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MIS Systems Thread, SIMS .net and Open Office in Technical; I can assure all readers that the change request has not been deleted but I don’t know what has happened ...
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    I can assure all readers that the change request has not been deleted but I don’t know what has happened to it. This week we are considering all requests with a view to forming a programme for next year and it could have been moved. I will find out.

    Somewhere in this thread someone says that it has taken a couple of months for us to acknowledge a fault in the OpenOffice links. I’d be grateful if you could post the case reference number so I can check when we were alerted and improve our response rate if we really have known for so long.

    I cannot justify spending development funds on minority requests but if there is significant demand we will respond – for the record I do not feel that the number of responses on EduGeek to date is significant as we have 22,500 schools using SIMS. I notice that this thread has attracted over 1100 but only 50 have voted and not all support the proposition. I urge people to cast their votes one way or another.

    This is not cheap change for us to implement and bear in mind that schools using older MS software cannot use XML outputs. You can already use the free MS viewer for all SIMS documents and personally I would rather spend the money on things that will help schools improve behaviour, attendance, assessment results etc and generally make SIMS even more useful.

    If I was building a new AM, Profiles etc I would ensure that Open Standards were built in from the start but we are where we are.

  2. Thanks to PhilNeal from:

    penfold_99 (22nd July 2008)

  3. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal View Post
    SI cannot justify spending development funds on minority requests but if there is significant demand we will respond Ė for the record I do not feel that the number of responses on EduGeek to date is significant as we have 22,500 schools using SIMS. I notice that this thread has attracted over 1100 but only 50 have voted and not all support the proposition. I urge people to cast their votes one way or another.
    Thanks Phil for your support with the poll. I would also like to thank you for your commitment to debate on this subject, as many have express on this forum that my stance on this issues might alienate you from coming on here.

    The one big draw back to the vote on the site is it doesn't take into account members who look after multiple schools, are only able to vote once.

    There will never be 100% endorsement of an idea, but the ratio stands at 4:1 in favour of OpenOffice Support.

    You have 22,500 customers and current 40 people have voted in favour and yes it currently states at 0.2%. But have Capita canvassed there customer base to gauge level of support for Open Office support or Open Standard support?

    A better place for this vote would be on the capita website but as the original change request has gone missing, a second one had to be created. (thanks matt40k)

    Could the votes already cast on change request 0807-371441 be merged with 0807-374055

    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal View Post
    This is not cheap change for us to implement and bear in mind that schools using older MS software cannot use XML outputs.
    If I was building a new AM, Profiles etc I would ensure that Open Standards were built in from the start but we are where we are.[/QUOTE]

    Remember Phil it isnít cheap for schools to continue purchasing Microsoft Licences for Office, Windows (Sever & Desktop), SQL Cals etc.

    As a very rough estimate you have 22,500 customers averaging out at £2250 per customer each per year for SIMS.net licence, (I have used a rough average as I donít know your breakdown for Primary/Secondary), this equates to £50,625,000 a year.

    Can you really say you canít invest 1% (£506,250) in supporting Open Standards/Open Office?

    Schools have had to fork out roughly £4510 (40 Pc Average per School) to continue to use SIMS.net the brake down is as follows

    Per Site
    £70 per Windows 2003 Licence
    £30 per SQL Server Licence

    Per Machine
    £70 per Windows XP Licence
    £35 per Office Licence
    £3 per XP Cal
    £3 per SQL Cal

    (THESE FIGURES ARE A ROUGH GUESS FROM OUR SELECT LICENCE COSTS, IF ANYONE HAS FIRM PRICES LET ME KNOW AND I WILL RECALCULATE)

    Multiply this up to your customer base of 22,500 the cost is £101,475,000 following the upgrade path of SIMS.net over the last 2 years.

    If schools could just save on the Office licence costs it would equate to £31,500,000 or £1400 per school.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal View Post
    You can already use the free MS viewer for all SIMS documents and personally I would rather spend the money on things that will help schools improve behaviour, attendance, assessment results etc and generally make SIMS even more useful.
    Itís very useful for schools to have this information about attendance and behaviour, but if there isnít any money (because they have had to spend it on MS Office licences) to tackle it, the information looses all itís value.

  4. Thanks to penfold_99 from:

    webman (22nd July 2008)

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    SQL2005 CALs are more like £8-£9 each.

    SQL2005 server licenses can be bought per processor core in which case you don 't need CALs at all but you are talking several hundreds per core- I think ours worked out something like £900 - £1000 to license which was cheaper than buying CALs for our school as we have so many machines that need access to the database. Still expensive and thats with our massive educational discount!

    I'm all for Open Office - would love to get rid of MS office if Sims worked 100% with it.. now I'm off to find this poll and cast my vote

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    Just for the record - there is absolutely no way that we can move from SQL Server!!

    Penfold I can't say what our revenue is but if your estimate was close I'd be very very happy! A primary school of 100 pupils will pay around £260.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal View Post
    Just for the record - there is absolutely no way that we can move from SQL Server!!

    Penfold I can't say what our revenue is but if your estimate was close I'd be very very happy! A primary school of 100 pupils will pay around £260.
    A primary school of 100 pupils is by no means an average size. That is a tiny school! I live in a small town and we have first schools (years 1 - 4) with more pupils than that.

    And why couldn't you move from SQL server? You moved from SQLAnywhere to it for FMS etc...

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    @ penfold_99: i think we should stay on topic here and that is the half support for OO, SIMS uses SQL and .NET and schools know that when investing they're both very good products so i don't have an issue with that. I see the MS office part as an issue as this is the only thing holding us back from going OO site wide, the MS Office requirement just seems an extra almost unnecessary but expensive requirement.


    @ Phil: Your input has been greatly appreciated and i hope you don't feel under attack but it would be nice if Capita would start thinking towards OO support version 3 will be available soon and support and usage is growing. Maybe a decision could be made to bring it into the testing cycle and to make new SIMS features compatible with OO / open standards and MS Office, this could have the added benefit of reducing the cost of moving/supporting if the decision is made to support OO in the future.
    Last edited by cookie_monster; 23rd July 2008 at 08:48 AM.

  9. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by cookie_monster View Post
    @ penfold_99: i think we should stay on topic here and that is the half support for OO, SIMS uses SQL and .NET and schools know that when investing they're both very good products.
    Yes, that's true. But some schools may not be lucky enough to choose which MIS they can use, and end up lumbered with SIMS due to a decision made by their LEA and subsequently forced upon them.

    As penfold_99 correctly pointed out, the baseline cost for a school to run SIMS is quite high due to the requirement of Microsoft products for the server and on each client where you want to run SIMS. Schools wanting to get away from Microsoft that use SIMS have no other option than to fork out for Microsoft products simply to run SIMS.

    But yes, we digress... perhaps there should be a general but constructive "What's wrong with SIMS?" discussion?

  10. Thanks to webman from:

    penfold_99 (23rd July 2008)

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    some schools may not be lucky enough to choose which MIS they can use, and end up lumbered with SIMS due to a decision made by their LEA and subsequently forced upon them.
    At some point that will be funded by the LA and they will get a bulk discount.


    Schools wanting to get away from Microsoft that use SIMS have no other option than to fork out for Microsoft products simply to run SIMS
    Untill there is a web based version schools will just have to accept that SIMS requires .NET and SQL server it's just part of the package. Developing software is a very expensive bussiness and MS skills are more available and for a lower cost than a number of other skills, i know someone who works developing transport management systems and this is the main reason he states when i ask why they don't use free products. SQL and .NET is a very good platform and really isn't all that expensive when you look at the cost of the software that you then run on it.
    Last edited by cookie_monster; 23rd July 2008 at 09:24 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal View Post
    Just for the record - there is absolutely no way that we can move from SQL Server!!

    Penfold I can't say what our revenue is but if your estimate was close I'd be very very happy! A primary school of 100 pupils will pay around £260.
    Hi Phil

    We're not asking to move from SQl Server, i was just illustrating the level of investment from the schools end.

    From you example of £2.60 per pupil, I will re arrange my assessment.
    22,500 x 250 (Average Pupil Number) x £2.60 is still £14,625,000 a year so 1% would be £146,250 still enough to hire a couple of good developers to tackle this issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by penfold_99 View Post

    From you example of £2.60 per pupil, I will re arrange my assessment.
    22,500 x 250 (Average Pupil Number) x £2.60 is still £14,625,000 a year so 1% would be £146,250 still enough to hire a couple of good developers to tackle this issue.
    13.1 million dependent children in UK.
    60% of those are ages 5-16 = 7.86M children
    Capita have 80% market share = 6.28M children.
    £2.60 * 6.28M = £16M from SIMS.

    Somewhere in this thread someone says that it has taken a couple of months for us to acknowledge a fault in the OpenOffice links. Iíd be grateful if you could post the case reference number so I can check when we were alerted and improve our response rate if we really have known for so long.
    I was referring to the original thread in May where Penfold noted the problem. I have no idea whether a formal case reference was logged, probably it wasn't because capita support say the 'fix' is to buy MS office.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cookie_monster View Post
    @ penfold_99: i think we should stay on topic here and that is the half support for OO, SIMS uses SQL and .NET and schools know that when investing they're both very good products so i don't have an issue with that. I see the MS office part as an issue as this is the only thing holding us back from going OO site wide, the MS Office requirement just seems an extra almost unnecessary but expensive requirement.
    The reason i went a bit off topic was to illustrate the investment from a school has to make to follow the upgrade path of SIMS.net.

    As Phil Neal cannot justify spending 1% of his total revenue to implement OO or Open Standards it is costing schools £31,5000,000 to purchase MS Office every time an upgrade is needed.

    Another problem Capita has is a scatter gun approach to data output. There is currently these following outputs
    • HTML - Lesson Monitor Reports
    • RTF - Quick Letter & Reports
    • DOC - Reports
    • XML - Individual Reports, Assessment Manager
    • XLS - Reports
    • TXT - Reports


    I would be use full if Capita could implement two file formats ODF and ODS, then any product that supports these format can open them, so removing the reliance on MS Office.

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    One problem that you need to remember is that us having to purchace Office isn't Capitas problem it doesn't cost them anymore and so justifying the extra expence developing for OO is hard. Shareholders don't care about FOSS they just want their investments to deliver maximum returns, this is the same reason the MS often "seem to" make odd decisions and string out the inevitable they have an investment to protect and a responsibility to their shareholders.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Do you actually work in a school? Or do you work for an LA? You did have East Sussex LA in your profile but it's gone now, so I am assuming the latter. If the latter, do you have much contact with SIMS.net? Do you have much contact with schools and do you ask them how they feel that they have to pay for licenses for MS Office just to continue to use SIMS.net?

    And saying 'zzzz' is a bit weak to be honest. Present your case rather than just trying to make those who actually have problems look like they're causing trouble...
    Yes, I work for an LA and yes I deal with SIMS.net on a daily basis...and yes I deal with schools as well. I'm afraid your struggle against Capita/MS is in vain...as Cookie Monster quite correctly points out...its about making money, thats the nature of business!

  17. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by laughingcavalier View Post
    Yes, I work for an LA and yes I deal with SIMS.net on a daily basis...and yes I deal with schools as well. I'm afraid your struggle against Capita/MS is in vain...as Cookie Monster quite correctly points out...its about making money, thats the nature of business!
    But your job isn't, and neither are any other person's who works for a school or LA. Hence our wishes to save money...

  18. #75

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    I would like to point out that Cambridgeshire has hosted SIMS. Other LEA's are looking at it.

    This means you remote in on a Mac\linux\whatever, system, exporting to open source documents would be a good idea, as it truelly would mean you could connect up to the LEA's Microsoft server from any type of machine.

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