Mock Tests and Much To Do for OneCarolina Teams (February 15, 2011)
February is a month of testing and training for the OneCarolina teams, especially for Admissions as they get ready to run tests on their newly built software module. Other teams are busy working on the back-end hardware and databases that will support the Admissions system, while the rest of OneCarolina is busy crafting subject-specific modules.
As OneCarolina moves toward its first module go-live in August, there has been a lot of scrambling to integrate dozens of parts that will make the whole system work reliably. The Technical team is waiting on final deliveries of the main production hardware that will form the base of the entire system. They have also been working out the details of links between SunGard's Banner system and admissions software packages, as well as building custom forms that will be used in workflows and reporting. The team will be closely monitoring the hardware as testing begins, making sure that it will handle workloads. And the Operational Data Store/Enterprise Data Warehouse group is developing reporting systems for Banner, and planning common data standards for the University.
The Financial Aid team has finished building its databases, and has been hard at work in training sessions for the Banner Financial Aid module that is scheduled to go live at the end of this year. While some teams are preparing for Admissions testing, Financial Aid is working on finalizing configuration for its own testing in the Fall. A core group has been traveling to all of the campuses in the University system to conduct discussions on funds management tables and document tracking.
The Student Services team has a number of groups working in parallel with Admissions to finalize configurations for registration and records, which will be part of the larger Student Services module. A sub-group has been working on converting data from the University's mainframe into the new Banner system, and developing connections to syncronize records between the two. Most of the Student team will be training this month in class scheduling, creating records, and the Banner Document Management System, which will image documents and store them in a searchable database.
The Finance/AR team is currently engaged in creating key components of their system, which is in early stages of development. Processes for capturing legal residency and assessment data are being worked out, and the group is now training on finance and fee assessment workflows in Banner.
But the big news is the upcoming Mock testing for the Admissions group. Mock tests put the system through its paces, simulating "real world" processes with test data. The idea is to run the system as completely as possible, identify issues, work on corrections, and then run the tests again. Three Mock tests will be conducted over the next six weeks, and testers will attempt to identify where the system needs work, and where it is running smoothly. The first test is schedule for February 22nd. In preparation for the tests, team members have been loading test data, ironing out last minute configurations, and finalizing test result reporting methods.
"Our people doing the tests are already pretty well trained in Banner," says Mary Wagner, senior director of Undergraduate Admissions for the Columbia campus. "We'll be putting the new system through its paces, and we expect to run into problems. But that's the whole point of testing - to work out all the bugs."