1. How will I start up Banner 8?
The production (live) web address for Banner will continue to work for Banner 8. (http://banner.baylor.edu)
*** Existing bookmarks for Banner 7 may not work.
2. Will my password change? Do I have to get another account?
No. The Banner password you are currently using will work after the change from Banner 7 to Banner 8 is complete. If you need to reset your Banner password after Banner 8 becomes available, do so by calling the HelpDesk at x4357. You do not have to get another account to use Banner 8.
3. Will the screens change? Do I have to get re-trained?
Banner 8 has the same look and feel as Banner 7. Most screen names remain the same but some have added or changed functionality. We do not anticipate that users will need to be re-trained as a result of this upgrade.
4. What does going from Banner 7 to Banner 8 mean?
Banner is a software application written by SunGardHE that uses an Oracle database to gather, store and present information through the Banner software, other reports, and several web applications we use here on campus. Every 18-24 months the vendor (SunGardHE) releases a new major version to deliver functional and technical improvements to Banner. We must implement these versions to retain support from the vendor and to remain in compliance with Federal Regulations (i.e. Financial Aid, Tax Laws.)
5. What are the changes from Banner 7 to Banner 8?
While the Banner 8 upgrade does provide more capabilities, there won't be any new features implemented immediately at go-live. The only immediate benefit that some will see is "globalization" of the Banner product. This means that the system will hold longer names, addresses, etc. and will handle international characters and symbols.
Banner 8 also finalizes a transition, begun under Banner 7 to "New Curriculum" which affects how data about student major is stored. Some forms and processes across all modules have been enhanced and Banner centric administrative offices have been learning about and testing the changes to incorporate them into daily operations.
Most of the other benefits are purely technical. The primary motivation for this upgrade is to stay current with the Banner product in order to maintain technical support from SunGardHE, the product vendor. This support is critical in order to receive software updates for government compliance - in particular for Financial Aid, Human Resources, and Payroll.
6. Why does Banner need to be down so long?
Banner has a number of modules, General, Student, Financial Aid, Advancement, Payroll and Human Resources. Each of these modules contains 100's of forms (screens), that store data in 100's of tables. With the change from Banner 7 to Banner 8, the underlying Oracle Database moves to a new "character set" providing support for more foreign languages. This requires that over 100 million of rows of data in thousands of tables be converted to the new character set. A number of forms are changing, and a number of other tables and programs are being updated. This work must be performed while no one is logged into the system.
By taking Banner down at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, IT staff can work around the clock over the weekend to implement the changes and run the character set conversion. Then IT staff must verify that a number of related systems properly re-connect to the updated environment.
All of this work over the weekend is to prepare the system for end-user testing by a designated set of client representatives. Once they verify that all critical aspects of Banner 8 are functioning, Banner (and Banner based services) will be made available to the campus by Monday morning, October 19.
7. Many faculty and some staff are away during Fall Break. Why make the change when people are not here?
Due to University operations and the need for extended downtime, there are limited windows of time where it is possible to perform a major change like this, with the least amount of risk. The timing was selected to minimize disruption to student services and financial processes including payroll.
8. Will Blackboard be down during this time?
Blackboard itself will remain available as normal with the following exception: no new student registration data will flow to Blackboard courses during this period. All existing students/faculty in BB and their course associations as of Thursday morning will be there during this period. Integration will resume when Banner starts back up.
9. Will Banner be faster/more reliable under Banner 8?
Application and database performance depend on a number of factors: concurrent users, network speed, server memory, server processor speed and server disk speed among others. Banner 8 introduces a new "character set" to the Oracle database. SunGardHE has indicated that some programs may run longer under the new character set required by Banner 8. ITS is working closely with the vendor as the vendor releases optimized versions of Banner 8 code designed for efficient execution under the new character set.
Users may experience differences in application or batch job "speed". ITS will be monitoring performance and work to tune the environment to maximize performance while maintaining the reliability and fail-over capacity. Feedback from Banner users will be greatly appreciated if significantly degraded system response is noticed after the upgrade. To report problems, please notify the ITS Help Desk at 710-4357 (HELP) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).