Frequently Asked Questions
- What is an AIS?
An AIS (Administrative Information System) is a fully-integrated information system to maximize the efficient flow of information between all the main functions of the organization, including the human resources, fiscal, student records and registration systems, among others. The system will operate in real time, share access to one database to prevent redundant data and multiple data entry, share a common look and feel for ease of use, and provide access to the data as authorized without special data retrieval processes in MIS. Among California community colleges, PCC is among the last to adopt a commercially available AIS system.
- What does PCC hope to gain from this change?
As the Hewlett-Packard mini-computers that currently support these systems ages, PCC has experienced limited efficient access to and use of data which hampers efficiency and service. Moving to one of the AIS providers will:
- reduce the significant human and financial resources required to provide services and reports, and increase productivity
- reduce frequent errors and failures
- provide better quality of service and experience to students and staff
- Will the AIS change the way PCC does things?
The change to an AIS will require changes to the organization as we migrate from our legacy systems. Many older, cumbersome and paper-driven processes that are in place because our systems do not "talk" with each other will be replaced with new more accurate and efficient processes.
- What are the typical systems or modules that are part of an AIS?
An AIS is in support of the administrative, student and learning services, and instructional management missions of the college. A detailed list of modules proposed for PCC and a chart of potential benefits are attached.
- What happened to the plan to upgrade the current student records information system to the new Santa Rosa system?
A number of years ago, the Superintendent/President determined that the AIS technology had not yet developed to adequate levels, and it was decided that PCC would be best served by remaining with the Community Colleges Computing Consortium product referred to as "the Santa Rosa System" (dealing with student systems, rather than fiscal, human resources, payroll, purchasing or other administrative systems,) along with "bridging" systems to facilitate the information exchange among the other systems. As more and more community colleges installed AISs, and the Santa Rosa system upgrade release was delayed, the District determined that PCC did, in fact, need an AIS for the best long-term improvement in our systems and services.
- Will an AIS provide all the special systems support that PCC has customized on our own systems?
No company can provide everything that an institution our size requires "out of the box". There may be a need for additional custom features from the vendors, although there is a need to minimize customizations in order to be able to deal with future software upgrades downstream. We can also use add-on modules from other vendors that expand the basic AIS systems. Some of our previous software customizations will be unnecessary as the systems are integrated.
- What will this mean for employees?
All employees, staff, faculty and managers will be affected by this change, and it will take a real team effort to work toward the successful implementation of the system. The project will need the positive support of everyone to be successful. As the project takes shape, each area will have a thorough plan of action, including training and testing.
- How will this enormous project be managed when every department is so busy already?
Two levels of project management will be utilized to complete an 18 month implementation. First, Project Management resources from Ellucian will be utilized to implement specific functionality across the institution. Secondly, the College is establishing the Administrative Technology Advisory Committee (ATAC) comprising members from across all operational departments. ATAC will also include faculty and student input throughout the implementation.
This group will meet quite often through the project life cycle. Once BANNER is in place, ATAC will continue to meet (monthly) to maintain and further enhance BANNER functionality.
- How involved will each area be in the final design and implementation?
Needless to say, there will be crossover between areas and departments. For example, the Purchasing module will be used by every department on campus, so there will be input from the various users spanning the entire organization.
- Will the implementation happen all at once or in phases?
There is no universally-accepted implementation solution. Given the critical nature of the existing Santa Rosa system, the College will start with those BANNER modules that directly impact students. Then BANNER Finance will follow a few months later with BANNER HR shortly thereafter.
- Will there be frequent communication to all employees regarding the project?
Much like the Accreditation process, there will be frequent meetings, updates and newsletters to keep the college up to date.
- How long will the process take?
The entire process is projected to take 18 months. As with all technology and technological applications, there will really never be an end to improvements.