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MIS Systems Thread, Do you LOVE your current school software? in Technical; Originally Posted by GrumbleDook And please don't start moaning about having to do updates and patches and so on. Because ...
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    oxide54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    And please don't start moaning about having to do updates and patches and so on. Because no other software needs these? And this is looking at it from a support point of view not a usability and functionality point ... and that is the weakest arguement in the world.
    no other software we use requires updating at the frequency that SIMS does.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GNewnham View Post
    All the iSAMS updates happen automatically at night (several times a month). We dont have to do anything at all - just read the release material and see what new features we wish to explore.
    Our LA gets exactly the same from Integris G2, the updates are done overnight and cover every school
    Support costs are massively reduced for schools and LA - no need for MIS servers in schools or school based MIS technicians - RM deal with all aspects of the hardware and software, and a very small LA team deal with training and support issues - it saves the LA and schools tens of thousands every year
    The burden of managing the MIS in the school is no longer there - The LA no longer have to have a separate central database, as they can access the G2 system 'live'

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    AyatollahPies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oxide54 View Post
    no other software we use requires updating at the frequency that SIMS does.
    Do you not run Windows?

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    GREED's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AyatollahPies View Post
    Do you not run Windows?
    Second that!

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Entrepreneur View Post
    I am trying to discover which elements of school software are really failing and whether there is space for a new entrant?
    Presentation software, as used with interactive whiteboards. I reckon, with the current interest in tablet computers, there's an opening to provide software to link tablets and large-screen displays.

    --
    David Hicks

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    Quote Originally Posted by AyatollahPies View Post
    Do you not run Windows?
    Blast you beat me to that and shouldn't SOLUS3 make it easier to auto update with minimal disruption. Besides 3 times a year is not that much of an inconvienience surely?

    I would be tempted to say that no MIS is "perfect". The key is to find one that you are most comfortable with and go with it. There are bits of sims that I really like, large areas that we are underusing and I would love to learn more about it. Does that mean I am unhappy with it? No. Part of the problem now for schools is that the integration oF the MIS system into school life (if done well) is so great that any change is such a culture shock to the school that it needs to be seriously considered. I certainly would be opposed to any change to our current MIS without exceptional justification. I would certainly expect any school thinking of changing to be seriously asking "what benefits to I gain by changing" and "do those benefits outweigh the financial costs and culture shock of changing MIS"

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    oxide54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart_C View Post
    Blast you beat me to that and shouldn't SOLUS3 make it easier to auto update with minimal disruption. Besides 3 times a year is not that much of an inconvienience surely?
    The last SIMS update required, everyone to be logged out of SIMS, full backup of database to taken. Client workstations updated, (and don't tell me this is automatic.) SIMS workstations updates relies on giving users write permissions to areas of the workstation they shouldn't have. Windows Updates (WSUS) performs these updates in the background independant of the users permissions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sivadam View Post
    That does not mean that their opinion was a fact!
    No but it means their opinion holds a lot more weight than one MIS user, since it was the result of copious time, money and research. Whether that time and money was well spent is an entirely different issue (I read last report was £150k or so?).

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    And it's not the frequency of backups that's really the issue. If they happen overnight, unobtrusively, and it's improving things, what's the problem?

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    oxide54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    And please don't start moaning about having to do updates and patches and so on. Because no other software needs these? And this is looking at it from a support point of view not a usability and functionality point ... and that is the weakest arguement in the world.
    This is not the weakest argument in the world. If you have to take system offline to update it, it affects its usability and functionality quite a lot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oxide54 View Post
    This is not the weakest argument in the world. If you have to take system offline to update it, it affects its usability and functionality quite a lot.
    I notice you didn't respond to comments from others about windows?

    If you would like MIS to be available during updates through multiple, redundant systems I am sure that the providers can build that for you ... at a cost. Now, how many schools are likely to want that cost when there is the simple option of planning things better?

    I refer you to RFC1925, in particular, truth 7a
    (7a) (corollary). Good, Fast, Cheap: Pick any two (you can't have all three).
    And yes, I stand by the statement that arguing that something is rubbish just because it needs updates is the weakest argument in the world (ie the weakest argument which could be used within this discussion ... there are plenty of other weakest arguments ... Mr Blair "But that nice Mr George said there were nasty missiles in Iraq!" springs to mind ... and I am sure we can all pick hairs from that too.)

    So ... do I expect software updates in any MIS? Yes ...
    Do I expect them at regular intervals as part of a regime to do improvements in functionality? Yes ...
    Do I expect to be able to find out about the improvements prior to them being released? Yes ...
    Do I expect the same of any application package or OS? Yes ...
    Do I expect downtime when doing any upgrade work or patching on *any* software? Yes ...
    Do I think that it should be well planned by those doing the change to have minimal impact on users? Yes ... (I hate the think of the number of times I have gone on about change management on the forum, my blog, twitter, county meetings, etc)
    Do I understand that this applies to Sharepoint, Moodle, Joomla, Wordpress, SIMS, CMIS, PARS, Mac OS, Windows? Hell yes ...

    So ... do you want to continue sniping about minor technical stuff or actually talk about the important stuff the MIS is used for ... managing data?

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    Quote Originally Posted by oxide54 View Post
    The last SIMS update required, everyone to be logged out of SIMS, full backup of database to taken. Client workstations updated, (and don't tell me this is automatic.) SIMS workstations updates relies on giving users write permissions to areas of the workstation they shouldn't have. Windows Updates (WSUS) performs these updates in the background independant of the users permissions.
    Hmm ... taking a full backup of the last complete dataset before doing an upgrade? Can't see an issue with that. I take a backup of my Moodle DBs before doing anything on them (thankfully) and if people have used it during the day then I will need to take a backup and not relay on the one from last night.

    SIMS is not written by MS so I don't expect them to be 100% WSUS like ... but I take the same stance with Autocad, or Adobe Premier Elements ... it needs other stuff to help get things out.

    I can think of a number of applications that need bizarre permissions on files, some for good reasons, others for no reason other than the laziness of coders (or the restrictions put on them by the companies they work for).

    Do I think many vendors could continue to make improvements? Too right ... but again, we are back to minor technical stuff that can mainly be worked around by the use of the right tools and some decent planning.

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    The last notable SIMS update was a necessary special case re. the end of MS life-cycle for SQL2005, surely?

    refer you to RFC1925
    Which is of course one of the 1st April (variable strength) joke series, but sticking with it.. when folk have the antithesis of Cheap they tend to expect Good & Fast... and thus don't normally expect to have to work around things.

    --

    It's just MIS, they're all Much-Of-A-Muchness[tm] and I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for future paradigm shifts in what it does in user-land, less so any that makes much of a difference to educational outcomes. It might run out there instead of here, or have new ways of noting, counting, arranging and displaying beans on gadgets de jour, and one day it might even learn to speak a standard language, but I think all that is relatively yawnsome and quite teensy next to the BECTA point: It apparently costs the country, the tax-payer - most of whom are getting poorer (and poorer state services) by the day, a lot more money than one would reasonably expect.

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    Paradox

    It was interesting that Becta were looking at value for money from MIS and encouraging open source MIS/LP’s. Where as the DfE were responsible for most of the changes and development work required by suppliers to meet constant changes to the Census, thus making it harder and more expensive for suppliers.

    How much is the change in DfE code going to cost to suppliers? (then past on to schools) and to LA’s who have their own systems built around the old codes.

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    I really don't understand why the spec for the census changes every time. One suspects that it's either incompetence at DfE or some shiny-hatted civil servant justifying his job. Both are equally likely in my book.

    Getting back to the original topic: we used CMIS at my school and we teachers loved it in the same way we loved visiting the dentist - a painful necessity! We loved the way it would mysteriously not save the info we'd entered, despite clicking 'submit'. Oh how we laughed when the deputy told us at staff briefing that all (yes ALL) of the end of term reports that everyone had done on CMIS had 'disappeared' - and could we all please do them again? What a lark! Since I've left the school, they have moved over to SIMS; apparently the staff love that just as much!!
    Last edited by vikpaw; 4th January 2011 at 11:37 AM. Reason: Language - else it will be blocked by some filters.

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