St. John Fisher College is a small liberal arts college offering 35 academic majors in the humanities, social sciences, sciences, business, education and nursing; 11 pre-professional programs; and a variety of master’s and doctoral programs. Located in Pittsford, N.Y., a suburb of Rochester, the college is situated on a park-like 154-acre campus that provides a welcoming environment for nearly 4,000 full- and part-time students.
Like many colleges and universities, St. John Fisher College had implemented Banner as its student information and ERP system, but needed a way to automate data entry. The College was using a solution to upload files with SAT and ACT test scores, but most information was still entered manually. That led Fisher to explore document imaging, which in turn led to a demo of Axiom.
“We were looking into the various components of the Banner document management system, and as part of that demo looked at AnyDoc and Axiom,” said Laurie Thomsen, Senior Programmer/Analyst with the Office of Information Technology at St. John Fisher College. “We ended up using Axiom. We have found that Axiom is very beneficial for loading data into Banner.”
Axiom gave St. John Fisher College the ability to upload files from a variety of sources, including applications entered through PharmCAS, Common App and other sources. As long as the file is in a set format, it can easily be loaded into Banner.
“Right now, we are using Axiom to load SAT and ACT scores, and applications for freshmen and graduate and transfer students. Axiom also uploads prospect data from several sources, and we are in the process of using it to load events for advancement,” Thomsen said. “I cannot tell you the amount of time Axiom has saved us.”
Banner houses mission-critical data used by departments throughout St. John Fisher College, including admissions, HR, finance and advancement. A self-service app enables students to log in and see their schedules, faculty to see their class lists, and employees to see their time sheets.
However, a lot of the information stored in Banner originates from external sources. Before the College invested in Axiom, a team of people in the Admissions Processing Center had to manually enter data from applications and prospect lists. Each application includes a lot of information, and prospect lists contain tens of thousands of records.
“The ability to upload prospect lists has been a huge timesaver. With Axiom it takes a couple of hours to enter the data as opposed to a couple of months doing it manually. And, of course, if takes a couple of months just to get the data into the system, the opportunities with those prospects would certainly be limited,” Thomsen said.
“With applications, Axiom saves us tons of time and human error is eliminated. Data does still need to be reviewed to make sure everything is in there correctly, but that’s still easier than manually typing in all of that information.”
Axiom also helps St. John Fisher College keep the information in Banner up-to-date. The College periodically sends data files to a service that cleans up the address information. Axiom not only uploads the file but matches the corrected data to existing records in Banner.
“Axiom does a good job of ensuring that records aren’t duplicated. In some cases, a human has to go in and look at the data, but the way Axiom presents it makes it easy for the Processing Center team to determine if it’s really a duplicate or not.”
Other methods investigated by St. John Fisher College were found to be too labor-intensive. With Axiom, the College gained sophisticated software that was customized and implemented by a team of experienced professionals.
“Axiom already had loads developed for ACT and SAT scores, PharmCAS and Common App, and we hired them [Axiom] to develop a few more application loads for us,” Thomsen said. “But Axiom is so flexible that it allows me to do many things myself. The nice thing about the product is that much of the processing is done within database procedures. If you understand that and you understand the tables and APIs, the rest of it is easy. Of course, if you’re not a programmer then Axiom takes care of all that for you.”
St. John Fisher College is starting to use Axiom Elite, the new version of the product introduced in 2015. Axiom Elite supports SQL Server and Oracle databases and integrates with a variety of student information systems and third-party platforms. It also features more advanced record-matching and duplicate-prevention tools, a complete data change audit trail, and a more user-friendly interface for exception handling.
“We’re just starting to use Elite but I think I’m going to love it,” Thomsen said. “It’s drag and drop. In the previous version, when a file format changes, you have to renumber all the fields. With Axiom Elite, you can just drag the field and drop it where it needs to be.”
Axiom Elite makes it easy to upload files from a wide range of applications even when the data format changes. Thanks to Axiom, St. John Fisher College has been able to replace slow and error-prone data entry processes with an efficient, automated solution.