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MIS Systems Thread, Serco Support being pants? in Technical; Originally Posted by Tallwood_6 Sounds like they should have taken a copy of your database weeks ago and done some ...
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    john's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallwood_6 View Post
    Sounds like they should have taken a copy of your database weeks ago and done some proper investigation. Would have taken them know time at all and would have saved both you and support loads of grief.
    The did take a copy and it works 110% perfect for them both admin and eportal never go wrong and were perfect, yet they have seen via GTA that it's not on mine!!! But cannot see anything wrong with what I am doing so its not me so it must be something with there product that is wrong! (See why I'm angry about it!) How hard is it for them to send someone to physically come and see us and look at it! I drove to them for my course so they should drive to me and look at it and see what they can find! It would be time well spent by them to do it as they are more likely to keep a customer by showing willing and a good support!

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveP View Post
    We moved from Omnis [Key Solutions] to Sims to Serco [with the most recent change made with what seemed indecent haste at the time of changeover]

    For my purposes Serco could be improve their product by:

    • Improving their upgrade instructions
    • Improving the upgrade processes [automatically remove/upgrade old or existing products]
    • Removing the need for need for specific products to installed differently than the rest of the suite [Scheduler]
    • Improving report writing [not having to have substantial knowledge of SQL statements to get reports written]
    • Improving report writing by not having to abandon all work on a partially written report if a mistake is made in the report part way through


    Should I go on?
    Do others here agree?
    Does anyone want to add to this list?
    mmmm Omnis the joyful back end of RM Integris

    As for your list, I don't find the upgrades too bad in the sense of actually doing them, the January upgrade was a disaster in terms of bugs / problems with the new version but the next major one was not bad really. Don't forget we have the 1st September upgrade coming which will fix some of the bugs from the last major one (so we may be able to print a full College timetable, something which still cannot be done in a suitable format!)

    The report writing is very awkward and annoying tbh, that is where Sims has it as I believe its like working a mail-merge in reporting (so i'm told by our staff who come from a Sims background), yes Serco is far more powerful in what you can do in them but if it takes you 5hrs to write a simple report its not good really. I often spend many times looking aimlessly for database fields in the infamous "F9" list to no avail so end up phoning or emailing them to see where it is, as if its in the database it must surely be reportable (otherwise what is the point of having it in the database!) and its all too easy to get into a never ending loop whilst hunting for blasted fields to still get not what you want

  2. #17
    DMcCoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sivadam View Post
    Strange that you think that is necessary ............ I wonder where on earth you got that idea from!
    Well I have to run around workstations that use exams module and reinstall sims every time there is a patch. It doesn't work properly in a secure fashion with Office 2007. Very High CPU use due to latest home page changes. Inability to make backups that work with system manage for DBs over 4GB (they get corrupted - I take my own every day with SQL instead so don't notice). Broken command line reporter every other release. Non functional auditing system that "will be fixed at some point in the future". Client crashes when editing multiple staff/students in a row. Some very short sighted user/group settings for SLG. No automated provisioning for SLG. Inability for staff not in personnel to use SLG. Multiple functions that tie up the database for all users. Full backup between all patches applied at the same time. Inability to cope with " ' " in users names - input is not sanitised. No useable ADP reports after the initial install.

    I have been waiting for a Nova problem to be fixed for a couple of years now, seems they just said it was awaiting a patch and closed the case. I also constantly get hassled by support every few weeks to investigate why my B2B is broken despite it always being the LEA server, which they know.

    They haven't even fixed the sims login box losing focus after the applications launches. I also particuly enjoy watching the old icon change into the new one when loading, much like all the possible pages loading in solus over RDP.

  3. #18
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    Battling with Scheduler that Does Not Schedule

    I am in need of some support. Any Chance here ?

    I am battling with the Schedule for my school in Serco Scheduler. I have added all my Restrictions etc. I have fixed in my classes that need to be fixed - due to time / staff / resource constraints.

    Now I am ready to auto schedule starting with the Organised Blocks. However, when I run the auto Schedule Nothing wants to schedule and all events are skipped.

    I have looked at my Event Specifications( Senior event spec no 2). I did find that my events were running for 0 of the 1-52 weeks. I have changed that in the event Spec and now the scheduling is 52 weeks form 1-52. Still things do not schedule.

    I have been able to schedule events with the specification Registration (Event Spec 15). I have looked at the setup of this event spec and tried to match the Senior event spec to it.

    I have attached a picture of the Activity Log when run in Analise and Auto Schedule mode. To me it does not give any clues.

    Do you have any suggestions ? I feel sure I am looking for a school boy error.

    Your help / comments on this situation would be much appreciated.

    Mike Wilson.

    Attached a file of my Activity Log - Sorry very much a novice !
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Sivadam's Avatar
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    Well DMcCoy, what can I say?

    Some of those ‘complaints’ have no foundation here (e.g. Workstation Upgrades, Use of Office 2007, Nova Issues);
    Some are there but are mere minor irritants (e.g. Multiple editing crash - yes I do agree it ought to be fixed.);
    At least one I totally agree with how it is setup (All Users, both SIMS and SLG, SHOULD be in Personnel - to log their CRB for one thing!);
    Some appear to be more issues with your Support Desk and not SIMS (I can only describe Capita Direct Support as ‘excellent’);
    Some I haven’t a clue about anyway as they are technical and our ICT Services Team respond excellently every time I give them an issue – which invariable is a user based problem (all problems are channelled initially through myself).

    What issues there are in SIMS pale into insignificance when you consider what is being delivered successfully without any hitches.

    And that is me done for this Forum Thread (hopefully!)!
    We could go on for ever discussing the pros and cons of any MIS!
    Last edited by Sivadam; 16th August 2009 at 10:03 PM.

  5. #20
    DMcCoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sivadam View Post
    Well DMcCoy, what can I say?
    That SIMS is not somehow magically better than all other MIS? They are all bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sivadam View Post
    Some of those ‘complaints’ have no foundation here (e.g. Workstation Upgrades, Use of Office 2007, Nova Issues);
    Although that doesn't stop them being any less serious, 2007 in particular requiring all macro security to be disabled in Office 2007 for profiles to work correctly, considering you must have a version of Office to use it.[/QUOTE]

    Quote Originally Posted by Sivadam View Post
    Some are there but are mere minor irritants (e.g. Multiple editing crash - yes I do agree it ought to be fixed.);
    Irritant does not even begin to describe the frustration caused to end users, especially those currently correcting an intake of 300+

    Quote Originally Posted by Sivadam View Post
    At least one I totally agree with how it is setup (All Users, both SIMS and SLG, SHOULD be in Personnel - to log their CRB for one thing!);
    What about those working in the school that are employed directly by the LEA to do so? We have no reason for them to have an employment record in SIMS, yet they have a SIMS login to do their required work at the school.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sivadam View Post
    Some appear to be more issues with your Support Desk and not SIMS (I can only describe Capita Direct Support as ‘excellent’);
    Some I haven’t a clue about anyway as they are technical and our ICT Services Team respond excellently every time I give them an issue – which invariable is a user based problem (all problems are channelled initially through myself).
    I would describe using Capita's direct support desk as excruciating. Athough we had no choice after the removal of the LEA support team. There are a great many issues that no one ever seems to have sat down and thought about. NTLM authentication as the only (supported) option for SLG, helpfully excluding those users whose ISP forces them through a transparent proxy. Aparently the thousands of pounds of support for it don't get you anything if it's a sharepoint issue, despite being the only platform for SLG.


    I wouldn't dream of saying that SIMS is any worse than any of the other MIS out there although I wouldn't ever call any of the MIS out there "good" either. They are necessary evil.

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    Serco support

    In the Serco support team we consistently monitor our performance to try to ensure we provide the best possible service to our customers. As the Support Manager, I welcome any feedback from customers to help us improve service levels. I would, therefore, encourage any customer that feels that we are not providing adequate Support service levels to contact me directly shirley.swinbank@serco.com. Similarly, I would also welcome feedback in cases where we have exceeded customer expectations.

    Clearly in the case raised by John we have not provided the level of service that our customers are entitled to and we have escalated this case to bring it to resolution and I would like to apologise on behalf of Serco for the frustration and disruption that this might have caused.

  7. Thanks to Shirley_Swinbank from:

    john (17th August 2009)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shirley_Swinbank View Post
    In the Serco support team we consistently monitor our performance to try to ensure we provide the best possible service to our customers. As the Support Manager, I welcome any feedback from customers to help us improve service levels. I would, therefore, encourage any customer that feels that we are not providing adequate Support service levels to contact me directly shirley.swinbank@serco.com. Similarly, I would also welcome feedback in cases where we have exceeded customer expectations.

    Clearly in the case raised by John we have not provided the level of service that our customers are entitled to and we have escalated this case to bring it to resolution and I would like to apologise on behalf of Serco for the frustration and disruption that this might have caused.
    Thank you for coming on here to post Shirley its nice to see that Serco are listening and keeping an eye on here, hopefully you maybe able to consider keeping an eye on the MIS forum here to provide snippets of info / limited quick support to people when they have little niggles and encourage them to, for the bigger things, contact yourselves via the portal or telephone, just like Capita do for us on here as I know that it is useful having Phil and others from Capita popping up to assist and point in the right directions as well as say please log a support case etc

    I will update my "case" on here, I did receive a call from Serco this morning as arranged and Serco have apologised for the problems and I have had a 2nd line support representative working all day via Gotoassist on my PC and Server at the College looking into the problems and they are seeing my issues and are going to spend another day tomorrow looking at them, as they have made some progress today but need to do more work on it. We have also got contingency plans in place for Exam results on Wednesday should we have problems with those.

    So its certainly not a case closed as of yet, but having them working on them on my system, as its clear it is something on our setup that is causing some of these problems as they cannot replicate them at Serco's offices, this is very good, I am sure Serco are very busy with everyone preparing for exam results and I am grateful for them understanding my concerns and seeing first hand that we are clearly having some key problems with the reporting part of the system in general and hence my concerns for Exams on Wednesday.

    I am sure we will get a good resolution in the very near future for our issues and hopefully it will all be good from that point onwards as I am usually a very happy Serco user and this is the first time I've been a very cross one.

  9. Thanks to john from:

    Shirley_Swinbank (18th August 2009)

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    Quote Originally Posted by john View Post
    Thank you for coming on here to post Shirley its nice to see that Serco are listening and keeping an eye on here, hopefully you maybe able to consider keeping an eye on the MIS forum here to provide snippets of info / limited quick support to people when they have little niggles and encourage them to, for the bigger things, contact yourselves via the portal or telephone, just like Capita do for us on here as I know that it is useful having Phil and others from Capita popping up to assist and point in the right directions as well as say please log a support case etc

    I will update my "case" on here, I did receive a call from Serco this morning as arranged and Serco have apologised for the problems and I have had a 2nd line support representative working all day via Gotoassist on my PC and Server at the College looking into the problems and they are seeing my issues and are going to spend another day tomorrow looking at them, as they have made some progress today but need to do more work on it. We have also got contingency plans in place for Exam results on Wednesday should we have problems with those.

    So its certainly not a case closed as of yet, but having them working on them on my system, as its clear it is something on our setup that is causing some of these problems as they cannot replicate them at Serco's offices, this is very good, I am sure Serco are very busy with everyone preparing for exam results and I am grateful for them understanding my concerns and seeing first hand that we are clearly having some key problems with the reporting part of the system in general and hence my concerns for Exams on Wednesday.

    I am sure we will get a good resolution in the very near future for our issues and hopefully it will all be good from that point onwards as I am usually a very happy Serco user and this is the first time I've been a very cross one.
    Hi John,

    In response to your post about keeping an eye on the forum in the MIS section, there are a few of us that keep an eye on the MIS section (and others) of Edugeek, especially for questions relating to Facility, ePortal, etc, but general questions also regarding SQL, Windows, etc. You probably wont find much activity during the day as supporting the support cases here as a seperate route into support would bypass queues and make monitoring cases difficult. But we do (i certainly do) help wherever possible in our free time, usually on an evening.
    The best way to get help with the MIS always will be by calling the support desk or logging a call on firstline, but as you said, quirky little unimportant issues, or for straw polls, general advice, etc, i'm around when i can help, as are several others.
    May i also thank you for your fairness in explaining the outcomes and updates on this forum rather than just logging the initial issue in frustration.

    Michael Sanderson
    Technical Engineer
    Serco Learning


    N.B - The above post is entirely my own and contains no views or opinions of my employer or any of my employers associates.

  11. Thanks to michael2k6 from:

    john (18th August 2009)

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