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MIS Systems Thread, Brand New School, which MIS? in Technical; As the title suggests, if you were building a brand new secondary school, which MIS would you choose? There would ...
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    skunk's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Brand New School, which MIS?

    As the title suggests, if you were building a brand new secondary school, which MIS would you choose? There would be no prior data to move across.

    Stick with SIMS as that is familiar?

    Choose cloud based like ASPEN?

    Or I have been pointed at ARBOR about which I have heard nothing?

    Is anyone truly happy with their MIS and would go for nothing else?

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    As monopolistic as some may say, and as much as I dislike the company, I'd not hesitate in plumping straight for SIMS due to popularity, function, level of support and professionalism of (some) support staff should you need to speak to someone. That and compatibility - many third party programs and solutions need to pull information from the MIS and although there are relevant standards in place to help this, in automatic "Here you go, here's what you're after" terms, SIMS is pretty much unbeatable.

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    I don't have enough experience of the different MIS software to recommend any outright, all I'd say is to ensure that the chosen MIS has plans to support mobile devices in the near future and if they can provide a data import/export system so much the better (for in-house applications / systems)

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    The above points are all valid.
    Just to reiterate that no system will be able to delvier everything you want so interactivity is of paramount importance to ensure that you're choice of other products is not truncated.

    SIF Compliance (either natively or via someone like GroupCall), conformance to the CBDS framework and an accessible API layer are all good things to include in your requirements.

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    Also consider compatibility with whatever accounts package you have (especially if it's an independent where you're charging fees)

    Academies have different accounting needs to LA schools and my governor school is the process of dumping FMS as it doesn't provide what we need in a multi-school academy trust.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Don't just jump straight for SIMS - that would be illegal. Your best way of dealing with this is to produce yourselves a spec, detailing exactly what you want from such a system, then put it to tender, with a number of years support built into that contract.

    That way, its up to all the suppliers to show you how they can do what you want them to do.

    There are lots of MIS packages out there, so it'd be best to get them to come to you IMO.

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    GREED's Avatar
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    Well... I wonder who I would pip for!

    I'm going to be objective for a moment and say you need to look at what is the most important thing for your school? Yes SIMS integrate (at a <enter size here> cost) with lots of 3rd parties. It is interesting sitting on this side of the fence to find out just how 'integrated' some solutions actually are (not just with SIMS but with everyone!). Actually, Aspen is at various stages of integrating with "double figures" of 3rd parties across just about all sectors.

    If you want something that gives you, out of the box, access anywhere, anytime, any system, any device, and connection, with access for staff parents student and anyone else you can think of, with no data syncing, complete application/portal customisability, right down to code level if you wan to... then give me a buzz

    So many school use SIMS because it does the job, and if that is what you need, then great, it does a good job! If you want to have a system that meets your needs as an MIS, VLE, Intranet, Document Management System and Communication Centre, that you can help shape it to meet you exact needs... well...

    Every MIS does the basics, that really should not be a consideration any more. It is not an MIS if it can't do attendance, exams, timetables... What does it do to make life easier for you and your staff... that is the good stuff!

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Don't just jump straight for SIMS - that would be illegal. Your best way of dealing with this is to produce yourselves a spec, detailing exactly what you want from such a system, then put it to tender, with a number of years support built into that contract.

    That way, its up to all the suppliers to show you how they can do what you want them to do.

    There are lots of MIS packages out there, so it'd be best to get them to come to you IMO.
    That is what the IMLS framework (and soon more frameworks!) were designed to help schools with. Going out to full tender is a costly and resource heavy process. I'm not saying don't look around, and do ask questions of course. Be wary of words like tender though

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GREED View Post
    That is what the IMLS framework (and soon more frameworks!) were designed to help schools with. Going out to full tender is a costly and resource heavy process. I'm not saying don't look around, and do ask questions of course. Be wary of words like tender though
    It isn't that expensive in my experience, just time consuming, but when you're buying something as important as an MIS, I'd be willing to spend as much time as needed choosing. IMLS is great, but it doesn't account for the individual needs of every school.

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    GREED's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    It isn't that expensive in my experience, just time consuming, but when you're buying something as important as an MIS, I'd be willing to spend as much time as needed choosing. IMLS is great, but it doesn't account for the individual needs of every school.
    Fully agree, but it is there to help. I'm not saying you at a secondary school would not be willing and able to take the time. The issue comes for smaller school, maybe primary schools, that don't have the time or expense to spend on such. Gathering requirements, seeing the systems, asking questions, talking to existing customers... that is a good start! If it is an actual tender, there are huge hoops and procedures to follow/jump through often which are not necessary but are policy.

    But you know what, each to their own! It has to be right for the school. SIMS is not right for every school, just like Aspen MIS is not right for every school (there, I said it!).

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    skunk's Avatar
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    @localzuk I wish I had known that SIMS was illegal years ago

    Thanks for the advice everyone, unfortunately/thankfully it is not my choice, but my advice has been sought. The person asking thought they would go for SIMS "as we get it for free don't we?"

    Ta.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skunk View Post
    @localzuk I wish I had known that SIMS was illegal years ago
    Not quite what I meant... Just going for one company because you know them would be illegal is what I meant, before someone from Capita shoots me.

    Thanks for the advice everyone, unfortunately/thankfully it is not my choice, but my advice has been sought. The person asking thought they would go for SIMS "as we get it for free don't we?"

    Ta.
    Lol, free. No. Not even close!!

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    I wonder if I/should I comment... :P

    No, that's not fair, they do a good job!

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    they do a good job!
    Do they?

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    TBH in those ideal circumstances ASPEN would be the no-brainer. It's years ahead of the competitors.
    Why would you pick something that will someday move to the cloud when you can start in the cloud?

    As mentioned teh IMLS framework and some links in the sticky thread on this forum have help regarding drawing up a list of requirements, however, a lot of it will be based on what you already have, because at the core they should all do the basics. If you have no restrictions, you have much more freedom.

    If time was a critical factor and you're experienced in SIMS, fair enough. Progresso has hit some hurdles and you never know where they are going now, Bromcom would probably take the lead on looks.

    Heck if you're starting a new school, why not build your own custom MIS to do exactly what you want
    Seriously though, if you're an independent that can have an impact too.

    If you're fee taking, then SIMS has a really good Fees module, not to mention a finance package to sync it to.

    If you look at the recent thread about MIS systems, Arbor got a mention so it might be worth talking to that user, if its a serious option.

    There are also other options, like PowerSchool from Pearson, iSAMS and Scholarpack.

    Whatever you do, don't overlook the sponsors of this forum though
    Last edited by vikpaw; 18th December 2012 at 08:50 AM. Reason: clarity

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