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MIS Systems Thread, Paying Capita for SIMS support in Technical; Who here pays Capita Annual Maintenance to support there SIMS packages? Most of our SIMS system is covered by our ...
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    Paying Capita for SIMS support

    Who here pays Capita Annual Maintenance to support there SIMS packages? Most of our SIMS system is covered by our LEA but we chose to buy into Lesson Monitor ourselves as this package wasn't supplied by our LEA, along with Lesson Monitor, came the purchasing of the annual maintenance to “support” the software.

    I have been so disappointed with the support that we have received over the last 12 months.

    I have called the helpdesk on a number of occasions to log new cases and it has taken them so long to get back to me that most of the time I have either fixed or solved the problem myself, or they simply turn around and say it's a know issue that will be fixed in a future update.
    So... I find my self asking... WHY BOTHER paying for support when most of these problems/errors are "known" and will be fixed in a future update anyway!!

    What do other people think of the level of support they receive??

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    Re: Paying Capita for SIMS support

    Have to agree. We're in exactly the same boat, bought Lesson Monitor independantly of our central LEA SIMS Support, and there's a real problem because there's never a problem so isolated that it doesn't encroach on the others area.

    If LM is broken, our LEA Support can't help us, and if Nova is the problem, then Capita can't help us, yet the two programs work closely together.

    We pay a small fortune for support, and there never seems to be a timely fix. We chase and chase and chase, only to be told in the end that the next release is due out very soon and that'll probably fix it anyway.

    Seems also like there's a real need sometimes for an actual site visit. Is this unheard of? Surely it's neccessary sometimes.

    Also Web Support seems inneffective. The answerphone always states "please log your problem using Web Support". But our experience is that no one checks Web Support, and Issues are closed or actioned innaprorpiately.

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    Re: Paying Capita for SIMS support

    Wow... 12 minutes in and already another unhappy customer!! I hope Capita take note of this...

    I myself have found oh so many times that Support Cases are simply closed for no apparent reason! This really get's on my goat.

    Grrrrrrrrrr

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    Re: Paying Capita for SIMS support

    We only pay for the base contract which is something like a few grand (I wont say how much). We seem to get by OK on this and it's a bit of reassurance incase it goes tits up.

    Is it compulsory for a SIMS support contract? I'm guessing you need to pay for it in order to keep getting updates that are only compatible with certain plascs etc..

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    Re: Paying Capita for SIMS support

    Capita's support contract is the most expensive we have, and they provide the poorest level of support. I wouldn't mind the cost, since SIMS is such a mission critical application and regularly updated, if the service wasn't so bad.

    When one of their (seemingly inadequately tested) updates introduces a bug, on more than one occasion I've called the helpdesk to be told our anti-virus is the cause of the problem!

    Imho, they need to release more individual bug fixes when an update really screws something important. I appreciate that this involves yet more testing, but I don't think it's acceptable to leave schools hanging for 'the next update', whenever that may be.

    I've found that logging calls online to be semi-effectively, as others have said it takes a while for a response. But when you choose to subsequently add notes to the case, these seem to go ignored.

    Although, all that said, they do dial into our server and try and fix the issue where appropriate. The FMS and Nova-T support people are very good. I also think the participation of Capita staff on these forums is encouraging.

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    Re: Paying Capita for SIMS support

    We are supported directly by Capita and though they have saved our bacon in the past when really stuck, the response time and quality of support has been disappointing.

    If I have a SIMS problem, my order of enquiry is local IT Wiki -> SIMS KB -> Edugeek -> SIMS Forums -> Sysadmin at local school who also uses SIMS -> Capita helldesk.

    *Stops before this turns into a "disproportionate level of support and faffing required given how few of my user base access the damn software" rant.*

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    Re: Paying Capita for SIMS support

    I can echo what others have said - their level of service is poor, especially for the amount of money we spend on this, and even more so when compared to the quality (and price) of other support contracts we have.

    The problem I have with their online support is that they arrogantly assume that their fix will work, so close the call when they reply to your email. Re-opening cases online doesn't seem to work, so you have to speak to them directly at which point they insist on logging a new call which often goes to a different person, so you lose the case history.

    Site visits can happen though - not necessarily from the support people, but we've had our account manager come out a few times to meet us, try and sell us things and be moaned at (although I think that is more cathartic than effective!).

    We opted not to go for their dial-in service which Mike mentioned - at a few thousand a year, we simply couldn't justify it.

    In general, I would say that I don't always feel I get value for money from the support contract, but like many other support contracts or insurance policies, I wouldn't want to run without it.

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    zag
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    Re: Paying Capita for SIMS support

    It really annoys me I have to phone them up to authorise an update sometimes, it takes 2 days for them to ring back(if i'm lucky). Why cant they simply do this online? It would free up time for their telephone support staff for the more important issues.

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    Re: Paying Capita for SIMS support

    Quote Originally Posted by ittech
    It really annoys me I have to phone them up to authorise an update sometimes, it takes 2 days for them to ring back(if i'm lucky). Why cant they simply do this online? It would free up time for their telephone support staff for the more important issues.
    Took one week and 4-5 calls to get the FMS upgrade license. I got it the day after my case was closed after phoning *again*.

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    Re: Paying Capita for SIMS support

    There are a lot of issues contained within this thread.

    Firstly, I’m sorry that you are experiencing a less than satisfactory service. If you would like to let me have some case references I’ll certainly get these investigated and ensure that we learn from what has happened. The service desk have tight targets and take a pride in what they do – if you have cause to complain, I would be grateful if you would let the service manager know at the time and that way we can do something about it and improve.

    If you are supported by our Bedford desk, cases are not closed until:
    1.We have found a solution
    2.Either you say it is resolved or we don’t hear from you for 3 working days.


    Secondly, when we entered the lesson registration market we could not for competition reasons, include this process as standard and so it has to be sold to individual schools; that makes things expensive. That said we set a price that was half that of the dominant supplier of such systems and reduced our AM price by 11% in April.

    The annual maintenance covers new development, statutory changes, ensuring that other changes in SIMS have no impact and support. So it has covered the move to .net and the enhancements to include behaviour management etc.

    If your local team is prepared to offer support on Lesson Monitor then you can elect every year to take your support from them and we will pay them.

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    Re: Paying Capita for SIMS support

    Sorry to keep pressing this but why do I have to ring up to authorise the September update on my backup sims server?

    It seems pointless and takes up time for them and me. All I need to do is download the September update. I have to ring up every time there is an update so it shows up in Solus2. Already done it 4 times this year or something. Every time I have rung up it takes 2 or 3 calls chasing it to get through to the right person, who then is invariably on holiday or lunch. When I finally do get through to the right person they are usually excellent and very quick to re-authorise it.

    A simple change in the Solus2 program could allow us to apply updates on a second server. Maybe if these systematic problems are fixed the help desk could be alot quicker at dealing with calls.

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    Re: Paying Capita for SIMS support

    I wonder if this line should be changed;

    "2.Either you say it is resolved or we don’t hear from you for 3 working days."

    I have had it on more than one occasion where the call is closed because of no activity for three days, despite the fact that the last activity on it was me asking a question and expecting a response! Maybe a call should remain open if the last diary entry was made by the customer, until it is verified that the problem is resolved?

    Stuart

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    Re: Paying Capita for SIMS support

    I think that's standard call centre practice though, alot of problems I forget to inform them when they are fixed simply because I forget.

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    Re: Paying Capita for SIMS support

    Ittech, that is a fair point which I will look into. When we designed SOLUS to replace CDs we did not antisipate that schools would want to apply the update to a copy first.

    I don't know who supports you but if it is Bedford, then you can simply email distribution@capita.co.uk. Schools supported by LAs or our Regional Centre Network will need to go via them as they control your upgrades.

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    Re: Paying Capita for SIMS support

    Hang on a minute Phil - you say "Either you say it is resolved or we don’t hear from you for 3 working days". So does that mean that if we don't pester Capita every 3 days they'll just close our calls?

    Maybe that explains why I'm still waiting for a SIMS fix 3 months after the problem was discovered? In June I had a couple of problems with Lesson Monitor (and still do) and was told (via my LEA) to upload acopy of my entire SIMS database so Capita could "test a fix", which I duly did. Have I received the fix yet? Have I heard anymore about this case? As if.

    Maybe Capita have closed my case because I (or rather my LEA) didn't phone them every day. Useless.



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