Get to Know Ethos

by Cathy McVey, IT Services

Ethos: the distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding beliefs of a person, group, or institution.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

The move from Banner 8 to 9 is described as being bigger than an upgrade, but not quite as expensive and disruptive as launching a brand new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. You may be curious to know what makes this new version of the ERP Miami has had for nearly 18 years so different. One major factor is that this project includes our adoption of pieces of the platform Ellucian calls Ethos.

Ellucian describes Ethos as an eight-part platform that offers enhanced capabilities and deployment options. Why are these things good for Miami? As we implement parts of the Ethos platform it will enable Banner 9 to provide:

  • Greater scalability – we can grow to meet Miami’s needs
  • Easier integration – adding third-party tools to our Banner environment is easier
  • Rapid delivery – the effort to integrate new tools is being minimized

That’s a lot of goodness. How does Banner 9/Ethos deliver on those promises? While it is a complicated ecosystem, two of the eight elements are key to making the magic happen: Ethos Data Model and Ethos Integration Hub.The ovals of an atom around a building with columns. On the ovals are are cartoon versions of a graduation hat, mobile devices, gears, and vertical lines

Right now our Banner 8 system comprises core Banner solutions, supplemented by third-party applications and customizations created by Miami developers over the years. For example, to link HireTouch with Banner 8, software developers create custom integrations so all of the relevant Banner modules know when a new employee is added. Everytime Banner changed, that configuration had to be evaluated, rewritten, and tested to be sure it still works.

Ethos Data Model shapes the data from Banner and any third party applications allowing it to be read as a standard language. All data is accessed from a single interface and it is all in a common format. So, if HireTouch and other Banner modules are using the same data translated into a single language, they can pass information easily and efficiently, reducing the need for specialized customizations.

The Ethos Integration Hub is the highway that may connect Banner 9 and applications like HireTouch. Now that the data is in one language that is understood by all the pieces and parts, the Hub connects the various tools allowing data to flow between systems, applications, and processed.

So, does this mean every application currently in Miami’s Banner ecosystem will play nicely in the new Ethos world? Unfortunately, not at this time. Integration Hub is a fairly new feature in the Ethos world and other software providers are early in their adoption. Each tool will be analyzed to see which can be brought under the Ethos umbrella. It will certainly be a question each time Miami looks at new software tools or processes in the future: is it compatible with Banner 9/Ethos? The ease of integration may just be the differentiator needed to decide which tool to use.

While the Data Model and Integration Hub are front and center in our move to Banner 9, the six other tools in the Ethos ecosystem may also have the potential to significantly raise the value of this ERP reboot. Watch for future articles on tools like Workflow, Reporting, and more.