One of our customer schools went with Progresso at the start of term. They've had what they describe as 'a nightmare' and have hurriedly reverted back to CMIS. I don't know any details.
Our SMT are seriously considering Progresso, but reading all the issues schools have been having I think I'll have to try and sway them towards SIMS which is our only other option because of our LA. They don't support any other MIS as far as I know. We only ever hear negative comments about Progresso. Very dissappointing.
Why do you need support from your LEA cant you just just get it direct from the supplier?
It would be extremely worth your while to have your head enquire with the LA exactly what their reasons are for taking this stance.
If only for the clarity.
What have you got to lose?
Worst case you get a new MIS system which may suit your school requirements.
Best case you get to shop around and get the system best suited to your schools requirements.
You may find that the LA is going to tender soon anyway...
Last edited by JohnCondon; 14th January 2013 at 01:09 PM.
Must admit that our place has said before well its what we have already which is Facility / Progresso or SIMS when I mentioned others such as Aspen, Bromcom and RM (note that is not an order of preference / desire just 3 more vendors of MIS's I could think of at the time all would need to be looked into, tested, evaluated etc...)
I was told no its SIMS or stick as we are as there isn't anything else worth considering and as the LA do SIMS we should have it as it makes life easier AKA be sheep and match the rest. I do think the financial element is a very big one though LA's bulk buy deals are criminally cheap compared to individual, I don't know the figures our place got but the LA is cheapest for its product followed by the current setup but as we do very little with the LA myself and the Data Manager felt external direct support is what we would want for any other MIS product and the £££ just flew up major style at that point. Could can buy a luxury car apparently or a row of houses in a socio-economically deprived area for the money we are talking so I was told! and that is before the ££ of all the other bits needed to appease other firms such as new PCs if its a client based solution rather than Cloud / Web based etc....
LA's should be banned from having these agreements and schools forced to work on there own that would blow apart this captive market and I think for the better as people would look at others such as those mentioned above and stop being sheep if they paid the true cost, or it could drive costs from the big names down to sensible figures if they are that high!
I'm sure at one point teh LAs were getting 'done' for not shopping around too!
Support from the LA does include financial support. It would cost us a fortune to go with any other MIS supplier compared to the options we have at present. Plus SIMs would fit in nicely with a lot of our third party software, FrogVLE, EclipseMLS, Groupcall Emerge etc etc. There was a rumour that a school in Birmingham that had gone direct to a supplier with no LA support and ended up with a slightly better version of the MIS they would have got from the LA but paid a fortune, that supplier was SERCO!!!
Last edited by sudeshatilsley; 15th January 2013 at 09:17 AM.
Most of the existing suppliers will be more than capable of interfacing with the products you mentioned.
Don't allow "received wisdom" or "someone elses experience" to colour your expectations.
It's always worth at least making the enquiries with alternate suppliers, even if you don't intend to go with them.
You might be surprised at the replies you get and, worst case scenario, you may get some market research ammunition you can use to strong-arm a better deal out of your chosen supplier (even if it comes via the LA).
There is a hidden benefit for most schools using the same MIS, they can bounce off of other schools and get help. The borough I work at is primarily SIMS and this has been a huge benefit as I gained lots of knowledge and guidance from them in how to use SIMS, knowledge later used to help other schools in the borough when they contacted me.
Agree with John, just because SIMS interfaces with Frog, Eclipse, Groupcall et al, does not mean others don't.
It is very worry to see a number of 'my mate down the road has it so it must work' or 'SIMS must work because so many still use it' comment still. Being selfish for a moment, Aspen is revolutionary it the way it works, the offer to schools and groups of schools in particular is outstanding. Yes we have only a few schools compared to Capita in the UK (at the moment, and globally I would say we probably break even!), so does that mean Aspen is not worth a look?
And just to give support where support is due, I have seen the Bromcom system and it too is very tidy and should always be looked at before deciding SIMS is the 'only' choice out there. We know Progresso is having it's problems and I genuinely hope that the acquisition helps the product over this year.
Just to let you all know that we have been using Progresso for a year now, and it has proved to be a complete nightmare. Very slow connection times, regular unexpected or warned downtime. Almost impossible to extract data. If your implementation has been delayed, consider yourselves lucky and I would advise you to stick with Facility for as long as possible.
sonofsanta (7th February 2013)
Looks like Advanced Learning have ditched the free migration path now as well, this combined with feedback such as above means i would really like to look at alternatives. Wanted to get a closer look at Aspen at BETT but it seemed unless you either looked important or booked an apointment you had no chance.
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