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LEAPForward to replace current software vendor

LEAPForward announced Monday that it has chosen the new computer software vendor to be used as updates begin on the Illinois State University Student Information System.

Oracle’s PeopleSoft Campus Solutions software will modernize the system and create an easier way to share and transfer information and records between departments and offices, improving communication for both faculty and students.

“The goal is to integrate all the information on the databases and update the system that relates to the student experience,” Matthew Helm, assistant vice president for administrative technologies, said.

ISU Board of Trustees gave permission to move forward with the update and to choose a computer software program for the project during a meeting held on Dec. 14, 2013.

The board also approved the issuance of certificates of participation that will fund the $20 million budget, which will update the current information sharing system that the university has been using for the past 20 years.

The current main frame computer system houses 44 different applications, which were coded as long ago as the ’70s. These applications are not built to work well with one another. Different applications of software are used for financial aid, admissions, course registration, housing and dining, student records, grade reporting, online bill paying, etc.

“The offices around campus will have a much easier time when these things are installed and a much easier time processing information and being able to share it very easily,” Eric Jome, director of media relations, said.

LEAPForward is a multi-year, campus wide program that has been working to upgrade these out-dated technology systems that have been in use for the past two decades. The organization created internal studies, which were performed to see what systems are used within the offices on campus and to investigate the data needs within these departments.

“We spent a year mapping out how we can make everything better before we even started making a software solution,” Helm said.

In this time, focus groups were formed, departments were analyzed, and suggestions were made in order to fully address the changes that need to be made.

The initial implantation of the software will take between one and two years. As changes are in place, the program will seek feedback from students through surveys and focus groups to make sure the updates are well accepted by the university.

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