Welcome! Using Argos for Letter Generation Presented By Jim Ollerhead Banner & Argos Support Team Leader University of Salford, England, UK
Please remember to silence your telephone Thank You!
A bit about me… 1995 – 2001 Banner Developer 2001 – 2004 Various Other Oracle Roles 2004 onward Banner Support Team Leader
The University of Salford is in the North West of England close to Manchester The University was founded in 1896 and has a student population of approximately 19,000 SunGard HE products (Banner Student, Financial Aid and Accounts Receivable) have been in use at the University of Salford to hold information about our students since 1999 We began trialling the use of Argos at the beginning of 2007 University of Salford, England, UK
The Joy of Banner Letter Generation… Before you begin…. Find the User Guides! (General, Chapters 3, 5 and 6) Learn about the Banner ‘mark-up’ language Teach yourself SQL
Finding the User Guides Open up the Banner Bookshelf Index the PDF’s if necessary Perform an advanced search for ‘Letter’ Find the relevant sections from the 2884 hits Read them!
Learn the Banner ‘Mark-up’ Language 23 ‘tags’ some of which have a multiple parameter format (e.g. tables) Complex syntax needed for simplest things, e.g: #CONCAT x Concatenate — Place x next to the preceding word without inserting a space between them. Frequently used to place punctuation after a variable Note: A backslash (\) is required to concatenate a period (.), for example: *VARIABLE #CONCAT, *VARIABLE #CONCAT ! *VARIABLE #CONCAT \. Note: A trailing space is required after the #CONCAT command and before the x string.
Pre-Argos Solution Use 3 rd -party Reporting tool To build list of recipients Extract Into Excel Mail-merge Into Word
Drawbacks with MS solution Users must have (and be able to use!) MS Office Only addresses are extracted – other data will require additional programming Ownership and uniformity of template letters Data can be changed after letter production No record of letters sent/produced held within Banner
USA on trial in the UK Another Acronym! Problem In Chair Not In Computer Beyond Any Normal Need for Education Records Another Reason for Going Off Sick Ad-Hoc Report Generation and Output Solution
Up-front advantages Web interface – no installation needed Training? What training? Control over who can change what Central store for letters facilitates good CM PDF Output = no post-production changes User empowerment ( = less work for IT support!)
How we implemented Argos at Salford Initial decisions: Single user sign-on to the Banner database All Argos-specific objects held in the ARGOS_USER schema Setting up of Argos key-users Creation of a BI Data Dictionary
Single-User Sign-on All users connect as ARGOS_USER ARGOS_USER given full query-only access Access to individual Banner tables controlled by BI Data Dictionary views (mostly!) No impact from Banner upgrades
Advantages of Argos-specific objects No impact from Banner upgrades Facilitates ‘soft parameter’ reporting Objects created so far: 6 Business Intelligence Views GYRSIGN table for recording signatories Argos package containing 5 functions
BI Data Dictionary (Views) Evolving with time and usage Six objects so far (roughly chronological order): SYRAPPL- Applications SYRDEMO- (Person) Demographics SYRSTPR- Students against Programs SYRMODL- Academic History Module Marks SYRINTR- Interruptions to Study SYRSTOU- Learning Outcome
Example BI View: SYRSTPR Students against Programs Joins 16 tables Uses library functions to look up coded values Additional User-friendly definition document
Users Q & A on Argos… Q. Can we have separate letters for overseas? A.No. Q. Can we have separate letters for conditional offers? A.No. Q. Can we have different letters for different signatories? A.No. Q. Can we have a separate report for Address Labels? A. No
But what if the wording isn’t right… Is it the wording, conditions or the source data? Wording: Change it but be aware that we only version control the Master Copy Conditions: Speak to business process owner then Key User to change it Source Data: Speak to IT support