Major updates coming for business, student technology systems

A request for proposal (RFP) has been issued to replace Iowa State's financial, human resources and student information systems. These systems, which have been running on a mainframe-based set of business applications, date back to the 1970s.

Moving from the mainframe to cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) and student information systems (SIS) will significantly advance the technology that drives the university's business processes.

"Put simply, this undertaking will change the way the university does business," said President Steven Leath. "A new ERP and SIS will enhance our ability to collaborate across business units, create a sustainable IT enterprise across campus and improve our efficiency."

And, Leath notes, the new system will give students, faculty and staff better access to university services and information through mobile devices and simplified user interfaces.

Extensive campus collaboration

The RFP is the result of several months of collaboration between Huron Consulting, one of the consultants from the state Board of Regents' Transparent Inclusive Efficiency Review (TIER), and stakeholders from the university community. Nearly 400 individuals contributed input and suggested reporting requirements for the new ERP SIS.

"The engagement across the ISU campus that we have experienced pertaining to our selection of a new technology system has been unlike anything we have previously enjoyed," said chief information officer Jim Kurtenbach. "Our consultants tell us that they had far more interaction with ISU team members than with some university systems that operate multiple campuses."

Kurtenbach noted, "Our campus engagement speaks volumes about our university's commitment to this project."

Vendor, implementation partner selections

After proposals are vetted and vendors make campus presentations, the proposal should be awarded by the end of March 2016.

Once the vendor is chosen, the focus turns toward selecting an implementation partner and designing an implementation process. Kurtenbach anticipates the implementation will take several years.

Information about the requirements for the ERP SIS are available on the purchasing website.