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MIS Systems Thread, School MIS Systems in Technical; Originally Posted by danIT Do you really think it would make great business sense for MIS suppliers to give you ...
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    Quote Originally Posted by danIT View Post
    Do you really think it would make great business sense for MIS suppliers to give you "open access" to all your data?
    Absolutely - turning raw data into information and then into Business Intelligence is the way to go. A valuable reporting database will be key tool to provide that 'edge'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MShakeshaft View Post
    Fantastic.....

    I am already on this path but and have fully automated some reports - for example KS3 and KS4 reporting with view to incorporating the Analysis, Distribution, Target Setting, Self Evaluation and Examination results.

    I am also working on building larger datasets and record complexes to contain all the data I will ever need - similar to a data warehouse with derived fields for quicker reporting and identification of interest groups.

    Have also created a dashboard with dials and bar charts to monitor school attendance.

    I want to go further and create by own data capture forms with protected fields so that FFT data is not overwritten (like on our recent Target Setting day).
    There you go then, like the rest of us you're finding ways to meet your needs, unless you are developing a system from scratch, that's the best you can do, and it's not that bad is it really?

    I think there are a number of reasons (all covered by various topics I trawled through in my first few weeks in the job on these very forums) that we don't get open access to the data, mainly:

    - Some of these systems have been growing and evolving for so long now, the structure of the database is an absolute labyrinth!

    - This 'labyrinth' structure also (whether intentionally or not) serves a purpose: any fool with an internet connection can get in to an SQL database given enough time, but if they can't find any meaningful data once they're in it, what's the point? (I'm talking hackers and people with enough knowledge to access but not enough to realize the potential damage they could do, not the likes of us with genuine reason to look at the database)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MShakeshaft View Post
    Absolutely - turning raw data into information and then into Business Intelligence is the way to go. A valuable reporting database will be key tool to provide that 'edge'.
    <ot> powdarrmonkey has seen marketing material with less emphasis and buzzwords... </ot>

    Anyway, back on the topic: I'm with MShakeshaft on the business sense. If I were offered a choice of SIMS and Facility (which are fairly evenly matched), and one came with a freely-accessible and well documented API, I'd pick it straight away. Then I could enhance it without groping around in the dark. That's business sense.
    Last edited by powdarrmonkey; 11th January 2010 at 04:32 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by powdarrmonkey View Post
    Anyway, back on the topic: I'm with MShakeshaft on the business sense. If I were offered a choice of SIMS and Facility (which are fairly evenly matched), and one came with a freely-accessible and well documented API, I'd pick it straight away. Then I could enhance it without groping around in the dark. That's business sense.
    This option is available in SIMS in the form of SIMS Business Objects, and also requires (what I imagine to be a very pricey) development partners license to acquire.

    Business sense

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshJohnson View Post
    This option is available in SIMS in the form of SIMS Business Objects, and also requires (what I imagine to be a very pricey) development partners license to acquire.

    Business sense
    Or lack of, because I haven't bought it yet. I would, however, be persuaded to buy a MIS on the strength of it having an API, which is business sense.

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    That depends how you look at it: make the API free to users when the competition isn't doing and hope some authorities change the MIS for their schools (is that really likely?), or charge a huge sum of money for it knowing that software & hardware vendors will pay the fee to be able to make products aimed at schools using your MIS (surely that's much more likely given the number of schools in the country and the relatively low number of MIS used by those schools)
    Last edited by LosOjos; 11th January 2010 at 04:50 PM. Reason: bad grammar

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    Or allow your user community to build a whole ecosystem of extra applications that enhance the value of your MIS and encourage new users to buy it on that strength.

    The whole basis for companies that release source under open licenses is to do exactly this - for example, a hardware manufacturer that releases source for firmware. When the community contributes features, they get a better product and you get more attractive hardware. This is a similar opportunity, it's just a shame that none of the major players are taking it.

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    That's because the major players already have the vast majority of the market covered, I haven't researched this so I could be wrong, but how many new customers do they get each year these days? It can't be that many, it's not like they're throwing up new schools left right and center.

    And just to play devils advocate, the other side to the community having free roam to make what they like is you end up with a lot of (potentially damaging) crap too and a much higher strain on the support teams.

    Anyway, I'm saying no more on this as there are two sides to every argument and we could go on like this all day...

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshJohnson View Post
    This option is available in SIMS in the form of SIMS Business Objects, and also requires (what I imagine to be a very pricey) development partners license to acquire.

    Business sense
    Josh what did your local SMIS team say when you requested the business object documentation ?

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    They actually didn't know what I was talking about! But I found more out about them here (including the fact you have to pay a licence fee to use them). I also discovered the commandreporter tool and that has proved to be very useful

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    A very expensive one at that.

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    Just to throw a spark into the fireworks factory, openness of data is pretty much what SIF is all about. SIF could open the door to the ecosystem of applications you suggest, and the security of the data relies only on the additional app's adherence to the SIF data model and the main MIS system's agent quality for importing that data back in. It would mean that any additional app that comes onto the market could interoperate with any of the major MIS systems that offer a SIF agent, and no fiddling about with several different APIs would be required.

    Welcome to the Systems Interoperability Framework (SIF) Association UK

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshJohnson View Post
    They actually didn't know what I was talking about! But I found more out about them here (including the fact you have to pay a licence fee to use them). I also discovered the commandreporter tool and that has proved to be very useful
    Josh if it's for development for your school then there don't appear to be any fees. if you want to develop something for distribution to other schools then you may well need to invest in a developers license. I thinks it's two grand per annum.

  14. 2 Thanks to Tonyoung:

    fawkers (13th January 2010), LosOjos (12th January 2010)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonyoung View Post
    Josh if it's for development for your school then there don't appear to be any fees. if you want to develop something for distribution to other schools then you may well need to invest in a developers license. I thinks it's two grand per annum.
    Thanks for that, didn't know about that rule...

    For now I'm making do with SIMS' ability to export XML files to any apps I write, but that's definitly worth knowing, thanks again

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    It is fine having an elaborate fully functioning MIS but the real problem I encounter is making the system accessible to staff so that they can easily input data in assessment for learning environment and then use the suitably collated information for analysis of pupil perfomance dialogues. Otherwise the MIS becomes just a housekeeping tool for pupil details.
    Both Sims and Integris are capable of this - but have the staff the capacity and skills to really exploit the tools they are given?

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