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Facilities and Operations
R25, EMS, and others
My institution is considering implementing an event scheduling software system and we are interviewing several options.
I was invited to be a part of the decision making committee....
So with that said, can anyone give me some quick opinions on what they use on their campuses (good, bad, etc)?
Thanks in advance for your help!
University Unions at University of Michigan uses EMS and we are generally very happy with it. Our Catering goes into it as well and I could wish for that to be more flexible but other than that we've been very pleased with the tech support , regular updates and robust system that EMS offers.
We use EMS Enterprise and we love it! The tech support was the selling point for us but we have been very pleased with the rest of the package as well. We just recently added Digital Signage and Reach Sports Group and EMS work well together and we are able to display our events effortlessly.
Associate Director of Operation
UAF Wood Center
W. 'Otis' Mamed, MS. Director, CCSU Student Centerhttp://stdctr.ccsu.edu | Personal Twitter = omamedEvents http://today.ccsu.edu | Event Tweet=CCSUToday
We here just completed a MAJOR effort to get more out of our R25 software and determined for many reasons that it no longer met our needs. We got proposals from 5 or 6 different scheduling software companies and decided on EMS (this has been over a year in the works). At my last school we went from #2 pencil system to Ad Astra and it was pretty terrible. I tried then (1999) to get the college to go with EMS but they did not take my advice.
I am thrilled with our decision to go with EMS here at UVM and we are going "all in" for all the bells and whistles. We will fold in catering, all resource providers, class scheduling, etc. We have hired a full-time person to manage the transition for us so the two departments (mine and Conference & Events) who are paying for everything can keep up with our regular workload. I could tell you more and would be happy to talk with you if you like.
I have noticed over the years that this topic comes up 2 or 3 times a year and overwhelmingly the feedback I have seen from folks is that EMS is hands down the stronger tool. I have seen comments by R25, Astra, and other users say typically that they "make it work", "it could be better", "meets our needs", etc. I have also seen many comments about these that folks are not happy. On the other hand, I really do not feel I have seen many, if any, comments from EMS users that were not very happy with what they had. Again, I have been watching this topic for years and this is what I have noticed.
The one aspect EMS could not do as strongly as USI (Unngerboeck) was some of the high end conference registration support. We are looking to fold that aspect of external conference registrations, name badges, payment collection, etc. This is an area where USI wins but this was not an issue the entire campus cared about so it was not the driver in deciding.
We plan to launch EMS campus wide this summer.
Hope this helps and do not hesitate to contact me if you like.
University of Vermont
Thank you to everyone that has responded to my request about reservation systems so far.
My co-workers that are working on this project with me have asked me to find out if there are any institutions using Datatel/Colleague with any of the major reservation systems such as EMS, R25 or Ad Astra.
If you have any insight or comments about these, please feel free to post here in the forum or email me directly at email@example.com.
Thank you for all of your help!
Erin, I'll post here just in case anyone would care to disagree, but I've worked with both R25 (2 institutions) and EMS Campus (currently) and Datatel. All of our classes were all scheduled in Datatel and then were exported/imported/etc. to the scheduling program in both instances. Neither one did any academic scheduling in EMS or R25/S25, it was always Datatel.
EMS Campus: Love it so far (still in the testing phase). Very intuitive and flexible (imported classes can bump existing scheduled events or place them in a "conflict" status and notify someone to fix), automatically sync any additions, changes, cancellations - or not if you want to have more control over what is synced and when. So far, I'm very pleased.
R25: Personally, I found the whole process to be a nightmare at both institutions. You have to export your entire class schedule as vCal files then manually import them into R25, which I found took a couple hours (EMS, like 30 seconds). If there are any errors or space conflicts, you need to search through the error logs (no special statuses to flag it, no notification option to tell anyone, no option to have the classes "bump" the other event out, etc.). Once you manually sync the first batch of classes, there is no automatic sync per se - although your IT dept can probably create a script that automatically exports everything from datatel, ftps it to a shared folder, then have an instance of R25 running their import utility that will then import them. All additions, changes, cancellations would run through that scenario, but again, in order to find out if there are any errors or conflicts or anything, you have to manually check the error logs (or folder where the vCals were stored) periodically (for us it would have been nearly every day as a couple weeks before the semester through a couple weeks after, there were changes occurring sometimes multiple times per day).
I could go on but I think you get the idea that I feel that EMS Campus handles the Datatel integration better. I don't know how it is with a product like EMS Professional or EMS Enterprise though - I don't think they have the automatic sync option, but I believe that they have the ability to still notify via email on space conflicts, create and utilize special "conflict" statuses, etc. so that would still be MUCH better than R25.
Bottom line (based on my experience, others may have had better luck*):
EMS: makes me happy
R25: made me want to drive a nail through my skull.
*although I've never found him/her.
Jon Burk, Director
College Union & Conference Services