The learning curve is steep, but the benefits are excellent!
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
November 21, 2019

The learning curve is steep, but the benefits are excellent!

Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
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Overall Satisfaction with Ellucian Banner

Ellucian Banner is a student information software system that allows for the tracking of student educational, financial, and personal information for colleges and universities. We utilize it for the purpose of enrollment, registration for classes, financial aid review and awarding, bill pay, and degree progress auditing/graduation verification. The entire school utilizes Banner because it is the way to affect the changes students request on their record. Changes made in one department affect the processes of another department, so it is the main software for our School. It is collaborative and ensures compliance with all educational privacy, financial aid, and other various regulations in Higher Education.
  • Banner does a good job creating snapshots of students' current, future, and career-based educational history. It applies coursework to pre-built educational audits to assist students in tracking progress toward a degree.
  • Banner is good at being up-to-date with policies for educational privacy, financial aid awards, and other areas of regulation on the industry of higher education.
  • Banner is highly collaborative. Changes made to a student's schedule that affect a student's full-time status will update the student's billing and financial aid eligibility in real-time.
  • Banner is term-based, which means that an inexperienced user could have issues navigating the data. It works largely on an SQL framework, storing data in tables, and reporting it out with a GUI that builds the queries with clicks instead of defining terms and composing SQL code, but being in the wrong academic term could return an outdated educational program or coursework that is not reflective of the student's current goals.
  • Banner's administrative platform, Internet-Native Banner, is far clunkier than the more slick, student-facing front end - Self-Service banner. INB speaks directly to the tables where data is stored but does not have a robust assistance feature. Without good training, the learning curve is fairly steep toward becoming a casually effective user.
  • Banner's reporting tools are lacking. It is good at recording and storing data, but there are very few prefabricated reports that are able to provide a level of customization via the user-defined parameters that can return valuable data to be used for analysis. A user should be well versed in basic SQL and a reporting tool such as Argos or Access to query the data contained within Banner's tables.
  • Banner was already in place when I arrived at my current school, but the centrality of Banner and its constituent applications contained therein has been far more integrated into the common business practices of the various disparate offices and their charges on campus. A hodgepodge of software that incongruously fits together by force of will or lack of other options seemed to rule the day for most other schools I've worked at. It was often someone's job to migrate data manually from one area to another just to get everything to work.
  • I think Banner's limitations extend from its ubiquity, utility, and centrality. At this point, moving from Banner to an entirely different Student Information System would be like tearing out all of the water pipes in your house. We're an Ellucian school, and by hook or by crook, they're going to be a part of the student, faculty, and staff experience for some time.
  • from what I know about the previous system used, it was an outdated system, based on very old software. Updating to Banner over 10 years ago meant that the school was able to accomplish far more with far less. This is not unique to Banner, but it is something that Banner is responsible for in our instance.
PeopleSoft had far more robust reporting tools and a shorter learning curve, but the navigability felt overwhelming. Where Banner provides several menus to click through (which, to be fair, can be frustrating when you just want to get to the application buried behind six menus) PeopleSoft provided expandable options from one giant list that could wind up feeling overwhelming when you're not sure which application or function you need.
This is a tough one, because my thoughts on customer support are tied to the fact that we don't have much customer support from Banner at this point - any user experience support has long since expired, but we are in the process of onboarding Degree Works, and that customer support has been lacking at best. We've mostly been able to muddle through with our own wits and a whole mess of publicly available documents from other Universities, but the process has largely not been helped by Ellucian's team.

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Did Ellucian Banner live up to sales and marketing promises?

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Did implementation of Ellucian Banner go as expected?

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If a school is working with a student information software system that is highly buggy or not providing them with a baseline level of support or is looking for seamless integration with Ellucian's other suite of tools, such as Degree Works, Banner is a solid piece of software. Having technological support and a knowledgeable team for writing SQL queries to utilize the data in Banner's tables, as well as help with onboarding and familiarization for new users, is an important piece to Banner, as it can feel very different than other SIS software, such as PeopleSoft.