Dammit this is confusing even for me.
Per user pricing - I think this is a daft idea dreamt up by someone who doesn't work in education. They need to come to some of my schools and tell them how their billing works, so I can laugh as they're beaten off the premises by angry bursars waving unfeasibly large calculators at them.
Why advertise something as "the easiest transition" whilst making it as obscure as possible... Will be interesting to see what prices come up.
Last edited by synaesthesia; 6th March 2012 at 06:35 PM.
Per user pricing is used by a number of firms ... and the idea is based on the ability to pay as well as how heavily you will use a service. This model is being used by suppliers both on and off the emPSN framework. Some services are easy enough to work out based on the size of the school (basically banding things together) or a flat fee per school. Per user is done with VLEs, filtering products, etc ... and a direct comparison would be cloud-based services for business from Google and MS ... you pay per account there too. We keep saying that schools are like businesses ...
Transition ... most of the present services run off EMBC owned hardware in the EMBC data centre. If you want to move the service to somewhere, including Capita's equivalent service, then some transition will take place. Some services you can do this manually (e.g. web hosting) but others are easier to have managed for you (e.g. mailboxes, filter lists :group settings / whitelists / blacklists / etc, user accounts if using the central IdP) but these cost to have someone do the work. So, you work out what services you want, see if it works out better to do the work yourself to pay someone else to do it for you.
It's not that side of it that's a problem - some people appear to be of the idea (understandably, reading their blurb on emPSN) that they will continue to get the same service from essentially the same product as they have currently (i.e. mailmarshall, SUMS and what-not) however everything I read about openhive shows it's a completely different product rather than a rebadge or rename?
Re the per user thing; VLE's are understandable, filtering a little less so - in some schools there is such a high number of pupil changes (staff less-so) it seems to be another inconvenience to the school? I might be over-dramatising it a little (hey, you should know me by now, T!) but this is the impression I've had from a couple of schools who's finance people are quite good (compared to, erm, others, shall I say? ) For instance, primary school with no incumbent IT staff other than a visiting technician perhaps every fortnight or more; I'm guessing there's a way to automatically add these per-user costs to pupil finances, if indeed it's done live. This is why I'd like to know how it's billed - an average, end of year based on some figures, monthly amounts like some sort of head-count meter reading?
These are questions I'm being asked myself hence putting them forward here
IIRC (and you can always just ask Capita) the cost per-user for that year is agreed at the start of the contract ... so any changes (increases / decreases) are just taken on the chin on both sides. I am sure that if you have a sudden need to drastically increase the number of accounts for certain things (e.g. another school closes and you take on staff and children) I am sure that things can be discussed ... most providers of services do this. We had it in Corby with a VLE/Mail system when Our Lady & Pope John closed and we ended up with nearly 100 extra kids across various years. It is not a new issue and most folk are flexible if you ask. If a services provider / supplier had to put examples in of every time they might be flexible then it would be a massive document ...
To some extent you ask a question to see how flexible they are and then hope they will be flexible on everything ... or you just ask lots of examples.
As for OpenHive ... I am not trying to sell the product (as the LA do not recommend and sit on the fence a heck of a lot) it is worth saying that it is a bit different to what is there atm. Things like AD integration for SSO, etc are their on the Capita farm whereas they are not on the EMBC farm ... Those of CPanel are using the OpenHive web hosting already, and Mail Marshall is also the Capita offering already too. In general, there is the same functionality as before on each service ... default levels on NetSweeper or take on Local Control and have either tied in with SUMS for Portal Controlled Filtering ... Mail Marshall access ... email is either Exchange based (as it is now) or Live@Edu with account integration to the central IdP (for provision and management) as a change ... if you are still on PLESK you can move over to CPanel or have it lifted ask shifted to another PLESK build instead ...
So lots of the same. Firewall rules and NAT the same, DNS the same ... as much or as little as you want the same.
And this is before you mix and match with in-house services, other folk on the framework (whether RM or even Unified Comms from Virgin) or bits not on the framework whether your VLE, Google Apps, Live@Edu, WAN access to your Academy Group ...
Now the people who are going to do a lot of mixing and matching are those who are more technically able. If a school does not have that in house then they should be buying the relevant level of support and advice in. If they cut corners on connections and services to save money and do the same on IT Support ... then there is little which we can do ... but that is a discussion for another day ... probably in a pub somewhere.
synaesthesia (7th March 2012)
Speaking of services Tony, could you shed any light on an answer to the question "Can I just take the connectivity and completely forego the services?"
We host a lot of our own internally already - for instance, we already have secondary filters for both internet and email to pick up what EMBC miss, we host our own VLE and website - yet nobody at our LA seems to want to stump up an answer to the question when asked.
Could we just take a circuit from KCOM straight into the core and give Capita and RM a polite refusal or is there an absolute minimum of stuff we need to contract in to?
Cheers Tony, that clears it up a bit. I keep being asked about the simplist way forward so at least have something to go on. Capita aren't being too forthcoming with information every time I press them though, perhaps I need to speak to the right person
So, has anyone had their pricing as today is the red letter day for Kcom?
Nothing yet! Are they trying to alienate schools?! I have quotes from other suppliers who are providing comprehensive solutions and open pricing...
I've looked at Schoolsbroadband, VirginMedia, Exa-Networks, RM, Capita and smoothwall.
Schoolsbroadband from TalkStraight will do 8 IP addresses, included on-site engineer installation, VPNs, unlimited email accounts, email span filtering, hardware warranty of router, firewall for contract duration, website hosting, web filtering AD integration with Fortinet appliance, all for a nice sum. 3yr contract, no installation charge, 40Mb on 100Mb bearer.
VirginMedia will do a fully managed connection with firewall (juniper appliance) and filtering for a modest install charge and annual fee. With 2-5 schools on-board, no install fee and lower annual charge, 6+ schools no fee and even lower annual charge. No email or web hosting. All prices for a 100Mb bandwidth on 100Mb bearer.
Exa didn't do so well on price for a 30Mb connection no web hosting or emails. Nowhere near the competition and installation was nearly £3.4k (worst of the quotes, though nothing firm from RM)
I've looked at smoothwall for filtering, nice product, but to get any kind of discount they want a full 3yrs upfront (not cheap), other solutions will offer discounts and annual payment schedule!
RM were considered for about 1/2 second . their connectivity deal for leased lines is very tempting that I imagine each school has a quote for. smartcache2 (with all of the gubbins, safetynet universal, smart tracker) was looked at but on going issues with windows 7 and AD integration was a put off. also looked into their web hosting (linux or windows, very competative compared to Capita) easymail. Looks a very good offer, if I didn't have issues with the company.
Capita, not connectivity, but is everything else. Everyone can see their prices for day1 bundels now. Enough said.
Just to point out, migration is not included in the above options I have referenced where Capita have included setup and migration fees. Though the above quotes start out with their own options from default and configure as much as possible to suit our needs.
kaphc (15th March 2012)
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