by Shelbey Hernandez
The Lance – News Editor
A new enterprise resource planning system called UWinsite is currently in the works to eventually become the go-to for all sorts of campus information.
Currently, systems in place include the Student Information System, the Financial Information System and many other systems. With UWinsite, SIS and FIS will eventually be replaced and placed under UWinsite.
The reason for this is because while the many systems worked once quite well, they have been around for so long that improvements are just no longer possible. There are too many places to gain information and too many different outlets. With UWinsite, everything will be in one area and easy to find.
“The challenge has been getting them (FIS, SIS and recruitment) all to work together. They all are written in different languages and they all need to interface differently … So trying to maintain all that has created a challenge over the years,” said Ryan Kenney, the UWinsite executive director. “Based on the functionality that our existing systems have versus the system we’re moving towards, the system we’re looking to move towards would be all one system. So the integration between the systems will be much better and much more proven because they will be built upon each other rather than having three different systems trying to communicate with each other.”
Kenney said integration is a huge piece as to why a new system is required. With current systems in place, some information can take quite some time to retrieve however with UWinsite, it will provide quick information turn-around.
“There’s also more real time information. As you move to these systems, they’re more tightly integrated, there’s more real time information available whereas now you have to try to get a bunch of different systems to talk together,” said Kenney. “What ends up happening is some of that might not happen until over night because the way the interfaces are set up, it’s not done in a real-time fashion. This new system will make sure information is provided more readily rather than us having to manually intervene and create different reports for different purposes.
Kenney said not all systems will be replaced by this, particularly not systems like the library system. But for those systems that will be, there is specific information that students, faculty and staff will be able to find through each. With SIS, Kenney said UWinsite will provide information such as graduation management, program and learning management, recruitment and admissions management, student account management and student record management. As for FIS, it will include asset management and project accounting, awards and financial aid, financial information management, financial planning and budgets and general accounting and taxation, among many other things.
Aside from replacing old systems, UWinsite will also have a Customer Relationship Management system, which will be geared towards potential UWindsor students which UWindsor want to recruit.
“Right now, we have a few different mass email tools, we have a bunch of different tools we’re using to attract recruitment and to manage some of the events they have so open houses etc.,” said Kenney, referring to current recruitment-related systems. “So we’re looking to have more of an institutional tool that we can use in all these areas to help take care of those interactions, all the event management applicant tracking and all those things as we deal with prospective students and current students and even alumni and donors. Having a kind of common communication or interaction system that we can use to manage all that is what we’re working for here.”
The Human Resources and Information System will for now, not be implemented into UWinsite, simply because Kenney said too much change can be overwhelming. Plus, the hope is to release UWinsite in phases over the course of a three to five year span. In the meantime, as new parts of it become available, Kenney encourages the campus to voice their opinions about what changes they want to see in the systems. He also encourages those who are not as computer savvy to take part in workshops that will eventually become available.