The learning curve is steep, but the benefits are excellent!
Updated November 15, 2021
The learning curve is steep, but the benefits are excellent!
Score 7 out of 10
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with clicks instead of defining terms and composing SQL code, but being in the wrong academic term could return an outdated educational program or coursework that is not reflective of the student's current goals.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 maintains all of our current and legacy student academic data
- Banner is secure and provides enhanced FERPA protections
- Banner works seamlessly with DegreeWorks, our degree auditing software
- 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.
Do you think Ellucian Banner delivers good value for the price?
Are you happy with Ellucian Banner's feature set?
Did Ellucian Banner live up to sales and marketing promises?
I wasn't involved with the selection/purchase process
Did implementation of Ellucian Banner go as expected?
I wasn't involved with the implementation phase
Would you buy Ellucian Banner again?
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.
Ellucian Banner Feature Ratings
Using Ellucian Banner
Financial Aid, Human Resources, Payroll, Academic Advising, Faculty, Academic Record keeping, Degree auditing and program progress.
For the most part, it is end-user experience folks who can do some light troubleshooting of glitches in releases. Ellucian Web Services handles the larger, deeper things like scheduling patches, system upgrades, and bigger functional failures. We just recently outsourced our information technology to Ellucian, as they are the company behind the majority of our student information software.
- Faculty grading/record keeping
- Student Registration and information record keeping
- Academic program completion/degree awarding and record keeping.
- We use Banner to determine course offerings based on student need
- Banner helps us with important HR/employee reminders like leave reports and time sheets.
- utilizing workflows to create data loops to report out student milestones and needs.
- adding in more ellucian products into the fold
We have no reason not to renew with Ellucian - we are in deep with the ecosystem, and have Ellucian providing us with information technology support. If anything, should the opportunity arise, we'd probably consider adding a different ellucian tools into the suite of applications we already have on board.
Evaluating Ellucian Banner and Competitors
Yes - I'm unsure, as the switch predated my tenure at the institution, but it was a non graphical user interface program that stored student data and mapped progress toward degrees, in addition to providing academic advising help. The opportunity, as it was explained to me, to switch to Ellucian Banner was made to have a more user-friendly experience.
- Product Features
- Product Usability
- Product Reputation
At the time, as it was explained to me (since the switch predates me), there wasn't great functionality or a graphical user interface on the old Student Information System, which was difficult to represent steps to degree completion or provide other in-depth advising assistance above a traditional pen and paper checklist method.
Ellucian Banner Support
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.
Problems get solved
Support understands my problem
Quick Initial Response
Not kept informed
Difficult to get immediate help
Ellucian is responsible for our technical support, both from an Information Technology aspect to our cloud-based services solutions. Ellucian does all installs of our Banner and Degree Works upgrades, and troubleshoots everything that we can't handle. We are a small school, and attracting the type of talent that could provide third-party support for the Banner suite of tools is infeasible.
Just recently, Banner crashed on the first day of course registration for the upcoming semester, within the first hour that registration had opened. Ellucian jumped into action and was able to identify the situation, resolve it, and get the course registration process moving again. They were integral to a successful spring registration process.