Purdue News

November 18, 2004

OnePurdue to bring sweeping technology upgrades to university

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University is set to embark on a long-term program to modernize and integrate its administrative data systems.

Morgan R. Olsen, Purdue executive vice president and treasurer, presented information today (Thursday, Nov. 18) about the initiative, called OnePurdue, during the Board of Trustees Finance Committee meeting.

During its full board meeting on Friday (Nov. 19), trustees will consider a request to lease 30,000 square feet of space in Purdue Research Park to house the approximately 140 employees who will work on the program.

OnePurdue is a four-year, systemwide technology and business-redesign initiative. It will replace Purdue's aging administrative computing applications with one easily accessible, Web-based system that, when fully implemented, will be used by virtually everyone in the university, Olsen said.

"This is the largest technology endeavor ever undertaken by Purdue," said Olsen, who also serves as chairman of the OnePurdue Executive Oversight Committee. "It will open up a whole new world of online services and other computing functionality not now possible at Purdue.

"It also will connect all four campuses under one system so that we will truly be one Purdue."

OnePurdue will integrate three major administrative applications: student services, finance, and human resources. Faculty, staff and students will be able to access a variety of new self-service applications. Students, for example, will be able to register for classes online and check the status of their financial aid and progress toward graduation.

Faculty will be able to download class rosters, enter grades, access student advisory information, and assign plus and minus grades, which is not currently possible.

Faculty and staff will be able to access up-to-date personal compensation and benefits information, change their current tax-withholding status, and apply for leave and check their leave balances.

"One of the beauties of this is that we'll be able to do all this online, at the office or from home," Olsen said.

The implementation of OnePurdue is scheduled to begin July 1 and is projected to be completed by July 1, 2008.

"More than a year of planning and preparation is already under way for this," said Gary Newsom, OnePurdue executive director. "Our team is being assembled and is already doing a lot of important legwork so that we'll be able to hit the ground running next July."

The OnePurdue program will be supported by approximately 170 full-time people, including both staff and consultants. About 140 members of the program team are university employees who will be temporarily replaced in their current positions so they can devote all of their efforts to the initiative.

The main component of OnePurdue will be its ERP (enterprise resource planning) software. A software vendor is expected to be chosen in spring 2005.

"The business software we're using now is 25 to 30 years old," Newsom said. "It's very fragile and difficult to change. Those who remember the computer problems on the West Lafayette campus at the start of the semester last January know why we need to upgrade our systems as soon as possible."

Newsom also described another problem with Purdue's current system of multiple databases at the systemwide campuses – some with conflicting information about the same thing or person.

"When you're getting your data from more than one source like this, it can be hard to tell which is the most accurate," he said. "But after OnePurdue has been fully implemented, we'll only be using one central database, and everyone will be looking at the same information. That means there will be accurate, up-to-the-minute reports for administrators and better information in general for everyone."

Writer: Steve Jones, spjones@purdue.edu

Sources: Morgan Olsen, mrolsen@purdue.edu

Gary Newsom, (765) 494-1599, gnewsom@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


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