Banner changes how University handles affairs

By Ryan Hall

Spring 2005 registration officially began this week, and students are using the latest organizational system for the University. After making its debut in 2002, the new Banner integrated system is slowly changing the way many University affairs are handled.

UI-Integrate, an Enterprise Resource Planning system, is the University’s five-year plan to update services and functions such as registration, financial aid, grades and admissions. By integrating systems, a more modern and cost-effective structure can be provided, according to the UI-Integrate Web site. The implementation works on a step-by-step basis, each step building off the previous in order to provide a smooth transition between Banner and the old system, UI Direct.

According to the UI-Integrate Web site, it would have cost nearly $70 million to replace the individual systems responsible for each service. The Web site also states that a packaged system is more sustainable and easier to maintain.

UI-Integrate communications project manager Nicole Udzenija said she is happy with the new system.

“Banner is a whole systems solution,” she said. “It’s taking the place of many systems. What we were looking to do is rather than have many systems to maintain, we make it easier by having them all integrated.”

UI-Integrate’s Web site stated that previous systems were “built on obsolete technologies and are near failure.” For this reason, programs like UI Direct were discontinued.

Udzenija said one of the reasons the University chose Banner was that it had the strongest student functionality.

Some students say the new system offers them uncomplicated access to their information in a user-friendly package.

Katie Dow, freshman in LAS, said she approves of Banner.

“I didn’t have any problems,” she said. “But I know other people who had a lot of them, like freezing up or not transferring credit hours correctly.”

Sophomore in engineering Edward Malkowski said he prefers Banner’s registering scheme to the former UI Direct.

“I like the idea that all the stuff is there and that you don’t have to cross-reference,” he said. “I like not having to go back and forth from book to computer.”

Junior in LAS Sanket Shah said he thought UI Direct worked well and that he has experienced problems with Banner.

“It was slow, and sometimes the availability of classes was incorrect,” he said.

Sophomore in business Ryan Lazoen also said he prefers UI Direct.

“Banner seemed more confusing than UI Direct,” he said. “I think UI Direct was overall better, but I like some things about Banner.”

While students adjust to the new program, UI-Integrate’s Web site said the systems revision will be completed next year.