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MIS Systems Thread, Schoolcomms or Intouch in Technical; Morning all I've been asked what my opinion is of moving from Schoolcomms to Intouch. While I have very little ...
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    Schoolcomms or Intouch

    Morning all

    I've been asked what my opinion is of moving from Schoolcomms to Intouch. While I have very little to do with Schoolcomms other then the occaisional update or at a push a bad message alert, I was wanting a few more opinions.

    Schoolcomms I like because it does just work, can be accessed from any where if needed and as we only use it on a few machines anyway, it's not a problem to update.

    Has anyone moved from Schoolcomms to Intouch or anybody got any opinions or advantages of either system?

    Thanks

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    InTouch cannot send or receive voice messages, only text, email or internal Sims messaging. I believe it will be coming but as of yet no.

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    InTouch does have advantages in that lots of internal things can trigger messaging. But that could also be achieved in other ways, via a VLE or some tweaked reports. I've heard of a few schools that had trouble implementing it.

    Schoolcomms does just work. It's totally separate to SIMS and so not affected by updates / upgrades, downtime (!). Even if SIMS was shutdown, you could send out an emergency message from your phone whilst offsite, or desktop PC. That's worth paying for. :O)
    Plus it does do other things like parents evening, payments, e-cards, and more stuff which you'll see @BetT_show

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    Going through the same kind of decision making process at the moment. Used schoolcomms for a number of years without issue, but the functionality is becomingbetter more available within SIMS via intouch.

    The argument that we can use schoolcomms from anywhere isnt viable any more as we can remote access SIMS so on snow days etc is still possible to alert staff and parents of a closure.

    Some functionality is missing from within schoolcomms such as emailing or texting only primary two parents, also being able to pin all communications to a pupil record in SIMS is something we are looking for and in touch will deliver. Final part is that we have 22 people in school that use schoolcomms so its a pain to constantly update, and people do forget the memorable data and password etc where as SIMS is just a simple logon and no need for updates. Only downside up to now of intouch is the cost - around £4000 in the first year. OUCH!

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    @Max_Power if you're going to @BetT_Show you should visit SchoolComms because i think all of those missing functions are being considered if not already worked on.
    The remote usage argument for me, is more a case of if the site is unavailable, which for us can happen due to internet failure (quite common), bombings (thankfully not so common), fire, leaking A/C etc.
    I'm not a fan of the updating i.e. the syncing, but i think that could be automated, and the update of clients isn't that frequent. Most of my clients use the web interface now.
    I have wanted more flexibility on who you send to, and there are greater options, but the ability to add / remove some names on the fly or finer control there would defo be useful.

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    I think we could agree I probably support my friends at Schoolcomms more than anyone, I used Schoolcomms for years and have since worked with the staff there, great people. The software is great, relatively cheap, and just works. There are a few cool things coming out soon (sworn to secrecy!) that will address some of these things, plus I am promissed something very cool for BETT which even I don't know about!

    I think the cost does have a huge impact, I didn't know Intouch was that expensive especially compared to other products on the market.

    Do go and speak to Dave, Tim or Frances on the stand at BETT, I will be!

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    What no-one seems to discuss here is whether you wish to deepen your dependency (and potential risk) by relying more and more on SIMS.

    Capita would have you believe that 'making your life easier' is all that matters, but by doing this all they're actually doing is making it impossible for you to ever leave and go elsewhere.

    Furthermore do you all want to see the end of 'choice' in the market (by going with Capita) or do you want to give the smaller guys your support and encourage Capita to spend their time improving the core MIS?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulHughes View Post
    What no-one seems to discuss here is whether you wish to deepen your dependency (and potential risk) by relying more and more on SIMS.

    Capita would have you believe that 'making your life easier' is all that matters, but by doing this all they're actually doing is making it impossible for you to ever leave and go elsewhere.

    Furthermore do you all want to see the end of 'choice' in the market (by going with Capita) or do you want to give the smaller guys your support and encourage Capita to spend their time improving the core MIS?
    Cannot say I agree with a blanket statement for all solutions, I know what you are saying. If Intouch was competitively priced, offered everything competitors do and easy to use and functional everywhere... then why not take advantage of integration?

    but by doing this all they're actually doing is making it impossible for you to ever leave and go elsewhere.
    Not for the first time...

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    To be fair, I have no issue with Schoolcomms at all and I am pleased it does just work (yes the odd hiccup, but nothing I can't handle and at worst a quick phone call to resolve) and I wasn't aware Intouch was so expensive either. Now to me one downside of Intouch from this thread would be the fact that I needed to be logged into SIMS to send messages if that is the case. Closing last week because of snow, whoever sent the message simply pulled up the Schoolcomms website or had already downloaded the client, logged in and sent the message. That is far more simpler then having to log into SIMS which would involve logging into the CLEO secure desktop, then logging into a machine, finally logging into SIMS to then be able to send a message. Like @vikpaw says, in theory we could lose all access to our site for whatever reason and still be able to inform parents if need be.

    At the same time moving to Intouch would, from my understanding, bring everything together and provide a more central place for communication logs and the like. Something I'm keen to keep pushing as far as I can because it does encourage more use of SIMS.

    All just swings and roundabouts I guess, but if it is £4000 then I'm pretty sure we'll be staying with Schoolcomms.

    Wish I was going to Bett though

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    Cache please check with our sales desk as there are inaccuracies in what is being reported.

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    rad
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    We HAVE moved from Schoolcomms to InTouch. I am happy to discuss verbally if you wish to.

    We are a large school that had used schoolcomms with 3 staff using it, all happy and working well. The SIMs Intouch was meant to make it simplier and give loads of staff the function, however we were unaware how unprepared we were. Our data was not fully up-to-date so gave loads of teething issues.

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    @rad I'd be very interested in speaking to you to find out why you moved and the pro's/con's behind it (and more importantly what issues you had with your data as I fear ours could be the same). I'll drop you a pm with my details if that's ok and we can try and chat some time?

    @PhilNeal the Business Manager has been recieving details from the sales desk which is where this whole query has come from. A few things Capita offers have caught my eye but they are expensive for us when we are a small school (Emerge is one such example).

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    We use InTouch and had to spend a couple of hours getting our data right but it is easier now as the last two Sims updates have included quicker ways of updating your data. Never used SchoolComms so cant comment but we have been really impressed with InTouch but as you mention it is pricey.

    We also have Emerge and have a site license for this and to be honest could not be without it. It used by most of our staff who have ipads and is also useful for trips etc.

    I think both of the above are Pricey and having used both daily I wish Capita could bring prices down to encourage more schools to use it.

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    Dug out my quotation for Intouch in case Phil Neall is referring to the outlined pricing I posted as being inaccurate.

    Our school has 1500 students (although I dont think this impacts on the pricing?)
    Intouch licence / module was quoted at £2995
    Installation was £495
    Annual Maintenance is £995
    Total cost for first year is £4485 +VAT (£5382 inc VAT)

    While year on year costs are cheaper than schoolcomms (for us anyway), the initial cost is of great significance. As already mentioned above by myself and others there is some functionality lacking in both products, but lets see what BETT brings in terms of announcements.

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    Did anyone manage to get to @Schoolcomms at #bett_show ?

    They launched their Apple / Android app for parents : School Gateway, it lets you send/receive 'text messages' to parents for free (on a premium licence, half price on standard licence). It's basically, like WhatsApp / iMessage so when you send a text message, anyone with the app, gets a push notification, and this saves you the cost of a text. It's free for parents and included in the Schoolcomms licence, so if you're already a user, you can't lose.

    You need to get an invite from the school to register, i'm just arranging for us to get setup.

    I've been testing out their user forum, which is in beta, and the top two things they are working on once the app is sorted are the facility to write messages back to the communications log in SIMS, and emailing out reports.

    I'm trying to see how much extra school data i can push into their app, to save us having to have our own one it looks really promising.

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