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MIS Systems Thread, Serco Facility Experiences!? in Technical; Hello all! We are looking to implement Serco Facility et al and I wanted to know what experiences everyone has ...
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    Question Serco Facility Experiences!?

    Hello all!

    We are looking to implement Serco Facility et al and I wanted to know what experiences everyone has encountered???

    I understand that support used to be quite ropey, has this really improved in the past 12 months?

    Thanks guys

  2. #2
    coquet636
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick_Young View Post
    Hello all!

    We are looking to implement Serco Facility et al and I wanted to know what experiences everyone has encountered???

    I understand that support used to be quite ropey, has this really improved in the past 12 months?

    Thanks guys
    Support has improved alot. Time waiting to speak to support used to be ridiculous too but this has improved, although in the past month it has started to creep up a little, but that could be due to the census am problems with the recent update.

    Generally it works ok here but the first year takes alot of time and lots of tweaks to make sure it works how you want it. This first year can be manic and seem like theres no point, but once you have it how you like it you will see it was worthwhile and prove a vital assett.

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    That was what I feared, a year of moaning lies ahead!

    thanks for your reply

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    Hi all,

    I'm glad you agree that there has been an improvement in support.
    Apologies if you're experiencing mildly longer queues, as you say, we've been busy since census and the last release. The support team quickly caught up over the holidays though and things should be back to normal.

    The implementation and installation process has altered in the last year or so too and i believe (though i haven't experience this as a customer) the process is now a lot more user friendly and geared much more towards keeping confidence in staff. Of course the improved support helps a lot, as does the documentation on our knowledge base, in keeping staff confidence high. Obviously when they experience a problem (it's inevitable with a new system of any type they will, be it configuration issues, software errors, user errors, or a lack of training) it is resolved quickly.

    I'd like to say technical support has improved too, the technical team used to be based in support specifically as part of second level, but have grown in size and we are now in implementation. So we do the installs, and are available during the implementation process should any issues arise, and then we take technical calls from second level support (or are available to support them) where necessary. This should help out people in your position more than previously.

    The point of me saying this is i'm not sure when coquet636 was implemented and how long they have been using the software (but obviously it's over a year ago) and so things may of changed.

    Any more comments, especially from newer customers in reply to me?
    I supose support is easy to compare to this time 12 months ago as long as you've had the software over 12 months, but implementation is much more difficult as no one goes through implementation twice.

    I hope which ever MIS you choose, you have a good experience moving.
    My first post was in a school who had just moved to Facility, as Data manager and admin network manager. The software was fine, as was the network, the biggest problem i had was staff simply not wanting to change, regardless of the reasons, be it better for the school, or the students. But after the initial period of change, when people start to see the benefit, that's when it really takes off. So my general advice would be do anything you can to keep confidence high, and if you have any problems with it yourself, lock yourself in a room before you shout about it!

    Good luck with your endeavours,
    Michael Sanderson
    Technical Team
    Serco Learning

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    Smile

    Michael,

    Thank you for your post, I know who to go to now for the inside track at Serco support!

    I appreciate that every implementation is different, I think the biggest challenge will be managing the staff and their expectations!?!

  6. #6
    coquet636
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    Quote Originally Posted by michael2k6 View Post
    Hi all,

    I'm glad you agree that there has been an improvement in support.
    Apologies if you're experiencing mildly longer queues, as you say, we've been busy since census and the last release. The support team quickly caught up over the holidays though and things should be back to normal.

    The implementation and installation process has altered in the last year or so too and i believe (though i haven't experience this as a customer) the process is now a lot more user friendly and geared much more towards keeping confidence in staff. Of course the improved support helps a lot, as does the documentation on our knowledge base, in keeping staff confidence high. Obviously when they experience a problem (it's inevitable with a new system of any type they will, be it configuration issues, software errors, user errors, or a lack of training) it is resolved quickly.

    I'd like to say technical support has improved too, the technical team used to be based in support specifically as part of second level, but have grown in size and we are now in implementation. So we do the installs, and are available during the implementation process should any issues arise, and then we take technical calls from second level support (or are available to support them) where necessary. This should help out people in your position more than previously.

    The point of me saying this is i'm not sure when coquet636 was implemented and how long they have been using the software (but obviously it's over a year ago) and so things may of changed.

    Any more comments, especially from newer customers in reply to me?
    I supose support is easy to compare to this time 12 months ago as long as you've had the software over 12 months, but implementation is much more difficult as no one goes through implementation twice.

    I hope which ever MIS you choose, you have a good experience moving.
    My first post was in a school who had just moved to Facility, as Data manager and admin network manager. The software was fine, as was the network, the biggest problem i had was staff simply not wanting to change, regardless of the reasons, be it better for the school, or the students. But after the initial period of change, when people start to see the benefit, that's when it really takes off. So my general advice would be do anything you can to keep confidence high, and if you have any problems with it yourself, lock yourself in a room before you shout about it!

    Good luck with your endeavours,
    Michael Sanderson
    Technical Team
    Serco Learning
    We installed it in 2005-2006 so the process then was a person came out installed it on our server, we went on the training courses and that was it!!!!!

    But i must admit to speaking to another colleague and he says the process is alot better, and i must admit serco do listen to complaints, and do actually change things. In the 4 years i have used facility they have listened to complaints about support and fixed them.. they have listened to complaints about cover and fixed them, so its worth year of "tweaking".

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    Good to see the positive comments.
    The install procedure has changed again a little since then. In the way that some may be on site, but we try to make them all remote.
    It has its disadvantages, but they are greatly outweighed by advantages - such as if we were to drive for 4 hours round to do an install, it leaves us say 2 hours to actually do it. If we don't we have 6 hours to do an install which means there's a lot more time for looking at other things, like the server it's going onto and ensuring minimal fuss in the future. Plus we can go into more depth with the network manager as to what we've done, etc. We can always go on site as a second option.

    In terms of managing staff and their expectations, i think the important bit is keep them involved. Give them some sort of clue as to when things are hapenning, and the biggest thing is they dont feel on their own. Even if you know no more than they do, knowing they can speak to you about it (even if they dont expect a solution) might put their mind at ease, support has to be at their fingertips, both externally from us and internally from such as yourself.

    Perhaps of usergroup meetings internally at the important stages so people can keep in touch outside of the chatter - it's easy for things to get negative if for example the conversations develope in the staff room and several people voice concerns. If you're seen to be having good communication between everyone they ought to feel more positive, and also, you can help control the pitch of the meeting when you're in it, and make sure it stays positive.

    This way, expectations won't be so high that they are disapointed, but should be high enough to keep confidence up that the change is worth while.

    As for the changes, and listening to customers, i'm glad you've noticed. Pretty much everywhere you look there's room for feedback, and we do read it and act upon it.
    For example, at the end of a gotoassist session (remote software we use) there is room for positive, negative or neutral, and a comment. We can track back the feedback to individuals but they cannot see it themselves.
    On the knowledge base articles, as you'd expect, you're asked how useful it was and whether you'd like to make a comment, etc.

    I hope your experience is a positive one, i'm sure it will be.

    Michael Sanderson
    Technical Team
    Serco Learning

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    Facility CMIS is solid as a rock, I couldn't say the same about E-portal but I think thats to do with our local LEA messing around with it too much before they give it to schools.

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    For various reasons, partly to do with our school and partly I believe to do with the faults and deficiencies of the Serco Facility product and service, we had such a frustrating time with Serco Facility that I ended up making Access databases to fill the gaps and to achieve a successful MIS development.

    I started with a student profile and moved on from there, it took me a countless number of hours but its been an enjoyable learning experience, and as the old saying goes "What does not kill you, makes you stronger."

    We've now replaced the Facility CMIS Admin. (which is quite good) with our own student records database and we are going to trial flying solo for the next twelve months.

    The MIS requirements of a prep school are not that extensive so I'm not sure that we really needed to buy Facility in the first place.

    I am keen to find other schools that might be keen to join this project.

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    i would post my comments on serco. but i dont think i can post these sort of things on this message board

    i could give you a list as long as my arm and more for reasons NOT to go with serco.

    Just talk to some of the long standing customers to find out what i mean.

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    being diplomatic

    Yes well I was trying to be very diplomatic and fair to them possibly bending the stick too far in their direction.... some of them have got honesty issues.

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    coquet636
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    Quote Originally Posted by wickit View Post
    i would post my comments on serco. but i dont think i can post these sort of things on this message board

    i could give you a list as long as my arm and more for reasons NOT to go with serco.

    Just talk to some of the long standing customers to find out what i mean.
    As a fairly long standing customer i would have agreed with you two year ago but recently i must admit to seeing an improvement (apart from the last upgrade).

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    well to us its a week by week messup from them
    And dont even get me started on there VLP

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    The last upgrade was a complete disaster - we thought Serco had learned a lesson from 2 years ago but they did not.

    Luckily we did not implement the upgade or we to would have a revolt on our hands.

    I agree that suport has improved but the product has gone backwards, just read the official Serco forums to see peoples frustration and all the issues with the current version.

    Serco unleashed a complete re-write of some of the core packages with either little or no testing (if they did test it then they did not listen). These packages Cover and ePortal have had emergency patches issues to try and make them usable again.

    The relase of the upgrade was 2 days before schools broke up for xmas and had the census update included which forced many schools to implement the upgrade.

    The really anoying thing is the product was very good and could be again but the implementation was very poor and the crazy upgrade this xmas is another nail in the coffin

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    Quote Originally Posted by darkest_star View Post
    The last upgrade was a complete disaster - we thought Serco had learned a lesson from 2 years ago but they did not.
    We still haven't implemented the upgrade - but are due to next week - can anyone tell me whether its holding together OK now - or are there still "issues"

    Thanks

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