September 16, 2013 1:45PM
Every day, thousands of Pittsburg State faculty, staff and students log in to the Gorilla User System. Commonly referred to as GUS, this system contains records on everything from payroll and benefits to transcripts and financial assistance information.
What many don’t know is that the GUS system resides inside the university’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.
“You hear a lot of people talk about logging into GUS or using GUS for this or that,” said Angela Neria, PSU’s chief information officer. “You don’t hear a lot of people talking about ERP.”
However, ERP is about to be a main topic on campus as the university begins the process of replacing the system with a new and more secure version. Neria said the process will be “complex and difficult, but necessary.”
“Our current ERP system is nearly 30 years old,” she said. “It was launched at the same time that we saw the first Nintendo hit the market and Windows 1.0 was released. It’s been a good system and it has served its purpose, but it’s time for an upgrade that meets the needs of today’s faculty and students.”
Because the ERP system is vital to many essential university operations -- from paying staff to enrolling students -- Neria said an upgrade to a system that is more secure and easier to navigate is a must.
“Our current system is fragile,” she said. “We have to monitor it regularly in order to make sure that nothing major goes awry. And when you’re talking about making sure students get enrolled and faculty and staff are getting paid, that’s a very serious responsibility.
“A new system will still be monitored,” she said, “but with more confidence that it can live up to the demands of the times. We can’t expect systems like this to last for 30 years.”
Neria said the process to completely replace the current system will take approximately five to six years. A key group of ERP Project team members and more than 40 campus stakeholders have been working for more than a year to develop a Request for Proposal that was just released this month.
A key component of that phase is a series of upcoming campus forums, at which the project team hopes to gain feedback from faculty and staff on how best to proceed with the project.
Campus forums on the new ERP system are scheduled for 9 a.m. on Tuesday Oct. 1 and 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 2. Those forums will take place in the Governor’s Room of the Overman Student Center. A third forum is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 4, in room E101 at the Kansas Technology Center. Campus forums will be followed by vendor demonstrations where, again, campus will be asked for input on the best products for campus.
“As we go through this complex process, it’s very important that we gain feedback and input from the campus,” Neria said. “Our goal is to implement a suite of ERP products that are a good fit for our campus and the meet the needs of the PSU culture. To do that, we want and need as much feedback on this critical acquisition as we can get.
"Everyone on campus will deal with changes due to this acquisition,” Neria said. “We want the campus community to know that although we will be embarking on new and different ways of doing business, there will be ample training and support throughout the process. We will be taking this journey as a family."
For more information about the ERP system and to stay up-to-date on the upgrade process, visit http://www.pittstate.edu/info/erp.