+ Post New Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 18
MIS Systems Thread, Moved from Capita SIMS to Serco Facility? in Technical; Hi All, Have any of you moved from Capita SIMS to Serco Facility? If so: What made you move? Do ...
  1. #1
    mb2k01's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    1,135
    Thank Post
    189
    Thanked 230 Times in 195 Posts
    Rep Power
    92

    Moved from Capita SIMS to Serco Facility?

    Hi All,

    Have any of you moved from Capita SIMS to Serco Facility?
    If so:
    • What made you move?
    • Do you regret it?
    • Has it worked out cheaper to the school?
    • Do you have any other comments / suggestions to a school that might be looking to move?!


    Many thanks

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Sutton Coldfield
    Posts
    207
    Thank Post
    29
    Thanked 34 Times in 28 Posts
    Rep Power
    20
    Hello,

    Yes, just prior to myself starting at this school, the school had made a decision to move to CMIS. After 2 disasterous years we decided to move back to SIMS and have never looked back!

    With SIMS I can see at a glance the roadmap for when features are being put in etc. With CMIS in the two years I saw very little feature development - mainly bug fixing (and introductions).

    Cost wise it was expensive - more in terms of staff costs for their time, rather than licensing fees (IIRC there was very little difference between CMIS and SIMS).

    Thanks,

    Rob
    Last edited by robknowles; 6th October 2009 at 01:36 PM. Reason: To make sense!

  3. Thanks to robknowles from:

    mb2k01 (6th October 2009)

  4. #3
    monkeyx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    364
    Thank Post
    8
    Thanked 52 Times in 41 Posts
    Rep Power
    25
    We moved from SIMS.net to Serco about 3 years ago.

    The staff much prefere eportal for entering assessments, behaviour, reports and attendance. We need less staff training as well, as eportal is a doddle to use.

    In terms of unifying all reporting, assessmement, behaviour monotoring and attenadance into a single system that meets ALL our needs it has saved money. But more importantly has saved a LOT More money related to the time needed to manage the processes. I would say that is especially true related to assessments. We now can predicts how many students will get 5 A*Cs in all subjects right from year 7 through to year 11. It can also link the assessments to teaching groups very well. Which used to be a weak point with assessment manager in SIMS.net.

    It also integrates very well with moodle. We now do parental access through moodle. But eportal can also handle parental access as part of the standard system.

    I would not consider switching back to SIMS after using Facility/Eportal. More than happy to provide further information on how we have made Facility meet our schools needs. I would very surprised if there are many SIMS schools out there than could demonstate the same level of functionality.

    That links to my last point, in that to get the most out of Facility. You need to plan how you manage assessments, behaviour, reports, attendance, etc well before you start the migration process.

    Tim
    Last edited by monkeyx; 6th October 2009 at 01:54 PM.

  5. Thanks to monkeyx from:

    mb2k01 (6th October 2009)

  6. #4
    mb2k01's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    1,135
    Thank Post
    189
    Thanked 230 Times in 195 Posts
    Rep Power
    92
    Thanks guys - both very interesting reads.

    @Rob - What are the specifics behind your two disasterous years?

    @Tim - The positives you mention are almost exactly the reasons I am looking at the possibility of moving. Did you experience any major negative points during the transition?

  7. #5
    monkeyx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    364
    Thank Post
    8
    Thanked 52 Times in 41 Posts
    Rep Power
    25
    @Tim - The positives you mention are almost exactly the reasons I am looking at the possibility of moving. Did you experience any major negative points during the transition?
    We migrated half way though the year which seemed like a good idea at the time! Would have been better to start in a new year as the timetable that got migrated was hard to manage. My work load went through the roof during the migration process!

    Migrating from one MIS to another MIS is going to have some painful momements! I can't stress how important it is to get support from SLT relating to how the reports, assessment, timetable etc etc will be setup to meet the school requirments. As the Serco system is far more flexible.

    The Facility system also has a slightly higher difficulty level for some aspects for reporting, but it it is worth learning these new skills to get the most from the system. You can also get in consultancy to help with major system changes.

    Tim

  8. Thanks to monkeyx from:

    mb2k01 (6th October 2009)

  9. #6

    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Sutton Coldfield
    Posts
    207
    Thank Post
    29
    Thanked 34 Times in 28 Posts
    Rep Power
    20
    Hello,

    The problems we had were..

    CMIS Admin (the full client)

    1) Report System. Whilst quite powerful, didn't allow us to do what we wanted to do that was in SIMS Assessment Manager already.

    2) Data Migration. Some of the data that was migrated wasn't correct/missing.

    3) Security Permissions Management. Unlike SIMS/Active Directory where you can put them in multiple groups and at logon it adds all the permissions together to give to the user, CMIS at logon prompted the user to select which group they wanted to use for permissions. This basically meant I had to edit permissions for most admin staff so it was customised for them (rather than assigning to groups and getting them to swap every 5 minutes) - unlike SIMS where I just create groups with granular permissions and then add the users into those groups

    4) Bug fixing. For almost a full term we were unable to use our OMR to enter attendance data and this had to be input manually by hand.

    5) Rather than a straight SQL Connection and connect.ini file like SIMS has, CMIS Admin uses a combination of the SQL Database, Files on the server and files stored locally to save user preferences - very annoying to fix if something got corrupted.

    ePortal:

    From a user perspective it wasn't too bad. However,

    1) It didn't offer customisation (i.e in CMIS Admin we could add extra fields but in ePortal they wouldn't appear).

    2) Assessment data entering was a bit hit and miss - enter data and it told you it saved although it didn't

    3) Kept breaking. Many restarts were needed to keep that running!

    I can't fault the support we had from our LA. This issues were down to the way it was programmed and how it was designed. That said each school is different so you may find that some aspects work better for you.

    We've been back with SIMS for almost two years now, so I haven't touched CMIS for a long time so a lot of the issues/annoyances I've forgot. If you've got any other questions please ask.

    As a note - have you looked at the SIMS Learning Gateway? This is a very nice web-based system that allows staff, parents and teachers to view data from a central, secure location.

    Thanks,

    Rob

  10. Thanks to robknowles from:

    mb2k01 (6th October 2009)

  11. #7
    round2it's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    999
    Thank Post
    198
    Thanked 144 Times in 102 Posts
    Rep Power
    36
    check to see if your lea will support you as ours does not (on your own when the S**T hits the fan

    from a network managers point

    no more upgrading workstations every month (whoot)

    i find it hard to get the info i want (sims reporting was much better for me)

    services on the server sometimes die on you (quick restart of service fixes problem)

    IE7 seems to suffer from hanging\slowdowns(serco recommended installing firefox)

  12. Thanks to round2it from:

    mb2k01 (7th October 2009)

  13. #8

    DaveP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Can't talk now: The mother-ship is calling!
    Posts
    8,875
    Thank Post
    351
    Thanked 1,285 Times in 877 Posts
    Blog Entries
    4
    Rep Power
    1128
    We made just such a move a little while ago. There were teething problems and I would have preferred that the move was not made. However there are aspects to the new system which have proved popular with our teachers.

    From my point of view [again] the upgrades are a pain and the upgrade documentation is 'unsatisfactory'

    The earlier requirement to frequently patch the system was annoying but I don't think that the need to patch as often as we had to has diminished [not so many of late though: I fear that the next patch is not far away (!)]

    Facility Administration: Writing reports to extract Staff/Student data from the database is highly problematic [I am told] and making one small mistake mid-report write means beginning again. Also familiarity with SQL statements is a definite advantage. Contrast this with your experience of report writing in SIMS.

    There may be more I could write on this but I am tired and I would probably covering ground already covered by other posts.

    Summary: We use Secro for Staff/Student data but we still use FMS for the finance side of things.

    IT support here is fully committed to supporting the Serco products we have in place here: You must make your own choices. Choose wisely.

  14. Thanks to DaveP from:

    mb2k01 (7th October 2009)

  15. #9
    mb2k01's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    1,135
    Thank Post
    189
    Thanked 230 Times in 195 Posts
    Rep Power
    92
    Quote Originally Posted by round2it View Post
    check to see if your lea will support you as ours does not (on your own when the S**T hits the fan
    from a network managers point
    no more upgrading workstations every month (whoot)
    i find it hard to get the info i want (sims reporting was much better for me)
    services on the server sometimes die on you (quick restart of service fixes problem)
    IE7 seems to suffer from hanging\slowdowns(serco recommended installing firefox)
    Interesting point raised on the LA support - i would be HIGHLY suprised if ours did, in fact I would go as far as to say 99.5% sure they wouldn't support us, or want us to head in that direction.
    To a certain extent that doesn't bother me - as long as Serco offer support themselves and are reliable

  16. #10

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Wakefield, West Yorkshire
    Posts
    623
    Thank Post
    96
    Thanked 130 Times in 101 Posts
    Rep Power
    67
    Hi,

    I'll make this clear from the start - i work for Serco, i'm a technical engineer.
    If you have any specific questions you want answering of a technical nature, PM me and i'll send you either an answer, or if a little more in depth my phone number.
    I also worked in a school with 2100 students as Data Manager and Assistant Exams officer. Was also the admin network technician in a sense. So i have it from most angles.

    Mic Sanderson

  17. Thanks to michael2k6 from:

    mb2k01 (7th October 2009)

  18. #11

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    North
    Posts
    1,828
    Thank Post
    24
    Thanked 91 Times in 71 Posts
    Rep Power
    50
    I have a Serco meet this Saturday, I am getting tired of Sims but the migration scares me.

  19. #12
    Sivadam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Dronfield - Derbyshire
    Posts
    1,449
    Thank Post
    136
    Thanked 208 Times in 175 Posts
    Rep Power
    55
    Monkeyx,

    One wonders why you did not do in SIMS what you say you can now do in Serco!
    You state NOTHING that Serco can do that SIMS is not highly efficient at!

    We have quite a few staff here who have worked in Serco schools in the past few years who are amazed at how easy they can now input and obtain the data they need to aid T&L. They obviously did not have this in their previous schools!
    Last edited by Sivadam; 6th October 2009 at 10:38 PM.

  20. #13

    SpuffMonkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    2,235
    Thank Post
    55
    Thanked 278 Times in 186 Posts
    Rep Power
    134
    From our experience - I think the major difference is that Facility really needs a proper dba who knows what they are doing, as its provided more as a blank system which you can customise, rather than SIMS, which seemed to lay out how you must do things - so you need to put a lot of thought into how the system is going to used prior to set up. We didn't and suffered the pain of this.

    Plus points - updates are a breeze (assuming you checked they work - but thats the same with SIMS), eportal is dead easy.

    Personally, for me, I much prefer it to SIMS - but word on the grapevine says we might be swapping back - so I'll have done migrations in both directions! What fun.

  21. Thanks to SpuffMonkey from:

    mb2k01 (7th October 2009)

  22. #14
    Sivadam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Dronfield - Derbyshire
    Posts
    1,449
    Thank Post
    136
    Thanked 208 Times in 175 Posts
    Rep Power
    55
    And I thought that SIMS was far more configurable then Serco was!

    One of my colleagues told me that they used to had to pay Serco to set up basic things that we can do quite easily ourselves in SIMS. Especially in areas like Assessment and Behaviour/Achievement Management. SIMS does not dictate how you do things at all! Yes it provides basic ways but schools take these much much further if they are using SIMS to it's maximum.

    And one wonders how Serco is dealing with SWC with demands such as inclusion of Curriculum Details for TAs on Timetable, links into Partnership Exchange etc etc

  23. #15
    monkeyx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    364
    Thank Post
    8
    Thanked 52 Times in 41 Posts
    Rep Power
    25
    Quote Originally Posted by Sivadam View Post
    Monkeyx,

    One wonders why you did not do in SIMS what you say you can now do in Serco!
    You state NOTHING that Serco can do that SIMS is not highly efficient at!

    We have quite a few staff here who have worked in Serco schools in the past few years who are amazed at how easy they can now input and obtain the data they need to aid T&L. They obviously did not have this in their previous schools!
    Got tired of showing teachers how to use Assessment Manager. Never had train anyone on using Eportal!

    End of Year reports work really well under under Eportal as well. As of 4 years ago there was nothing in SIMs.net that compared. Most schools were using a third party reporting tool.

    In relation to analysis reports for assessment it used to be very difficult to run reports that analysed results by teaching groups. This was (not sure if still is) a BIG issue for many schools in our area and Capita promised it would be in the next release. After 3 versions of SIMS.net we stopped waiting and switched. Would be curious to hear if this is better now?

    We have had parental access as a standard part of the system for years, no need to a seperate learning gateway.

    Behaviour management is much more fine grained in Facility.

    I could go on, but been a busy day :P

    Tim

SHARE:
+ Post New Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. [ACS] Serco's Facility
    By ANiceEnglishman in forum MIS Systems
    Replies: 49
    Last Post: 3rd April 2011, 01:42 PM
  2. serco facility
    By garrysaddington in forum MIS Systems
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 8th June 2009, 10:22 AM
  3. EMA Payments - Contract moved to CAPITA
    By Sylv3r in forum IT News
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 25th November 2008, 01:34 PM
  4. SIMS.Net vs Serco Facility
    By JoHimself in forum MIS Systems
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 18th October 2007, 09:44 AM
  5. Serco CMIS Facility
    By bursar in forum MIS Systems
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 22nd May 2007, 04:36 PM

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •