To: Board of Regents

From: Richard A. Crofts, Commissioner

Date: May 24, 2002

Subject:Commissioner's Report

Banner Interface Pilot
The Banner Interface Pilot (BIP) is a joint project between the Montana University System (MUS) and the Legislative Branch. The purpose of this pilot project is to allow Legislative Branch agencies as well as OCHE and Executive Branch agencies to access data from the University System's Banner Systems. Initially, the project is directed at financial data, but the ultimate goal is to provide access to the entire spectrum of Banner data financial, human resources and student.

The primary financial system for the Montana University System is Banner. The primary financial system for Montana State Government is SABHRS (PeopleSoft). When these two systems were being brought up, the Montana University System and the Department of Administration, Budget Office, and Legislative Fiscal Division agreed to the level of detail that would be fed from Banner to SABHRS. The MUS has kept to this agreement. However, many of the State Agencies who have a need for MUS financial data are frustrated trying to retrieve useful financial information from SABHRS because it is so highly summarized. These users are reluctant to learn to navigate through Banner to get the data since SABHRS is the system they know and are comfortable using. The Legislative Audit (OLA) Division primarily audits through Banner for the MUS since it is the University System's primary accounting system and OLA feels comfortable using the data from Banner. Because of this, the Audit Division conceived the idea for this project that will use Banner data and put it in a warehouse that will allow users to view the data in a format similar to reports, tables, and data they retrieve from SABHRS. The Office of the Commissioner volunteered our data warehouse server as the repository for the data.

At the kickoff meeting in Helena on October 23, 2001, Legislative Audit, Legislative Fiscal, Legislative Services, Governor's Budget Office, Department of Administration Accounting Division, SABHRS, and the University System were represented. The Legislative Branch agencies (with input from OCHE and Executive Branch agencies) identified the data elements that they were interested in capturing. The two universities have been committed to this project and have devoted numerous man (and woman) hours to this project. I believe the Legislative Branch is very satisfied with the progress to-date. The status of BIP, according to Steve Eller, the project lead, is:

Overall status - About 60 to 65% of the overall work effort has been completed.  That said, for much of the early months of the project work was occurring sporadically (by design).  Currently the number of people working on this is high, and work is progressing on several fronts.  In Helena there are 1.5 contract FTE working on the user interface and reports.  The universities are working on the data load scripts.  OCHE has retained 80 hours of DBA services to prepare and load the server.  The target completion date for this phase is June 30, 2002.  At this point it is looking like some of the testing and post-implementation tweaking could run into July.

Human Resource and MBARS Interfaces
Phase II is strictly a feasibility assessment to determine the human resource data elements and the resource requirements to bring human resource data into the warehouse. The goal with this phase is to determine what the Legislative Branch agencies need to produce reports and respond to legislative requests as well as the data elements that would be needed to provide the Budget Office with what they need to build the personal services portion of the University System's biennial budget. The Legislative Branch hopes to complete the feasibility study prior to session, so that after the Legislative session the next phase can begin.

UM Finance Data Warehouse
Brad Dennis developed the finance data warehouse for Oregon State University, a fellow Banner school. The University of Montana invited Mr. Dennis to campus to discuss the possibilities for developing data warehouses at UM. The University has contracted with Brad Dennis to return on May 28-29. During this visit, Mr. Dennis will present his methodologies to state agency personnel as well as to participants from Montana State University and Rod Sundsted and Laurie Neils from OCHE. On May 29 Mr. Dennis will continue to work with The University of Montana on its financial data warehouse project.


The MUS has a lot at stake in making this Legislative Banner Project a success. Certainly the Regents and the Office of the Commissioner will have access to reports and information from Banner in a form that is not currently available. Many of us who have been involved with Banner and SABHRS believe it is in the best interest of the State of Montana and a more efficient use of scarce resources for the MUS to quit feeding duplicative information into SABHRS. We have often said that we have nothing to hide in Banner systems and now we are getting the opportunity to prove that. A successful outcome will do a lot to further the credibility of the University System. Our campuses have worked hard to commit the time to the project both in the belief that it is in the best interest of the State of Montana and that it will help the MUS.