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Options

In November 1999, NSCC, an SCT Banner site came to the conclusion that there was one viable portal option that provided the necessary seamless Banner integration and dynamic account activation process that we were looking for. We investigated several other portal providers such as Mybytes.com but they provided no integration into our administrative systems. This meant that email accounts could not be generated dynamically, but rather through a file transfer and seamless integration into the Banner Web products would not be possible as well as dynamic integration with other systems.

Campus Pipeline, a company with close ties to SCT provided many of the core services that we were seeking as well as the hooks into the SCT Web products. After the CIO attended a general session on Campus Pipeline, and after more detailed investigation it was truly reasonable to expect that this product could indeed assist NSCC in meeting its objectives. A demonstration was soon arranged with a Campus Pipeline representative with NSCC senior management, managers and selected faculty. After further demonstrations and discussions we determined that it made sense for NSCC to pursue a pilot installation of Pipeline in parallel with the Banner student and faculty web products with the ultimate goal of utilizing Pipeline to push out the Web products.

Obstacles
Pipeline can be implemented in one of two ways:

  • Option 1: Implement Campus Pipeline with corporate advertising; this makes the cost of the product free, except for the required supporting hardware. Within this scenario various screens within campus Pipeline contain small blocks of advertising, in addition one area is solely reserved for E-commerce (Web Life).
  • Option 2: Implement Pipeline without advertising, which makes the cost of the product significant. To implement Pipeline without advertising contact your Campus Pipeline representative.

NSCC's budget at the time could not support a no-advertising/payment option, thus we made the decision to implement Pipeline with the advertising component. Many NSCC managers predicted that this advertising within the Pipeline portal would be a huge obstacle to overcome. The thought of including corporate advertising on a core NSCC system, which would be utilized by our students, faculty and employees, was expected to cause significant dissention among the campus community.

Overcoming the Advertising Obstacle
The internal political aspects of gaining support cannot be understated, and at NSCC were clearly identified in advance planning. To overcome any possible negativity associated with advertising within the Pipeline product, NSCC began a comprehensive informational campaign. This campaign took place from late February through early April 1999, and targeted all constituents of the community including; staff, faculty, students, senior management, and managers. Each overview covered Pipeline's functionality, while highlighting all the specific benefits that NSCC could expect. At the end of each session the two implementation methods (advertising vs. no advertising) were discussed, with time allocated for Q&A and feedback. The CIO conducted a total of twelve informational sessions to the NSCC community: Some groups presented to are:

  • Day classes (with neutral, extremely negative, and positive faculty members)
  • Coordinating Council (oversees the governing body recommendations)
  • Student Government
  • Faculty Meetings
  • Senior Management
  • Managers

A brief survey about Campus Pipeline was distributed to each of the participants. These surveys were tabulated and the results were published to the entire NSCC community via email and the Web. Somewhat surprising were the results because they did not vary significantly between each of the target audiences. In May 2000 a meeting of managers and faculty voted on whether to continue with the Pipeline initiative during the summer 2000 semester. If approved this formal testing would focus on integrating Pipeline and the Banner Web to allow for a Web Registration Pilot in September 2000. The vote was attended by well over 150 people and was unanimously approved, with only 3 dissentions.

Through careful targeting of key constituencies and decision-makers, who in turn became promoters, as well as inclusion of all stakeholders in the informational campaign, support was obtained from all components of the College. This was also a major factor leading to success by the implementation teams.