Ensuring Consistent, Accurate, and Timely Financial Aid Data with Argos
Lansing Community College
For Lansing Community College (LCC), finding the right enterprise resource planning (ERP) and reporting solutions were decades in the making. Before their current solution, departments and staff had difficulty pulling reports.
In the Financial Aid Office, in particular, the majority of information came from a single person running ad hoc reports day in and day out. Time-intensive or highpriority compliance-related reporting bottlenecked workflow to the point where simple transactions had average turnaround times of days to weeks. When administrators ran reports themselves, the data was inconsistent or too time consuming to compile. In 2009, it was time to say goodbye to their reporting solution.
The college turned to Argos, Evisions’ enterprise reporting solution, with LCC’s first major task being to convert all of the college’s legacy reports to Argos. This resulted in some startling discoveries of how the college found information through the years. When users produced their own reports in LCC’s old reporting software, they pulled different sets of data and couldn’t agree on what was accurate and what wasn’t. Some even described it as “data anarchy.” The college first standardized and centralized report development. In a few months, hundreds of reports were converted and multiple reports were consolidated (as many as 19 for one administrator) into single Argos DataBlocks. The college centralized report development and prioritized reports for the Financial Aid, Human Resources, and purchasing departments.
The Financial Aid Office, with a staff of 26 administrators and student workers, migrated about 50 reports to Argos in a few weeks’ time, and then set about writing new reports, as well as creating DataBlocks and Dashboards in house. Converting old reports and creating new reports in Argos completely changed the way the Financial Aid Office worked. For example, a “Financial Aid Dashboard” was created to house several summary and banded reports that together, present an overview of what’s going on in Financial Aid in the areas of funds management, document management, and applicant information, along with four-year histories for comparison. Having this Dashboard even turned a daunting, three-hour weekly progress meeting for Financial Aid leaders into a quick, one-hour update. Another report, the “Student Record Overview,” combines more than 10 Banner® by Ellucian forms into a single DataBlock, effectively cutting the time everyone spent hunting for the correct report down to zero. With everyone accessing the same information, there’s no more wasted time or inconsistencies. Argos is the hub for all financial aid operations.
With Argos deployed in nearly every department at LCC, a staggering number of employee hours is being saved. Before implementing Argos, individual departments at LCC spent hours every term gathering information from employees, including contact information and schedules, which was then put in Excel spreadsheets. Sometimes employee information was updated in Banner, but oftentimes it wasn’t. LCC estimated that creating these lists ate up 240 hours of staff time per year. When an employee contact information report was created, it not only saved hours of work, but improved employee data integrity by decreasing errors an estimated 70 percent. Now that everyone at LCC is accessing data from the same source, there are no more rogue spreadsheets, conflicting information, or hours wasted on compilation and research.
As of 2015, LCC has approximately 1,200 enterprise reports across departments, with more than 400 active users, making Argos truly invaluable to day-to-day operations. The information in Banner is LCC’s source of truth, and Argos is the solution that makes that possible.