This particular forum is one of the busiest on all of Edugeek, proving we have a real interest in data systems in schools (proving too that some more than others have a bug here and there!). A set of recent conversations, at BETT, on here and elsewhere in the last 2 weeks have reignited a burning desire (no pun intended!) to formulate, ask and publish a set of probing questions to the MIS supplier market.
A little bit of back story: Most regulars here know a bit about me, my past working life on both sides of the MIS fence, and my often unrestrained opinions on any number of subjects. Tell it how it is but give credit where credit is due, and yes I do even praise Capita now and then! For a long time now, I have felt that the MIS market is due a revolution, but perhaps not in the way most think; that a new player will emerge and take away huge swathes of the market with a ground braking new system or concept. Lets be fair, the technology is primed for this, but the implementation, market restrictions, legislation, etc etc makes this a difficult task before you start... we've see two large suppliers exit in recent times.
My feeling is such that the MIS as we see it today is actually trying to do far too much, and by doing that the market is stifled of innovation. Now don't get me wrong I am never going to say that an MIS will not try and expand to make more money, of course it will. But in doing so, most of the time the ability to plug in alternate systems is made that much more difficult, often as a consequence of the development, sometimes deliberately (I will not go further here but I know it has happened). I have always seen an MIS as being the jack of all trades, master of none, and very much feel this is where a school could look to ensure it gets the very best from it's data systems as a whole. An MIS whose jot it is to store and process the data, complete statutory data exchanges, perhaps perform some of the administrative tasks, but have the ability to hand off specialist services to dedicated software vendors who are experts in the field. Areas that spring to mind include messaging, finance, assessment/progress tracking/performance analysis, hardware integration (things like cashless catering), learning environments... there are loads more. Real time data integration is a real thing and very active in schools, and I find schools that take elements of the services mentioned above, but on the whole stick to their MIS for most services, even though they might be more expensive or less functional.
With the governments Data Exchange & Warehouse coming online in the next few years data movement will be increasing ten fold and I foresee inter school and internal school data interconnectivity following suit, but this still relies on the core MIS, it's capabilities and ultimately a school's desire to have the very best from their systems, or being able to choose from the systems on offer now that switching from MIS to MIS has finally left the shadows of the taboo... And here lies another problem. We all know Capita. Most know Advanced Learning (because it is no longer SERCO), a lot know RM, fewer know Pearson (because it is gone now!), on and on. I've actually had an 'argument' with an exec from one of the suppliers when I said that most schools STILL only know of SIMS and CMIS, regardless of how much marketing you have done or how good your product is... that is still most public opinion, and it is a very old opinion!
So, as part of that, I'm planning on writing to all 14 (yes, 14! There are 3 others but one is an in house system used by a leading Academy chain, and two others are entering the market in the next 6-12 months) of the known MIS suppliers with a set of probing questions about their products, their plans for the future, etc. Get everything out in the open for all us on here to see and to finally be able to make an informed choice on what is best for my school. Or at least be informed as to who is actually out there!
Questions will be standardised for everyone, will not be biased, will not be offensive or look to suggest offence, and will be framed as an opportunity to positively present ones MIS product without promoting or saying 'my MIS is the best because...', all with the aim of providing unbiased information on the MIS market to the masses. Something I have wanted to do for 2 years (but my previous employment prevented that somewhat!).
I'd like to invite contributions to the question pool. Remember, they need to be open for everyone to answer!
I will find a suitable media with which to present responses, on Edugeek directly would be great but logistically it might be a problem.
Once again, everything will be objective, I'm not looking to bash anyone here, I want responses to present so the market know who it actually available (and not just Capita and Serco... opps I mean Advanced Learning... see!)
Oh and for reference, my list of known MIS suppliers operating in the UK is below, a useful reference in itself (and do let me know if I have missed anyone, no matter how small):
SEEMIS (Scotland Only really)
The MIS Challenge is hosted at: What is the MIS Survey? | Eduware Consulting
The Market Analysis, expanding on top of the original analysis from @matt40k is available at: Market Statistics | Eduware Consulting
Market Analysis statistics are based on the past census results, so this should be taken as a general feel of the market rather than the exact numbers (as some schools are missing both now and in previous years which form part of the calculations.
Feedback on this project welcome too
Last edited by vikpaw; 31st March 2014 at 03:56 PM.
Cmis from serco
Sent from my iPad using EduGeek
Possibly not as Serco Learning is now defunct
How will this differ from the DfE work? Just thinking someone will be paying you
Last edited by matt40k; 4th February 2014 at 09:34 AM.
LRS, SFA, Awarding Organisations... just to name a few will all remain separate. I also refer to inter school, internal school and support organisations including LAs having the data. It is a monumental project with huge scope and exciting prospects. Still a few aspects that need to be worked out but the concept is there.My understand was this was to bring all that data you already submit to the DfE under one roof rather then having individual pockets of data. So your school details on EduBase would get updated by School Census for example.
Last edited by GREED; 4th February 2014 at 09:40 AM.
Last time I checked you hadn't won the lottery, so you've got bills to pay. So you need to be generating income some how... basically where is the large "contact us for independent consultancy" ad, otherwise I'll be thinking you got some back hand deal going on - we all know how to fudge figures and facts to make our friendly* supplier come out on top.
Also how will this differ from the DfE (framework) work?
* the one who's paying a nice referral fee
This is a personal crusade, it has nothing to do with the work I do regardless that I work in the same sector. My day job pays the bills. Matt surely you know me well enough to know I have a passion for this, as sad as that sounds, I want to ensure the market knows what is out there, who can do what in a very objective way. I'm allied with no one, now, it is the opportunity I have wanted for over 2 years to be truely independent and do this. No back handers, no favours. It is in each suppliers interest to reply, and show they are up to the challenge of this market. Replies will only be edited to keep them objective (to the facts, no spouting off about how they are better than x and y). There will also be no pricing, this is a technical comparison and not a marketing ad!
This will differ from the DfE IMLS framework because a) it will be about the product 100% (plus a bit on support), and not about 30% product, 70% 'how much is your company worth', and b) the results will be public and easy to find, not well hidden!
I think EduBase is supposed to be updated from the census anyway, but last I checked they use a census from a year ago so the data is already out of date. At least that is the case for pupil numbers. :/
EduBase is manual far as I can tell.
Actually I believe Edubase will be included in the data warehouse, and the information will be accessed via an API for those that want to retrieve information.
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