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Graduating with First Class Honors: University Process Improvement with Automation

How do the world’s top universities improve processes with the complexity of processing PeopleSoft, Banner, and other education suite applications? We talk to four Universities who found the answer in automation.

Tony Beeston
Tony Beeston, March 24, 2017 1:45 pm
Blog > PeopleSoft | Oracle | AWA > Graduating with First Class Honors: University Process Improvement with Automation

Application processing is an examination of resources for every university. They need to orchestrate and manage applications such as PeopleSoft’s Higher Education application suite and Banner college administrative applications. Islands of automation act as a barrier to scaling and standardizing workload activities. And potential processing errors exist to trip you up at every turn.

While the world’s top universities could call upon their army of graduates, PhD students, and professors to help improve processes, they are instead turning to an equally clever solution: Automic.

Automic gives higher education establishments the agility, visibility, and scalability they need to respond to the dynamic education technology landscape. They have the flexibility to improve university processes—whether it is across a mainframe, cloud or a hybrid environment.

Here are just four example of how top-flight universities are driving increased efficiency and enhanced student satisfaction using Automic.

ASU Cuts Run Times from Three Hours to 30 minutes

Angelo State University (ASU) is a member of the Texas Tech University System serving 6,500 enrolled students. ASU had deployed Ellucian’s Banner suite of college administrative applications to offer students an enhanced digital experience.

The problem? Banner is manual, so the users used to check each report and submit jobs manually. For example, ASU Admissions needed to generate and distribute 88 different letter types and 3,000 actual documents each night—imagine the manual intervention there!

An Automic application processing solution now automates these job submissions, controls dependencies, and streamlines error handling. As a result, at least one member of admissions staff no longer spends time on letter generation. Moreover, automated student letter generation using Automic has cut 50 steps to six and reduced run times from three hours to 30 minutes.

Banner Automation Improves University Processes in Virginia

It’s a similar story at George Mason University (GMU), the largest four-year college in Virginia. They too rely on a predominantly manual Banner system to integrate the Registration, Fiscal Services, and Financial Aid departments. Fiscal Services, for example, had to manually issue financial aid refund checks using a time-consuming manual set up process at the start of each term.

Again, Automic came to the rescue: automating and orchestrating complex batch processes in Banner and across GMU’s diverse application environment.

It means GMU no longer has to manually start jobs at odd hours for putting class lists in order, calculating enrollment status, coding faculty records, or purging degree audits. Resource availability and processing bottlenecks are no longer an issue. Automic schedules execution by date, time, calendars, and, most importantly, system or file events.

In Fiscal Services, Automic ensures that Finance and Student AR processes complete accurately and with minimal impact on the department. They now automatically run back-logged tasks from older terms during the weekends, freeing up additional resources during the week. Automic has saved up to a man-hour a day with automation.

90% Reduction in Manual Processing at Texas University

Automic is also transforming business processing at one of the largest universities in the Dallas/Fort Worth area: The University of North Texas (UNT).

Struggling with mainframe legacy student administration software, UNT implemented PeopleSoft’s Higher Education application suite, including Financials, HR, Student Administration and Contributor Relations modules.

The challenge for UNT was that the PeopleSoft process automation resident on the mainframe was not available on the new distributed systems platform. Batch processes that once were scheduled nightly on the mainframe now required manual processing by staff during the day.

UNT chose the Automic platform for its extensive features, versatility, and maintenance-reducing object-oriented architecture. Financial Aid Authorization/ Disbursement was the first area to benefit from automation, with other processes including Right-to-Cancel notices, financial aid award notifications, Institutional Student Information Records loads, and satisfactory academic progress all later automated.

Results have been dramatic. End-to-end automation has reduced manual processing time by 90%, allowing staff to focus on their regular job duties, including departmental management and strategic planning. Running approximately 12,000 jobs a month, Automic reduced financial aid processing times from nearly a day to just a few hours. Manual errors were reduced and reliability went up. Productivity improvements are being achieved by automating other applications as well.

Rolling Away Manual Processing in Boulder

This public research university located in Boulder, Colorado was struggling to harness a complex PeopleSoft application. Fifteen years ago they turned to Automic to automate financial and HR systems. One of the most useful components of the automation solution is the run control option: This alone saves the University more than 9,000 hours a year in administrative processing time.

The University has automated PeopleSoft payroll processing and the entire batch schedule—approximately 800,000 processes each month. In other achievements, the automation of financial aid flow saves 860 hours every month. Two people used to spend 16 hours a week processing admissions applications. That too is now entirely automated with no manual intervention. 

Universities across the world rely on Automic to eliminate manual processing and drive complete workflow visibility and control, whichever platform they are using.

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Tony Beeston

Tony Beeston

Tony Beeston is Product Marketing Manager at Automic Software, and has over 30 years’ industry experience. For the last 15 of these he has been delivering solutions for running end-to-end business processes across ERP systems to companies worldwide.