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MIS Systems Thread, Changing from SIMS in Technical; Originally Posted by kinster Oh okay, so you're from Scholarpack? I think there's some confusion here. Matt40k was stating that ...
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    Quote Originally Posted by kinster View Post
    Oh okay, so you're from Scholarpack?
    I think there's some confusion here. Matt40k was stating that ScholarPack used to be an open source project, which it did. We tried to enter the UK MIS market with an open source business model. It didn't work for various reasons. So we raised investment, got a lot more focussed, and took the project commercial around 3 years ago. Almost overnight, people took us seriously. We supply over 250 primary schools now and have ambitious growth targets. Have a look at these statistics, or these statistics if you're interested in the shape of the market, and where SIMS schools are going to/from.

    Quote Originally Posted by kinster View Post
    What's the data migration like to Scholarpack? If I wanted to export from SIMS to Scholarpack?
    85% of our schools come from SIMS. We're not supposed to talk much on here for advertising rules but thought I'd clear that up.

    The discussion on whether an open source MIS can work is a pretty interesting one. I don't think the market was right for it in 2010 but that doesn't mean it won't be in the future.

    By the way, the task of building an MIS that competes on the private sector marketplace is a herculean one. Ask any of the smaller providers. We've been there and done it. It's a mammoth undertaking. I'm not discouraging startups - by all means, go for it. But know what you're getting into.
    Last edited by elsiegee40; 9th May 2014 at 09:04 PM.

  2. 2 Thanks to scholarpack:

    GREED (9th May 2014), matt40k (9th May 2014)

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    GREED's Avatar
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    Some of us have been there done that in this market too Rich... I know the task just as you do!!

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    Yes absolutely, wasn't saying you hadn't but an open source MIS has been talked about for a decade. The reason it hasn't happened is not just 'support'. It's the horrendous up front development costs and the incredibly entrenched market that mean most start ups would find lower hanging fruit elsewhere - and that's a shame!

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    Quote Originally Posted by scholarpack View Post
    Yes absolutely, wasn't saying you hadn't but an open source MIS has been talked about for a decade. The reason it hasn't happened is not just 'support'. It's the horrendous up front development costs and the incredibly entrenched market that mean most start ups would find lower hanging fruit elsewhere - and that's a shame!
    Of course I totally agree Rich. 100%

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    Just a post to show I am keeping an eye on things and will edit if lines are crossed by non sponsors

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    We looked at Scholarpack just as the model was changing. IMO it is difficult to mitigate the risks - sure you ultimately have access to the source code, but even the task of keeping up with 'statutory' requirements is extremely demanding. It is probably right that it is a risk too far for schools. In our selection process, there has been a lot of discussion around the relative security of a large supplier vs the continuing viability of some of the smaller players. I think it is right that kind of risk is a consideration but at the same time, it would be a shame if it tipped the balance against otherwise good software.

    I doubt it is realistic for anyone to start from scratch and build an MIS system for schools which will get much traction - closed or open source. What I think is more likely is that companies who are getting into niche requirements - the SISRA's or KeepKidsSafe will expand a little more and then a little more and in a few years they will be bigger players until eventually they offer enough that they are considered a fully capable MIS in and of themselves. Evolution, not revolution.

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    Or... what is likely is an application that houses several disparate systems but brings them together under one interface, connecting the data so it appears to be a single system....

    Some thoughts for you all before the Weekend

  9. Thanks to GREED from:

    kinster (12th May 2014)

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    Quote Originally Posted by elsiegee40 View Post
    Just a post to show I am keeping an eye on things and will edit if lines are crossed by non sponsors
    Ooooo ta elsiegee40 you stalker have lines been crossed?
    Last edited by elsiegee40; 10th May 2014 at 05:15 PM. Reason: posting name please

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    Very slightly

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    Quote Originally Posted by elsiegee40 View Post
    Very slightly
    Who and where?

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    Quote Originally Posted by elsiegee40 View Post
    Just a post to show I am keeping an eye on things and will edit if lines are crossed by non sponsors
    Even little 'ol folks like me who work for schools are 'non-sponsors'. I hope I'm not even approaching any lines!

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    No comment

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    Quote Originally Posted by GREED View Post
    We all have to remember that doing census will be disappearing in 3 years anyway when the DfE Data Exchange comes online and is sucking our data directly and more regularly...
    Don't forget @GREED and @JohnCondon it's elections next year, nothing kills a public project then a new leader - looks at the chair with the words "Reserved for Becta".

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    Don't forget @GREED and @JohnCondon it's elections next year, nothing kills a public project then a new leader - looks at the chair with the words "Reserved for Becta".
    Oh too true Matt... but what can you do as a supplier you have to plan on it still

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    We looked at Scholarpack just as the model was changing. IMO it is difficult to mitigate the risks - sure you ultimately have access to the source code, but even the task of keeping up with 'statutory' requirements is extremely demanding. It is probably right that it is a risk too far for schools. In our selection process, there has been a lot of discussion around the relative security of a large supplier vs the continuing viability of some of the smaller players. I think it is right that kind of risk is a consideration but at the same time, it would be a shame if it tipped the balance against otherwise good software.
    This is part of the problem open source attempts have come up against. Schools aren't willing to take the risk on a tiny, untested provider with no track record even though they usually have the same or similar legal obligations as the larger suppliers with regards to data protection, data security and so on. And open Source just isn't perceived as secure or corporate enough for the edutech sector. I don't believe there are actually any Open Source MIS packages that UK schools can actually use as of 2014.

    Coming through this 'entering the market' process is painstakingly slow for newer suppliers, open source or otherwise, hence why there are about 4 of us in the last decade who have actually made a dent in the state sector, and many that have come and gone in that period too!

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