Straight from U: Campus Cards in the Cloud

Straight from U is a series featuring CBORD higher education users from around the country.
Today we’ll hear from Gaston Arellano, associate director of business services at Barry University in Miami, Florida.

Several years ago, the IT team at Barry University encouraged all departments on campus to move any on-premise software to the cloud. Licensing fees were a driving factor, as well as the cost of replacing old servers and outdated hardware. About the same time, CBORD approached us about a new product, Odyssey DirectTM, they wanted to test. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for us to explore a hosted solution for our campus card system.

Implementation was fairly smooth on our campus. The conversion process took about 24 hours from start to finish.

As an early adopter, we ran into issues during the process, which were researched and fixed to prevent in later implementations. Also, giving CBORD our database ahead of time allowed us to clean up our system and fix preexisting issues in our database. Several of our users had multiple Odyssey accounts, so we were able to consolidate and merge patron accounts.

From an administrative standpoint, I love that I can login from anywhere, anytime to fix issues that may arise. If a meal plan goes down and I’m off campus, I can access the system from my phone and get it back up and running. Pulling reports is much easier, and the new dashboard gives you real-time stats at a glance. It provides a much better user experience for our team.

Advice from a User

If I offered any advice to you, it’s to implement AdminWeb now. It makes the transition to Odyssey Direct so much easier. We quit using the PCS UI several years ago, and I even uninstalled it on all our computers. The switch gave us a lot more accessibility to our system. We could access and perform administrative duties from anywhere on campus, and even off campus without having to us a VPN.

I also encourage you to use the same IP for your server on the communications gateway that is installed. That way you don’t have to physically touch every device on campus to change the IP address. It will make your life much easier!

All in all, it was a great decision for our campus to switch to the cloud-based solution. If you have questions or want to talk further about our experience, feel free to contact me at GArellano@barry.edu.

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