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MIS Systems Thread, Changing from SIMS in Technical; Originally Posted by pcstru Perhaps ssk the developers of the routines that shunted data between old and new SIMS. Automated ...
  1. #31

    GREED's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    Perhaps ssk the developers of the routines that shunted data between old and new SIMS. Automated data transfer and conversion is often too ignorant of the meaning of the data to be much more than a crutch. Our next stage - once we select the system, is to start planning the implementation and particularly the data transfer. All those shiny data analysis and mining tools will starve if we don't feed them.
    Only where the architects of such tools are ignorant or inexperienced in the MIS space and/or with suppliers...

    The change management particularly with your staff is where I would suggest significant planning is placed...

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kinster View Post
    Is there an alternative Web MIS out there so you don't have to do all those things? In which you can access from an device PC, Mac, tablet, phone, etc? Also, that can write to the "standard" formats?
    If web-based access is your main consideration, your best bet might be some kind of web-based remote access solution. I'm currently trying out the Guacamole web-based RDP client (not made much progress today due to a power cut), that should hopefully be able to present a SIMS Remote App as just another tab on a web browser. In my experience, SIMS works very well on a Remote Desktop server via a standard RDP client, so hopefully a web-based RDP client should be the next logical step. Even if you had to buy a dedicated server or two to run the service, that would still be cheaper than setting up a new MIS and retraining users.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GREED View Post
    Only where the architects of such tools are ignorant or inexperienced in the MIS space and/or with suppliers...
    Perhaps I misunderstand you but even people very experienced with a product can be easily tripped up by the funny ways people actually use it. If ignorance and inexperience were the only problems to overcome, then we wouldn't worry about porting the data, we would just squirt it all through a CTF file.
    The change management particularly with your staff is where I would suggest significant planning is placed...
    Plan to plan for change. Sounds like a good plan.

  4. Thanks to pcstru from:

    GREED (9th May 2014)

  5. #34

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    Hummmm well unless you are going to port the data yourself and not have the new supplier do it, your insinuation that a school would be using a standard data field or set of data fields for anything but their intended use would have me worried. The CTF for the most part contains the standard mission critical data components for students, this should be perfectly portable from one system to another if mapped correctly at both ends. I think this is where I meant, that the mapping is the key item that an expertise is required with. There are some items that are impossible to generically map and require a helping hand, such as assessment fields. But for example in Sims you have only a limited set of places you can record attendance, that would port to the corresponding locations in the new system. Same with just about every data item that is available in both (a key term there!).

    Of course the CTF is no where near comprehensive enough to support this, and I tire of hearing MIS suppliers saying they do a full migration just by using the CTF... It shows me that they have no real idea what the CTF is, does and contains!

    Sorry, appear to have wandered into a rant there!

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    I'm not saying that it can be made perfect but a working knowledge of the legacy and new system is critical in mapping correctly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GREED View Post
    Hummmm well unless you are going to port the data yourself and not have the new supplier do it, your insinuation that a school would be using a standard data field or set of data fields for anything but their intended use would have me worried. The CTF for the most part contains the standard mission critical data components for students, this should be perfectly portable from one system to another if mapped correctly at both ends. I think this is where I meant, that the mapping is the key item that an expertise is required with. There are some items that are impossible to generically map and require a helping hand, such as assessment fields. But for example in Sims you have only a limited set of places you can record attendance, that would port to the corresponding locations in the new system. Same with just about every data item that is available in both (a key term there!).
    CTF handles structure well enough. But if someone is storing "Don't Phone Dad" in the telephone field, then ... operational fidelity might suffer with the loss of that vital piece of information via compliance with the CTF schema. Another example, usually there is information coded into the 'pseudo keys'; academic structure driving group identity which is then assumed in the interpretation of another key which, because of some weird transformational mapping, is not there or worse, there but actually the meaning is broken. Probably temporal information is worse, where historical interpretation is embedded into the schema, "it was this only then, it doesn't really mean that now".
    Of course the CTF is no where near comprehensive enough to support this, and I tire of hearing MIS suppliers saying they do a full migration just by using the CTF... It shows me that they have no real idea what the CTF is, does and contains!
    See, I must have had you wrong. "only where the architects of such tools are ignorant or inexperienced in the MIS space and/or with suppliers" suggested to me that CTF should be good, the development of CTF not having been deprived of that expertise. So now I know I have you wrong, but I'm not really sure I have you right either.

    The reality for us I think, will look more like an operational handover but between systems rather than people. CTF will save us a lot of re-key in core data I'm sure, but the handover will inevitably involve data cleaning in the current system - and that will to some extent be an iterative process. Some legacy data I'm sure we will just sort of abandon - but we need to understand what, why and the constraints that might impose in future. Again here a pre prepared list of stuff might be useful, but actually the process of getting the people on the ground to generate that information is in some ways much more important.
    Last edited by pcstru; 9th May 2014 at 12:58 AM.

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    You will definitely need to go through a process of data checking and cleansing, if nothing else it is a good opportunity. Generally though my point in whether and automated process or a semi manual one, unless you are going to do it yourself no tool or supplier will check every field for every record when data is migrated. Checks on data structure and validation will be automatic and then random spot checks will occur, but it should be down to you as the school to check the conceptual and operational information. In the example you use, a validation rule in the new system might not allow you to enter that even if you were adding a new phone number. Is there an appropriate place to store that? Things like that. Only you as the school know what that sort of information means to you so only you can manage it.

    This doesn't mean however that a tool ot process is not suitable to use, just needs to work in conjunction with yourselves!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GREED View Post
    Do you believe it would be worthwhile to have a basic template for scoring and or weighting to guide schools. Not to say that it is binding but suggestive based on expertise and experience in this market. I'd be happy to chat to you in more detail about your ideas and would be as interested in your perspective to guide my own efforts. PM if interested!

    That aside you are tight that technology alone is not the only consideration however it along with service and support should be the top three considerations.
    Also, value for money, good support (as you mentioned) and ease of use. I wouldn't mind online support like you find on certain websites.

  10. #39

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    Do you mean the IM chat services you get these day? I really like them!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    If web-based access is your main consideration, your best bet might be some kind of web-based remote access solution. I'm currently trying out the Guacamole web-based RDP client (not made much progress today due to a power cut), that should hopefully be able to present a SIMS Remote App as just another tab on a web browser. In my experience, SIMS works very well on a Remote Desktop server via a standard RDP client, so hopefully a web-based RDP client should be the next logical step. Even if you had to buy a dedicated server or two to run the service, that would still be cheaper than setting up a new MIS and retraining users.
    True with the re-training part. But I'm looking at purer" web systems. Everyone seems to be moving towards cloud these days, and have device, mobile apps available too.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by GREED View Post
    Do you mean the IM chat services you get these day? I really like them!
    Yes, those little pop ups that say "Can I help you?" Does anyone do it?

  12. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by speckytecky View Post
    No experience of anything other than SIMS but I've been looking after it in schools for 10 years now and it not only does everything it's called upon to do but it is also kept sharp by the opposition and has had many great improvements. One thing that puzzles me though is why would it's owner the mighty a Capita hive off the Emerge part of it to Groupcall - puzzles me that does?
    LOL! - They are now replicating Groupcall to make their own teacher app, i don't know when it will tie in with Intouch to do the messaging, maybe it already does...?

    Quote Originally Posted by GREED View Post
    Because emerge was a Groupcall product. It was white labelled for Capita. Aspen was gonna have one too... looks like Capita have their eyes on that prize now too ;-)
    You mean Capita is going to copy / takeover ASPEN ?

    Quote Originally Posted by kinster View Post
    True with the re-training part. But I'm looking at purer" web systems. Everyone seems to be moving towards cloud these days, and have device, mobile apps available too.
    erm, has anyone said Bromcom yet? .. ..

    seriously, what about DoubleFirst Engage , iSAMS, WCBS, Tribal, Scholarpack, RM, ACS, Plus4Schools, not to mention a simple Google search will find you 100s of online offerings. Those mentioned however, are probably the more popular.

    Quote Originally Posted by kinster View Post
    Yes, those little pop ups that say "Can I help you?" Does anyone do it?
    I've seen that on a few online MIS providers' sites, but more for the sales part rather than the support.

  13. 2 Thanks to vikpaw:

    JohnCondon (9th May 2014), kinster (9th May 2014)

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    Quote Originally Posted by vikpaw View Post
    erm, has anyone said Bromcom yet? .. ..

    seriously, what about DoubleFirst Engage , iSAMS, WCBS, Tribal, Scholarpack, RM, ACS, Plus4Schools, not to mention a simple Google search will find you 100s of online offerings. Those mentioned however, are probably the more popular.
    Yes on the previous pages.

    Cheers

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    Quote Originally Posted by kinster View Post
    True with the re-training part. But I'm looking at purer" web systems. Everyone seems to be moving towards cloud these days, and have device, mobile apps available too.

    - - - Updated - - -



    Yes, those little pop ups that say "Can I help you?" Does anyone do it?
    MIS suppliers? Not sure. I know we do!

  16. #44

    GREED's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikpaw View Post
    You mean Capita is going to copy / takeover ASPEN ?
    Yes, that is EXACTLY what they should do

    erm, has anyone said Bromcom yet? .. ..
    Don't encourage and antagonise... you are a mod!

    seriously, what about DoubleFirst Engage , iSAMS, WCBS, Tribal, Scholarpack, RM, ACS, Plus4Schools
    Oi, read my rather well thought-out post and you'll see most are mentioned there!!

  17. #45

    matt40k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GREED View Post
    MIS suppliers? Not sure. I know we do!
    That sounds like advertising to me @GREED, quick hit him with the mod stick! Going back on topic, not sure how well IM would work for MIS support. Tend to find you telephone for "instant" help and email for "at some point".


    Quote Originally Posted by GREED View Post
    Oi, read my rather well thought-out post and you'll see most are mentioned there!!
    Ah welcome to the being ignored club, still waiting to hear who has the problems that warrants a new MIS in the first place - ie headteacher, office staff, techy. Anyway, I'll shut up now.



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