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MIS Systems Thread, Opting out of LEA Sims Support in Technical; Hi Not strictly a technical question so if this is in the wrong place I apologise. We currently get our ...
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    philjones2000's Avatar
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    Opting out of LEA Sims Support

    Hi

    Not strictly a technical question so if this is in the wrong place I apologise.

    We currently get our sims upgrades etc. tested and released to us by County support (Cornwall).

    I have been asked to investigate whether it's feasible to opt out of the county suport and get this from capita direct.

    Has anybody been down this route? Is it possible? Is it wise?

    I don't know why they want to do this btw...

    Thanks

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    Tyiell's Avatar
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    Perfectly feasible - we run as a single site. This change was done before I joined the school so I can't tell you what the swap over was like, but the advantages of being single site are that you can talk direct to capita support, you get access to their SupportNet webpages and forums (an invaluable that was not available to us under the lea rule!). Plus you have control over when your updates are rolled out - avoiding the problems with re-releases and failed updates...

    You may find that certain suites have to be bought again though - we recently discovered that we had been using Profiles 7 without paying for it for years - they even gave us updates for it - because it had been installed under the LEA packages and never removed when we left. Only when we wanted support on it did they ever actually pick up on it!

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    philjones2000 (18th May 2010)

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    Sivadam's Avatar
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    Mainly as a result of my instigation we went down this route a couple of years ago. You really do need to have somebody in the school who has an extensive knowledge of all areas of SIMS before you contemplate doing this.
    I have no regrets in moving to direct Capita Support and cannot compliment them high enough in terms of the service that we get. It does help that we are now designated as a SIMS Partnership School - something that we achieved last year.
    As for SupportNet - you may well recognise me if you do use the facility!
    Last edited by Sivadam; 18th May 2010 at 12:06 PM.

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    philjones2000 (18th May 2010)

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    I have also been thinking of doing this. Our LEA charge massive amounts for support thats only used a few times each year.

    How is capita support provided. Forum, phone or remote?

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    Sivadam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edutech4schools View Post
    How is capita support provided. Forum, phone or remote?
    All three!
    I normally log issues directly on to the website. That way I can record exactly what information I want to get through - and any workrounds that I have sorted out for myself.

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    Tyiell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sivadam View Post
    All three!
    I normally log issues directly on to the website. That way I can record exactly what information I want to get through - and any workrounds that I have sorted out for myself.
    Same here. And they will either email a response if it's a quick fix, or phone back very quickly with more help and information, and remote control if necessary. They even helped me fix a Firewall problem that was completely unrelated to Sims not long ago - just becasue I suspected it was to do with our SLG install (it wasn't!!). Capita support is excellent - better than the actual product, which I have mixed feelings about!!

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    Sivadam's Avatar
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    I agree with everything that Tyiell says - with one exception.

    I think the product is Excellent!

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    philjones2000's Avatar
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    Unfortunately this looks dead! Capita came back with a price that was a good £2-3k more than we pay county!

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    Sivadam's Avatar
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    That surprises me!
    Are you sure it is a like-for-like quote?
    Are all Modules quoted for by both the LA and by Capita?
    If you have got it that much cheaper from the LA then you have a bargain!

    Also - have you been quoted for different levels of Support?
    This may make a difference!
    It is also the reason I put my caveat into the first post re having an 'expert' in the school! You can then go for the cheapest support option!
    Last edited by Sivadam; 18th May 2010 at 02:36 PM.

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    creese's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by philjones2000 View Post
    Unfortunately this looks dead! Capita came back with a price that was a good £2-3k more than we pay county!
    That's what I would have expected.

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    I have not seen our LA quote for this year yet - but it would not surprise me if it was more than we are paying for Capita Support.
    If it is less then I don't think the difference will be significant.

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    Tyiell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sivadam View Post
    I have not seen our LA quote for this year yet - but it would not surprise me if it was more than we are paying for Capita Support.
    If it is less then I don't think the difference will be significant.
    Agreed, ours is cheaper every year - or was until the SLG came into play, and even then there was hardly any difference. If you talk to Capita directly they normally cut 10% or so off - particularly on big orders. We managed a 15% cut when we bought LM and SLG together...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyiell View Post
    Capita support is excellent - better than the actual product, which I have mixed feelings about!!
    I've always found that it's a bit of a mixed bag really, it depends entirely on who you get dealing with your issue. For example, I logged two Census cases recently... the first one was query in regard to the Summer census which was pretty much a yes or no answer to which I received a completely irrelevant solution in regard to the Spring census, however, upon logging the case again someone else picked it up and simply told me "yes, that's how it works" (which is what I thought, just needed to confirm the functionality).

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    We moved from LA to being a SIMS Direct Site about 2 years ago, we saved at the time about £5k. This year the LA have dropped their prices but still slightly more expensive.

    It is also justified in that time to fix issues is usually reduced, plus as you build confidence you find yourself searching for solutions and fixing issues without having to log a call with Capita.

    When you spoke to Capita did you tell them you wanted to transfer from LA to Single Site?

    The support offered by capita is the same support that is given to the LA unit, but you cut out the middle man and get the support quicker. Sometimes issues were not resolved for days as there are only 4 SIMS techs at our LA covering over 100 schools! The LA wanted to control the upgrades which again took ages, so I used to do them myself. They provide web, telephone and remote support via the LanDesk utility.

    Transfer was fairly simple and done in a couple of days.

    You also get invited to the yearly SIMS Direct conference where they have developers talking about the product and where it is going.

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    philjones2000 (19th May 2010)

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    At my last school we considered switching, and it was more costly than the LEA - later to be privatised (and bought out by Capita) support. I guess it was still heavily subsidised.

    The thing to consider was the cost of calling Capita out for a worst case scenario, the cost was massive compared to getting a guy from the local team down. Even though they were slow and not much cop (basically acting as middle men for most advanced cases).

    Your experience with support will depend on your skillset and that of your users, as to how worthwhile it is.

    Now i'm at an international school, and direct with SIMS. There is a dedicated team for independent schools but i bet it's the same you can get. The support is fantastic. We log everything online, and call if need be. A couple of stars (Zoe) are also very helpful, emailing and working at weekends, which is great as we only have 12 hours per week overlap due to timezones!

    We occasionally have to send our data in, which is a royal PITA as our internet is slow, but on the whole, i wouldn't complain.

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    philjones2000 (19th May 2010)

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