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but the challenge is to get the business process owners to
drive decision-making and not IT."
Making It Work
To fund the efforts, one college sponsors the budget for a
project and then the costs are reconciled later --- an arrange-
ment that sometimes makes it difficult to negotiate with ven-
dors. "It is a challenge that the consortial relationship between
the two schools is in spirit only; there is no legal entity. That
can be debilitating when negotiating contracts," Golden
explained. For instance, the negotiations with Oracle were
complex. "We just wanted to add Haverford to Bryn Mawr's
instance of PeopleSoft," Golden said. After much negotia-
tion, Oracle said it couldn't do that. "Eventually we had to
work out a separate contract with Oracle for Haverford."
But overall, the vendors have been open to working with
both schools together on projects. "In fact, we had a prob-
lem once with Fischer," Siesing recalled, "and as we
worked through what had gone wrong, Haverford IT staff-
example, Golden said, Haverford's existing ID management
solution was an obsolete, patched-together system, where-
as Bryn Mawr's was much more robust. Each campus
required a different amount of work to put the new IdM
system in place, making coordination more challenging.
Another challenge was turnover among the executives.
Gina Siesing, who joined Bryn Mawr as CIO and director of
libraries in October 2013, noted that the teams delivered on
the three projects despite changes in presidents at both
schools, a change in CIO at Bryn Mawr and the departure of
project leader Scannell from Bryn Mawr. "The projects went
forward because [the teams] had a strong commitment to
completing the projects successfully and a strong mandate,"
she said. (The new president at Bryn Mawr had previously
been the provost and was deeply involved in the projects.)
Siesing noted that the challenges with the three projects
revolved less around technology and more around business
process integration. Because administrators stuck strictly
to a rollout deadline, she felt, they lost some potential value
by not working through some business process issues. In
fact, as Golden recalled, the former president of Bryn Mawr
initially set an earlier deadline for the joint implementation,
and the project team needed to negotiate for a reasonable
timeline, so the date was set back six months. "Even so,
more time would have been helpful," he said. "We had a
cross-institutional governance structure that worked well,
consistent for students from either campus for courses
taken at either campus; and it ends the need for manual and
error-prone transfers of course registration data and grades.
Faculty members are able to see rosters with all of their
enrolled students represented from across the two colleg-
es. For advising, it enables faculty on either campus to have
access to student course and major information regardless
of the student's home institution. Degree and major audit
functions assist advisers and students in designing their
program and courses for current semester registration and
throughout a student's academic career.
OneCard System: Allows all students to use their home
campus OneCard to access buildings and services on
either campus, including bookstore charges; dining center
charges; café and co-op charges; as well as payment of
fees for parking or library charges.
Fischer Identity: Provides both security and behind-the-
scenes management of account/system provisioning and
de-provisioning for individuals and their access to systems/
data across both campuses. Also enables self-service pass-
word management for all community members.
Still, there were definitely challenges to the implementa-
tions. For one thing, each college was at a different state of
sophistication in terms of the systems already in use. For
Janet Scannell, who left Bryn Mawr for the CTO position
at Carleton College (MN), is now working on a similar
joint IT project between Carleton and St. Olaf College
(MN). The initiative, "Broadening the Bridge: Leading
Carleton and St. Olaf Colleges Into a More Collaborative
Future," received a $1.4 million grant from the Andrew
W. Mellon Foundation to advance collaborative efforts
between the schools in library services, information tech-
nology, operations and academic programs.
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