Colleges wishing to succeed and remain agile should look elsewhere
Updated January 31, 2020

Colleges wishing to succeed and remain agile should look elsewhere

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 1 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Ellucian Banner

Banner is being used organization-wide by students and employees. We purchased it hoping it would be a reliable means to store student, HR, and finance data; these being the business problems it would address. Banner's poor product design, however, may (in fact) cause more business problems than it solves. Ellucian's popularity in higher education and their market presence seems to be an artifact of times past. Their software can do what they claim it can do only after exhaustive environmental customizations and the purchase of additional products not listed or mentioned in the initial quotes. Additionally, Banner represents a sprawling on-premises hardware footprint because of it's fragmented feature set and the need for 3rd party or "Ellucian partner" applications. Banner documentation is often poorly written and impossibly complicated due to the poor design of the functions to which it speaks.
  • Banner holds our data in an Oracle database well enough.
  • The self-service page design is comparable to other software solutions with similar offerings; the self service back-end and upkeep is a different story.
  • The most basic function of the software (inputting data and extracting data)is laborious at best in Banner. You must learn a special Banner-specific language to use the software. Most of the programmatic functionality of Banner was created in the early '90s and has not changed. Built-in reporting is virtually non-existent and wholly insufficient even for a small to medium sized school like ours. Ellucian must re-invent their product (banner) if they wish to survive the modern technological landscape.
  • Bugs and dysfunction around every corner in Banner's interface. Banner cannot keep up with the bugs in their own software and have developed problems into their product. For example, imagine your Bursar needs a report showing how much different students have paid in a given semester, in order to do this she must navigate through four different pages to find a specialized form each named a nonsensical code, type in the term code (this is the only value for which you are permitted to search), and wait up to 20 minutes while a poorly programmed back-end procedure looks at every student ever enrolled until it finds the students who meet the criteria (the only way to access this data); additionally, the screen that is used to run this function is not capable of showing a status for the job so the Bursar must call a database or system administrator to examine a log file on the server to determine the status of the job.
  • The only positive that I can think of is that Banner has created some job security for those of us in the IT department who have to keep it alive.
The support is mostly insufficient to support the product Ellucian has designed. If the same support teams were supporting an average modern product they would be more than capable of meeting the client demand.

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I would warn other colleges to stay away from this solution entirely. Ellucian is irresponsible. If you buy in you will most likely be stuck because of the tremendously insufficient data export capabilities of Banner. There is really no possibility of trying it out for a few years and finding another solution if it doesn't work out, I shouldn't have to say it but being stuck with all your software eggs in one basket with no other options is a very bad idea for universities who need to adapt to a changing educational landscape.

EDIT: As I write this, my review is the sole Banner review that has not
been incentivized (see the 'review source' button); above and below are
glistening reviews likely cherry picked and invited to send in a review
for $$ or gift cards. I was motivated to write my review by the pain
those in my organization have experienced using, maintaining, and supporting Banner.