University plans technology consolidation

Abbey Stirgwolt

A movement is beginning to shake the foundations of Kent State’s technology systems.

Enterprise Resource Planning – essentially, technological consolidation – is the university’s plan for updating its currently outdated technology system.

Because the current system comprises several sectors – finance, human resources and the student system – consolidation also will increase efficiency and heighten security.

“The ERP solution is a total integration and advancement of the university’s technology system,” said Roberta Sikula-Schwalm, executive director for ERP implementation.

The university plans to propose the ERP budget to the Board of Trustees in a meeting Jan. 31. David Creamer, vice president for administration, said the estimated budget for the entire three-year project is between $20 million and $23 million.

The 30-month project has already begun with the human resource system, and finance is next in line. The student system, namely FlashLine, will be the third and final step.

The new FlashLine will be much more individualized, with fewer generic messages and a personal site for each registered Kent State student, Sikula-Schwalm said. It will also be more icon-based, allowing for easier navigation.

A combined database for all university information also means fewer hassles for students who change their personal information, Sikula-Schwalm said.

If a student changed his or her address in the old system, for example, the change could be documented in the student system but not in the finance system. The new combined system, however, allows for changes such as these to be uniform, improving efficiency and preventing headaches for all parties involved.

In addition, the updated system will provide “a better opportunity for heightened security,” Sikula-Schwalm said.

Use of Social Security numbers as student identification no longer will be required. Though Social Security numbers still will be kept on record, access to these will be limited.

Contact technology reporter Abbey Stirgwolt at [email protected].