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MIS Systems Thread, Is this correct? in Technical; One of the schools I currently support has just moved from Serco Facility to SIMS. They have, just recently, received ...
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    box_l's Avatar
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    Is this correct?

    One of the schools I currently support has just moved from Serco Facility to SIMS.

    They have, just recently, received an email from Advanced Computer Software Plc stating that the installation of Facility/Eportal is to be removed and deleted, or, pay for a 2 user read only license at several thousand pounds per year.
    This was not mentioned when the school was concluding the contract with Serco.

    Is this correct?
    Is the school not entitled to have access to its own data without requiring a license?
    The school does not USE facility, but does on rare occasions need to get to historical data for legal reasons etc.

    Can anyone shed a bit of light on this whole matter?

    TIA

    BoX

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    3s-gtech's Avatar
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    That sounds right to me. You can keep your data by all means, but the software which accesses that data is licensed - you are not entitled to it at all now the contract has finished and the software has expired.

    If you will NEED to access data from Facility, you'll have to pay for that license, or see if you can access the data directly from the database (this may or may not be a very bad idea).

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    We are moving from Facility to SIMS and have been told that we can keep one computer connected to Facility but eportal will go.

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    box_l's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies.
    @jcs808
    Was there a cost associated with that access?
    And who told you this?

    BoX

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    box_l's Avatar
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    Agreed with the trickiness of accessing the data without the correct application, the database will be a minefield!

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    With SIMS, you buy the license then you pay the annual maintenance, so you stop using SIMS, you just don't upgrade. I'd hope Serco the same, otherwise I'd be demanding full exports of every bit of data you have, is it hosted Serco? Cause if it is I'd demand once they've done the full export and your happy they securely wipe it from their servers. On the plus side, at least it won't happen when\if you move away from SIMS!

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    This is the conundrum of cloud solutions - you are hiring an application that manages your data on servers you don't own. Suppliers have overheads in providing these services so are very unlikely to offer this for free after you move on.

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    scholarpack's Avatar
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    I suggest you contact the provider to ask how you can extract all your data in a spreadsheet or similar format to enable you to access the data for historical reasons, but nor incur the license costs. Any provider worth their salt would not put roadblocks up to allow you to keep your data if you chose to move to another system. At a minimum they should guide you through how to export the data to a meaningful format.

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    box_l's Avatar
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    Fortunately this was/is an in house setup.

    I was aware that the SIMS license was for updates and support.
    I think SMT made the assumption that Serco would be the same. Having read through the contract now I can see that is not how it is.

    The other question I am posing is that the company asking for the license fee are not Serco, they are Advanced Computer Software Plc.
    They appear to be "formally Serco learning", but are they within their rights to ask for the fee. Would we be paying the correct company?

    I would love to demand full exports, but we do not have a contract.. see above.

    They are asking for 60% of the original licence just to have 2 read only users. This seems excessive to say the least.

    An export to a spreadsheet or three would be a great solution. Anyone out there a Facility wizard who knows an appropriate report to run? I will contact Serco tomorrow too.

    Thanks again everyone.

    BoX

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    Advanced are the new owners.

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    box_l's Avatar
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    Thanks Phil, that clears up that part at least.

    BoX

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    teejay's Avatar
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    Don't Capita offer a service to transfer the data across for you, I would've thought most MIS suppliers would be able to extract the data from competitor products?

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    box_l's Avatar
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    They do, and to be fair the local SIMS support team have done a really good job with the data they were asked to migrate.

    The thing is that the school decided to have a "clean slate" approach to the data that they wanted moved, so that any inaccuracies were left behind.

    I have suggested this as a solution to the school, ie. that a separate database is setup alongside the live one, but containing all the data from facility. There is the issue however, of time, money, and the fact that the school will be "using" Facility whilst this process occurs, therefore requiring a license.

    BoX

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    twin--turbo's Avatar
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    I doubt an export to a spreadshet or three would be easy.

    If you have ever seen the SIMS database backend table set you will know that these MIS's have very very complex relational database structures that would be possible to recreate in a spreadsheet but it would be too complex to be of use and the cost would be silly.

    I don't think that SERCO have done anything out of the ordianry, you have decided to leave them so it is up to you and your new provider to make sure the data is transfered to a new repository. In this case you did not want that wholsale and so data remains in a system that your no longer leagly entitled to use.

    Your not in a strong bargaining position either.

    Four choices realy.

    1) Pay them for a year or more....
    2) Get capita to do the work again porting all data
    3) take the database tables and build your own front end to the data you need
    4) forget the old data.

    Rob

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    box_l's Avatar
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    You have just listed the four options I suggested a couple of weeks ago.

    The reason I have been asking these questions is that:

    1) Pay them for a year or more.... Possible but expensive as the data needs to be accessible for up to 7 years
    2) Get capita to do the work again porting all data Possible but expensive but not AS expensive
    3) take the database tables and build your own front end to the data you need I don't think I have the time
    4) forget the old data. Possible but the data needs to be accessible for up to 7 years

    None of these options is particularly appealing, just a case of working out which is least worst, if that makes sense.

    BoX

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