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MIS Systems Thread, Capita 'billed schools 75m too much' in Technical; Originally Posted by GREED Surely though every company in the world wants you to buy their sister products and add ...
  1. #16

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GREED View Post
    Surely though every company in the world wants you to buy their sister products and add on modules, and so make sure that they have an advantage over the others by building in links and integration. They don't make it more difficult, because they tend to use standards (like xml), but rather make integration with their own products EASIER.
    There is a difference between having a value added reason to use a company's own products and having to use them because the competition is forced to jump through artificial hoops inflicted by a company.

    This exact same issue was one that Microsoft was found guilty on - namely using functions that they wouldn't let other companies use and thereby giving themselves an advantage.

    If Capita weren't a monopoly, this would be a non-issue. But as they are, it is a whole different ballgame.

  2. #17

    GREED's Avatar
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    I agree with that, but I don't think Capita make artificial hoops.

    Firstly, the majority of thier software is encompassed within one whole package, one could argue that it is one piece of software. So there is no output or input of data, it is all just there.

    Secondly, no artificial hoops as any data is stored in standard formats, not clever made up ones, these being within SQL databases and outputs come to Excel or XML files, all more or less standards these days. Competitors are free to use them if necessary.

    What competitors want is Capita to build links like '-> Export to < Enter MIS Here >.', which is never going to happen. MS are never going to build a 'Make Windows look like a MAC' facility (although sometimes I wish the would!!!)

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GREED View Post
    I agree with that, but I don't think Capita make artificial hoops.
    An NDA with specifications about the commerical use of a competing product is an artificial hoop.

    Firstly, the majority of thier software is encompassed within one whole package, one could argue that it is one piece of software. So there is no output or input of data, it is all just there.
    Not really. It is made up of a mass of DLL files, each one doing its own bit. Each one optional etc...

    Secondly, no artificial hoops as any data is stored in standard formats, not clever made up ones, these being within SQL databases and outputs come to Excel or XML files, all more or less standards these days. Competitors are free to use them if necessary.
    Excel is not standard. No way no how. Just had to say that Accessing the SQL database directly is a violation of the EULA for customers - so if they use a product made by a third party that does that, without a license from Capita, then they are up a creek without a paddle should anything go wrong.

    What competitors want is Capita to build links like '-> Export to < Enter MIS Here >.', which is never going to happen. MS are never going to build a 'Make Windows look like a MAC' facility (although sometimes I wish the would!!!)
    No they don't. They want the ability to use an API like Capita use to access the data directly - without rules and regulations being foisted upon them. They want standards to be formed and adhered to. (Although, there was a legitimate issue with one standard that is currently being worked on, which giving Capita their due, they brought to attention).

  4. #19
    mpe
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    Quote Originally Posted by GREED View Post
    However often the product that you receive suffers as a result of being forced to accomodate other software, particually with integration.
    If the product is a monopoly then having that kind of thing happen is probably in the interests of the supplier.

  5. #20

    GREED's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    No they don't. They want the ability to use an API like Capita use to access the data directly - without rules and regulations being foisted upon them. They want standards to be formed and adhered to. (Although, there was a legitimate issue with one standard that is currently being worked on, which giving Capita their due, they brought to attention).
    But until those standards are made up and agreed to by all parties (most likely forcefully) then there can't be anything done, and then surely this is then down to the government or some other body. Which then brings up the next problem in that companies like this are international/multinational and so there has to be global standards setup... ok ok I know there is more to it than that but that is the jist!


    Interestingly going back to the content of the artical... this was brough up by competitors to Capita, not 3rd parties as such. They don't want to access the data, because they have their own thing going on. 3rd parties, generally if they work with Capita can work on getting access along the way (I don't know that but assume). Going back to your comment above, because the data IS in a 'standard' such as SQL, and this goes back to moving to a competitor, then the competitors can develop ways to access and migrate the data out of SQl into whatever format they use.

    Capita do it the other way...

    I do take your point though about market shares and monopoly rules being different.

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    What irritates me most of all about SIMS is because of it's dominance it forces schools to run Windows if they want to use it. Linux, Mac don't get a look in.

  7. #22

    GREED's Avatar
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    That is true.

    Although am 100% convinced they will go down the 'cloud' route soon and so it will work regardless of operating system or browser or software etc.

    Nind you, does SQL server work on other operating systems? If not then this bring back previous comments about monopoly... but this time Capita is the victim (as it uses SQL not builds it).

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    Quote Originally Posted by GREED View Post
    That is true.

    Although am 100% convinced they will go down the 'cloud' route soon and so it will work regardless of operating system or browser or software etc.

    Nind you, does SQL server work on other operating systems? If not then this bring back previous comments about monopoly... but this time Capita is the victim (as it uses SQL not builds it).
    Microsoft SQL server is unsurpringly Windows only. I'd hardly say Capita are much of a victim as there are many credible alternatives to MS SQL, most of which run on many different platforms.

    They seem to be slowly moving some parts of SIMS to web based. Learning Gateway being one thing. The full functionality of SIMS via the browser is a long way off judging by comments on here from Capita. Learning Gateway carries some pretty hefty hosting fees from what I remember from a presentation I've had on it. Most schools have just gone with installing the full Sims client on their curriculum teacher's laptops.

  9. #24
    SteveB's Avatar
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    It would help if pricing from capita had some structure. It sometimes seems made up on the spot. Take for instance the difference between a Secondary and a Middle school taking up Lesson Monitor:around 3750 for the Licence and 1650 for the annual Maintenance. . . .

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    I expect these extreme prices go down a bit!

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    I don't. I expect them to stay pretty much put, or continue to rise. Clearly the case here is that Bromcom can't get a look in and they're getting a little upset about it. Fair enough, business is business.

    Plus, how much credability can you give a news article which finishes, amusingly:

    "Education software is used by half a million staff in 22,000 schools."

    Really?

    There's always going to be pros and cons when developing and marketing software like an MIS - compatibility between OS's is always a big one and would certainly drive up the costs. Yeah, it may well be great on an open source OS but then you need to hire the expertise to develop for them, to support them. That's even more cost when everyone wants it to come down - another cost that would merely increase.

  12. #27

    GREED's Avatar
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    I bet, or rather know for a fact, that the percentage of software that works on all OSs, or even more that one OS is tiny compared to that that only works on Windows. Despite all the will in the world Windows is the market leader for OSs and so companies are going to put all their efforts into developing systems for just that.

  13. #28
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    Look what is on SupportNet, posted by Phil Neal:-

    Allegations made in the press by Bromcom

    Please find below the statement that Capita issued to the press in response to journalist’s enquires about a press statement issued by Bromcom.
    Capita Children's Services has already, through its solicitors, robustly rebutted the unfounded allegations made by Bromcom. We have served the education market for a number of years and grown our business through supplying innovative products to meet the changing needs of the market, maintaining good client relationships and working successfully with other suppliers.
    Last edited by Sivadam; 10th December 2009 at 12:12 PM.

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    A good reason for a standard MIS system country wide - there would be no smaller companies to have a hissy-fit and throw toys out of their pram just because they have an inferior product
    Last edited by Oops_my_bad; 10th December 2009 at 10:59 PM.

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    Inferior product

    That is not entirely fair, unless of course you back up your assertion of inferior product by explanation. I have nothing to do with Bromcom by the way.

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