Rider computer system receives an upgrade

By Katie Zeck
To better serve students and integrate all administrative technology, Rider is in the process of phasing in a new enterprise computer system.

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) has recently commenced a multi-year project of implementing the Banner Unified Digital Campus. The system will replace the system currently running all of Rider’s important business functions like admissions, financial aid and student records.

The school has been using its old system since the early ’90s.

OIT is responsible for managing the University’s technology services and keeping up with the technological needs of students and staff.

“The Finance and Human Resource Systems were nearing obsolescence and had to be replaced by the end of this year,” said associate vice president of Information Technologies Carol Kondrach. “A significant investment in time and money was also needed to upgrade the Student Information System to the next version. These factors made the switch necessary.”

The Finance and Human Resource Systems were launched in July 2009 and January 2010, respectively, according to Kondrach.

This new system was decided upon by information technology users from both the Lawrenceville and Westminster campuses.

Banner will replace the systems that currently run the University’s major business functions. Financial Aid, student records, admissions, student accounts, payroll, budget, human resources and grant management will all be handled more proficiently, according to Kondrach. When completed, Banner will, for the first time in Rider’s history, operate all administrative technology on a single, integrated system.

“We had three separate systems, but the new system is fully integrated,” Kondrach said.  “There are many features in the new system that the old systems did not have that we plan to implement in phases over time. They include online access to budgets, employee and student information through a web portal, a GPA calculator, document imaging and automatic routing of work requests such as course approvals and purchases, to name a few.”

Kondrach added that, “the new administrative system has been beneficial because it is replacing systems that are outdated. The new system will enable real-time access to information and has many capabilities that will enable Rider to operate in a more efficient and effective manner and improve service to students.”

Theresa Hvisdock, OIT director of planning and consulting, agrees that the Banner computer system will be “highly beneficial to all.”

“The new integrated system will have features that greatly benefit the students specifically,” Hvisdock said. “The new portal system will make accessing their many different accounts a much easier task.”

The campus Internet service itself will also be substantially improved because the servers for the new system will be in Florida, freeing up space on Rider’s own network and allowing for faster, more efficient Internet access at the University.

The project will be closely aligned with the University Strategic Plan and enhance administrative procedures to strengthen student service, efficiency and user satisfaction.

The process of switching over the computer systems will be under close monitoring to guarantee a successful and more advantageous transition, Kondrach said.

Through the new Banner administrative computer system, the use of the Internet on campus will be a more effortless experience in general. With less late nights trying to finish a paper while struggling with low Internet connectivity and easier access to the many different accounts students must keep track of through the Rider website, as well as the improvements in the school’s business functions, Rider will be run as a more technologically advanced institution, according to Kondrach.

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