Brandon University halts existing ERP efforts

Regretfully, Brandon University is halting efforts to transition our in-house student information system to the Anthology package, part of a project known as RenewBU. We are not finding a route to successfully implement the full Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software project according to the goals we had set and this will end our relationship with Anthology.

This decision was made Saturday at a special meeting of the BU Board of Governors, following several months of high-level discussions.

RenewBU was planned in 2018 with an ambitious goal — to overhaul all of Brandon University’s legacy software systems, and to move all of that data and all of those processes to a new system. We knew that this was a multi-year project that would require significant work, and we embarked on it with clear eyes.

Despite challenges, including the pandemic, which hit just as we were preparing to officially launch the project, we have made big strides in recent years. While we are now winding down the final portions, we can be proud that we have achieved some of our original goals, although in ways that are different than first expected.

Originally, we hoped to find an all-in-one software package that could meet all of our student, academic, and financial needs. Working with expert consultants, we conducted extensive reviews of our existing processes, we explored all the options in the marketplace, and we selected a vendor that we believed was the best fit for Brandon University.

When we got into the difficult work of configuring the software package to our specific needs, and looking at each part of the transition, we realized that some of our needs would be better met by other solutions. For example, it proved better to upgrade our existing alumni database rather than porting it over to the new solution.

We also identified and are implementing a more suitable third-party solution to meet our Residence needs.

We are proud of these upgrades, and behind the scenes they have provided a boost to Brandon University operations. We owe a debt to the Implementation Team that has done so much work in identifying the needs of each of these areas, found the right solutions, and has migrated our data and our processes to the upgraded system.

What is left are our Student Information and Customer Relations (recruitment) needs, as well as our core finance needs. Each of these is complicated, with features unique to BU, and they are essential to get right. Unfortunately, we no longer believe that the package we originally selected will meet our objectives in these areas.

Therefore, it was time to make the difficult choice and stop the Anthology software implementation. While disappointing, this is the sensible choice based on our years of hard work and the experience that we’ve gained. We will turn our energies towards stabilizing and updating our current system before relaunching our search for a replacement.

This new search will begin with the very real advantages of knowledge and experience. We now have a comprehensive understanding of the full scope of our processes and needs, which we lacked at the start of this first search. We also know that a do-everything solution is not necessary, given that we have successfully transitioned several portions of our systems over to new and upgraded standalone packages. Finally, those successful transitions, which involved delicate data transfers without service gaps, give us confidence that we can also leap the next hurdles.

Student information, recruitment, and finance needs are central to the operations of the university, and they will be a priority for us. It’s essential that we get it right. We remain committed to providing the best possible educational experience to students while being fiscally prudent.


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