By Emily Rushton
Marc Thompson is an ideas man – he’s always thinking up ways to improve the processes of the University. So it’s no surprise that when the U needed a campus-wide solution for credit card processing, Thompson was ready.
“I’d been thinking about it for a long time,” said Thompson, software design engineer for UIT’s University Support Services (USS), and UIT employee since 1999. Coincidentally, he’d already come up with the idea 13 years ago while working for UIT’s former Media Solutions group.
“It had become obvious that we needed something to allow some departments and organizations across campus to be able to pay for things using a credit card,” he said. “So I created this little application that we called Order Processing.”
That little application was still running strong years later, when the need for a campus-wide solution had grown too large to be ignored. Over the years, many departments had begun building their own apps to process credit card payments, which meant that any time the bank’s merchant services required a change, each application would have to be updated or sometimes rewritten altogether.
Then when PCI compliance came around, the number of individually-managed credit card processing apps simply became too much of a security risk and too expensive to maintain.
“It just got so hard to manage for everybody,” said Thompson.
So in early 2015, Thompson approached Income Accounting with the idea of consolidating all of the disparate applications into one, on a single secure network, using the app he’d built 13 years ago as a foundation. Income Accounting and IT governance signed off on the proposal, and Thompson and his team set to work redesigning and re-building. After a year and a half of transitioning departments over, the brand new, redesigned UCCP application went live in April 2016.
In the 10 months the app has been live, it’s processed over $125 million in credit card transactions – and it continues to save the University time, resources, and money.
“It’s substantial,” said Thompson. “Especially over time, it will be a major savings.”