The campuswide LEAPForward Initiative continues to progress in creating the next-generation academic information environment for Illinois State University.

What is LEAPForward?

The purpose is to replace the aging technology systems at Illinois State and allow for ease of reporting and analyzing data. The benefits of this upgrade will enable information integration throughout the entire campus; reduce duplication between departments; and allow faculty, students, and staff a chance to complete tasks in a more rapid time. This necessary change will allow Illinois State University to maintain its competitive advantage.

How will LEAPForward affect me?

LEAPForward graphicThe LEAPForward Initiative will impact all members of the campus community. Faculty will have better access to student information, class rosters, and teaching schedules. Staff will benefit from real time reporting of information, streamlining processes, and access to student information. Students will see major improvements on the way they access information from all aspects including: admissions, registration, housing and dining, academic history, and financial aid.

Have vendors been selected?

The LEAPForward Initiative has been focused on several major purchases: Student Information System, Identity and Access Management, Housing and Dining, Payment Gateway, and Business Intelligence.

The past several months have been extremely busy for the LEAPForward team as they have been evaluating numerous vendor responses for these areas. To date, no vendors have been selected. The evaluation phase of each vendor is a lengthy process and involves state procurement laws and guidelines that must be followed. Part of the process for selecting a vendor includes: evaluation of the product, contract negotiations, and approval from the state.

Although this sounds like a simple task, it is extremely complex.

Many subject matter experts from all areas of campus are involved in evaluating the products of each vendor that submits a response. This can be a very intricate process as each area of campus has to verify that the functions of the product will meet their department’s needs. Once subject matter experts narrow down their choice of vendor, contract negotiations begin. This process also becomes very involved because the University is trying to negotiate the best possible cost for the product. The final phase of vendor selection falls in the hands of Illinois State Procurement. This process can become quite lengthy as the state has up to 30 days to either question, send back, or approve the contract. If questions need to be answered or the contract gets sent back, the process takes even longer. Once issues are resolved the state has another 30 days. This process continues until the state approves the vendor contract.

The LEAPForward team appreciates the patience the campus community is showing while we work through this tedious process.

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