MIS Systems Thread, iSams or Engage? in Technical; Hi All
Our current school database is an access 2000 system, which we are looking to replace. I have looked ...
23rd June 2010, 04:42 PM #1
iSams or Engage?
Our current school database is an access 2000 system, which we are looking to replace. I have looked at five of the possible systems out there and decided to get isams and engage in for demos to the staff.
This was all well and good but the HM and myself like iSams and the staff like Engage. I have not had any experience of either of these systems. i have only managed Cmis and SIMS which I know would not be suitable for our small (200 pupils) prep school.
Does anyone have any strong thoughts on either of these systems?
Does anyone have any expereince of support for Engage, are they good?
Thanks for any advice
26th June 2010, 07:56 AM #2
No experience of either i'm afraid. I think iSams is quite new on the market isn't it.
Which is the fifth system you have looked at?
There have recently been quite a few new MIS products on the market, some even open source, totally web based etc.
If you are open to being contacted i'm sure when they see your post, they would get in touch, if that's okay with you...?
They wouldn't be allowed to post here if they aren't sponsors, so make keep away, unless you are open to other suggestions.
Thanks to vikpaw from:
sidneyVW (28th June 2010)
26th June 2010, 03:03 PM #3
engage support is awful, patronising and if they're not ever seen the problem before and cant diagnose the problem from a sheet then its obviously your fault.
Thanks to strawberry from:
sidneyVW (28th June 2010)
28th June 2010, 09:21 AM #4
Thanks for the responses,
I looked at WBCS Pass, SIMS, iSAMS, Engage and Bromcom, I have seen the Opensource systems but as a one man band looking to hand the system over to someone else I thought an off the shelf system would be better in terms of getting support.
I had heard that Engage Support was a bit poor at times, although the Sales rep was very keen to sell the fact that they have revamped thier support system?
28th June 2010, 09:37 AM #5
I don't really know that much about these other MIS applications, however a particular school who used to give me a headache on an almost daily basis recently moved over to iSAMS.
They knew exactly what they wanted and were often frustrated that the software simply didn't work and that any issues reported took years to fix - this was where my headache came in, trying to explain a complex and specific issue to someone half the world away whose English and probably coding skills too aren't that great was a nightmare. It must have been a big decision for them to move over and someone there at iSAMS must have really impressed them with the software.
Still, what I'm saying is as many people here haven't really used any of these other MIS and I'm sure all of these companies have case studies where they quote the names of the schools, they might even have a list of customers. If I were you I'd google these schools and give them a ring and enquire nicely if they'd like to discuss the general usage of their MIS with you - I'm not sure if anyone would be willing to talk about it but if they did then at least you'd get the truth as the customers (unlike sales reps) generally won't lie about the product.
28th June 2010, 09:41 AM #6
i second that notion. i get infrequent phone calls from people, more when i was in the UK, and am always happy to talk to counterparts at other schools.
Originally Posted by Sarconia
28th June 2010, 09:45 AM #7
The creators of the open source systems are actually selling their services in terms of support. You may find it cheap, and for a new company they would be rather responsive and open to change requests / customisations. Nonetheless i understand why you might be wary.
Originally Posted by sidneyVW
I've always been a big fan of Bromcom, not sure of the cost - especially for such a small school, though it was always pretty cheap, especially the annual maintenance.
28th June 2010, 09:54 AM #8
We think alike
Originally Posted by vikpaw
I'm not affiliated in any way to them but I thought the demo of MyChildAtSchool was great, everything was clear, concise and colour coded - which is a must when you're dealing with parents half of whom probably struggle to use a PC.
28th June 2010, 10:39 AM #9
I did like the Bromcom system the only problem I had is the MyChildAtSchool parent portal was a hosted system using webservices to get the data from our database. I was not worried about the sercurity of this as I have written webservices myself. But our broadband at the school is very flaky as we are right out in the sticks and it is almost as much use as two paper cups and a bit of string.
I have been in touch with a few schools that use iSAMS and they all seem very happy. The School I used to work for has just changed from CMIS to iSams and they are very happy with it althought they are four times the size of my current school .
I have been battling with this since october of last year, I have had many demos from the reps and done a lot of research into the companies and the systems, read all the case studies and contacted schools.
the problem I have is the head wants a MIS functional by September with go live after christmas but no one in the school is particual keen on this whole idea of change (teachers ehh!). They all say "Well you know what we need" which is not true I am the network manager I don't have the first clue about the DOS job or school administration, so I thought I would ask the question here to see if I had missed anything and make sure I had dotted all the I's and crossed all the T's
thanks for the responses
28th June 2010, 10:42 AM #10
We went live with iSAMS in September 2009. We are an independent school comprised of pre-prep, prep and senior sections. We have implemented most of the available modules during this last year, with some forthcoming attractions of fees and billing and our new intranet which is currently under development by iSAMS. If you would like to PM me, I would be happy to discuss further.
28th June 2010, 11:45 AM #11
@simon - can't you run MCAS yourself. i'm supposed to be doing it from here as a test, but just haven't got round to putting up a test server due to being extremely busy. [sorry any bromcom guys reading this]
@sarconia - i love teacherswebfolder, but again, need to test, and make sure it works with out sat - wed week etc. etc. the design element has always been awesome, especially since platform 3 came out a few years back. really user friendly for staff in school too.
28th June 2010, 01:01 PM #12
Hmm, now that you've mentioned it, I can't remember whether or not we went to a website to access the demo of MCAS or set it up on our own server here... gah, my memory fails me.
28th June 2010, 02:22 PM #13
Vik - am 99% certain you can only have it hosted by them as sidney says, irrespective of whether you are having it hook back in to their platform or SIMS at your site. If you discover otherwise I'd love to hear, although its a mute point since we don't have any money to spend on it this year :-(
Originally Posted by vikpaw
Last edited by vikpaw; 29th June 2010 at 10:50 AM.
Reason: fix quote
28th June 2010, 03:18 PM #14
The parent portal the Bromcom rep showed me was completely hosted, it used webservices to get the data out of the database on site at the school, so if our internet went down the system would still be online but would not get any data from our database. which is the same if we host the parent portal from here at school but at least the whole shotting match will be off rather than just the data. Which to my mind is easier to manage than the parent logging into the system only to find little jimmy is not shown then phoning me.
29th June 2010, 10:49 AM #15
Originally Posted by sidneyVW
Don't quote me on it, as we're a test case, and being so far from the UK it makes sense to self-host, however, it's worth asking the question if you can do it. but you gotta back it up with the sponda if they say yes, sign here...
Originally Posted by resin1
Last edited by vikpaw; 29th June 2010 at 10:51 AM.
Reason: fix quoted quote
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