Staff gets a sneak peek of new cloud system

Faculty and staff take advantage of the sneak peak of the new Ignite System which will be implemented in June 2020. Josh Aguirre | Multimedia Journalist

By Matthew Muir | Staff Writer

Ahead of its June 2020 implementation, faculty and staff got a sneak peek at Baylor’s new Ignite system at this week’s Spring into Ignite Fair. Ignite will replace the current array of financial and human resource systems Baylor currently uses.

Ignite is a cloud-based system intended to streamline the day-to-day work of faculty and staff members by providing a single system to handle HR and financial tasks. Current systems have little integration with one another, which can cause headaches and inefficiencies. The Ignite section on the Baylor website also describes Ignite as a way to further support Baylor’s Illuminate initiative.

Ken Wilkins, the associate dean for sciences, said managing the multitude of services currently in use leads to “a lot of tediousness” for him on a regular basis, particularly with repeated logins and authentication. According to Wilkins, Ignite’s benefits will be widespread.

“It’s an idea whose time has come; we’re looking forward to this,” Wilkins said. “It’s going to simplify life for hundreds and hundreds of staff members across campus.”

Student systems will be largely unaffected. Ignite will only handle HR and financial tasks, so the current student systems such as Canvas and BearWeb will remain as they are. The only exception is for student employees who use BearWeb to view tax information and enter their work hours.

However, this doesn’t mean the University isn’t considering improvements to student systems as well. Chief Business Officer Brett Dalton said he anticipates Baylor will eventually eliminate all of its “homegrown” systems like BearWeb, with Ignite being a necessary first step.

“After the foundation is laid with this Ignite project … it paves the way for the student system to be integrated seamlessly with finance, HR and the other system,” Dalton said. “I would expect when this is done successfully and when it’s mature that we would then evaluate and improve student systems.”

According to Becky King, Ignite Project Director and the associate VP of IT, the Ignite project began in 2016 and involved extensive planning and research. King said tracking the progress of vendors was an important part of the early stages of the project.

“These are relatively new systems that manage university information in the cloud,” King said. “In the couple of years it took before we made a decision in the spring of 2018 they improved a great deal.”

King said Baylor is following the progress of different vendors in developing student-oriented systems, but won’t make any changes until after the Ignite program is in place. According to King. This is because student systems are “very complex” and “truly affect everyone on campus.” King also said that any eventual student systems would integrate with Ignite.

Lisa Rieger is an administrative associate for museum studies. While apprehensive about the switch to Ignite, Rieger said she welcomes the promised benefits.

“I’m a little nervous about it but that’s OK. I mean, we’ve learned quite a bit of stuff this year and last year, what’s one more thing, right?” Rieger said. “[Right now] we have to authenticate with duo quite a bit, so if you go into Trax you have to do that.”

A preliminary list of systems that will be replaced by Ignite was provided at Tuesday’s event. The list includes the financial and HR components of Banner 9, BearQuest and BearWeb, Baylor’s iApply, Job Description database and online expense report systems, Trax, Khalix and BaylorCompass.