to use EX to its fullest extent
- verifying that the information loaded into EX will work as envisioned
- training to use EX with new (and existing) policies and procedures
- ending use of the 400 system