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MIS Systems Thread, Question for MIS data managers / MIS herders (i.e not Techs lumbered with job) in Technical; How broken does SIMS have to be before you go and ask your IT guy for help? Say SQL is ...
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    Question for MIS data managers / MIS herders (i.e not Techs lumbered with job)

    How broken does SIMS have to be before you go and ask your IT guy for help?

    Say SQL is fine, the underlying OS is fine, there's no problem between your client machines and the server and you have known good backups.

    But SIMS is horribly, horribly broken in a data-related manner and you could fix it if you opened a case, browsed the forums and/or read the manual.

    How far are you expected to go / do you go in attempting to fix it before declaring defeat / asking for help?

    (I'm generally interested in how much of a swiss army knife a MIS data person is expected to be).

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    If the data is broken you raise a case and if necessary send the data to us. As long as the data has been input by SIMS or a partner product we will do our best to rectify things although on occassions we may need you to go to a backup.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal View Post
    If the data is broken you raise a case and if necessary send the data to us. As long as the data has been input by SIMS or a partner product we will do our best to rectify things although on occassions we may need you to go to a backup.
    I meant something along the lines of a "broken for Census" POV Phil. Say one of: "someone's done something daft like exporting the wrong way to/from Nova"/ the data's there and ok, but it needs an available patch / someone needs to determine which records have spurious info that's causing the other thing to fail.

    Often the cause of the fail (.ctf-related) is non-obvious, but is easily fixed in-house once it becomes apparent. Sending the data to Capita for something simple like that isn't an acceptable solution (bearing in mind time-to-upload / amount of retries needed, unless you've changed the hardware?).

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    I think you answered your own question. Check basic connectivity and comms and then search for help.
    It would help if you could cite a specific example.

    I have IT background on the networking etc. side so often get more involved than I should or the last incumbent did. e.g. i'm looking at what part of the roaming profile is preventing users from running a report on Windows 7 / Office 2010. I go and map the S: drive from command line when it's not working for users, but that's over and above.

    Generally though, the issues are for IT, but either user error or something peculiarity that needs help from SupportNet or here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pete View Post
    Often the cause of the fail (.ctf-related) is non-obvious, but is easily fixed in-house once it becomes apparent. Sending the data to Capita for something simple like that isn't an acceptable solution (bearing in mind time-to-upload / amount of retries needed, unless you've changed the hardware?).
    I see, well FTPing data is a 'mare for me. Even if i super compress to .rar and split into 10 files. I even had problems flying it over to the UK to send from there, but that was a one off.

    I try to go all out to investigate issues in house where possible, as usually as you say it is user error or a process incorrectly followed. It takes up a lot of time, and so too can the fix!

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    Data manager relies very heavily on me even though he knows the Sims side of things inside out he stumbles sometimes. I in turn have to manage upgrades movement of data etc etc our paths do cross but it is usually something from a data input side of things which I then have to root out.

    Only once did I have to send our database to Capita via our LA when the data manager promoted the timetable in the wrong way and we ended up with a few crossed wires. He has not done anything else wrong after that but other key members of staff have (too many cooks spoil the broth and all that) but as a whole we have very few issues with Sims (touch wood @webmans head hehe!!).

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    you mean there's no dataman??? or SIMSman?

  8. Thanks to vikpaw from:

    bossman (5th October 2010)

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    If there are issues here with SIMS then it's me who sorts it. We don't have many issues that are due to data problems as I ensure that staff 'do the right thing'! It is my opinion that every school should have a MIS guru, who can oversee every procedure within the MIS. In my humble opinion, the lack of somebody with an overall and detailed working knowledge of all aspects is extremely dangerous because of the interdependence of all areas of any MIS!

    My colleague is the Technical guru and he is involved only when there is a technical/network issue - currently SOLUS3b Field Trial.
    Last edited by Sivadam; 5th October 2010 at 11:27 PM.

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    I totally agree with Sivadam. Most of my experience is on CMIS where the same problems exist. Following retiring as a teacher I was asked to do that role at a nearby school as no-one there had had the experience. When that ended I had a phone call from an ex colleague who had a similar problem on SIMS.net. Schools often don't realise the need for someone trained in the whole setup, or don't do it because of the cost. Although these forums are great, and often the phone hotline support is good, there is no substitute for someone who knows their way around the whole setup. What price data?

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    Sivadam (5th October 2010)

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    Additionally you are in an ideal situation to work with the MIS provider in helping to test and improve the software.
    This in turn helps you become even more proficient in using the software!
    It also enables one to, hopefully, help and enlighten a few others that may not be so well informed.
    Last edited by Sivadam; 5th October 2010 at 11:15 PM.

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    Oh for the luxury of an IT guy (or even an IT gal!).

    Here, if I can't fix it myself (and I do have a girl's toolkit in my desk drawer - hammer, screwdrivers, pliers etc) I'm at the mercy of the Capita helpdesk - for whom I have the greatest respect and admiration. I have no technical expertise whatsoever, but still manage to do upgrades, patches and general troubleshooting and training for my colleagues myself. No one 'fiddles' with our system but Capita themselves. It doesn't break (unless I do something silly) and I have never had to send my data anywhere! Luckily, over the twenty (!) years that I have been using SIMS, I have managed to pick up a wealth of knowledge on many of the modules and it rarely beats me!


    I should also say hello to all as this is only my second post though I have lurked for a while now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeeHubb View Post
    Oh for the luxury of an IT guy (or even an IT gal!).

    Here, if I can't fix it myself (and I do have a girl's toolkit in my desk drawer - hammer, screwdrivers, pliers etc) ........
    Is the toolkit like my daughter's - Pink handles etc? She can wield the tools quite well though!

    And wellcome GeeHub!

  15. Thanks to Sivadam from:

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