Chatted to the Serco people on the stand at BETT, lets say I was less than impressed, two static pages, and that was it, and apparently it will be based on the the same database as the current one, and anyone who has prodded the old database knows that it was probably designed by crack monkeys.
They claimed to have one hundred developers working it, so that sounds like none of them has ever read Fred Brooks, The Mythical Man month.
So in reality, I reckon it's just a new version of eportal that has been expanded, and they are throwing out the C++ front end.
Tricky_Dicky (17th January 2011)
I also get the worries about "Ooh, what happens if our internet goes down?" Well, what happens if your server fails, if your comms room catches fire/floods etc, etc? No system is 100% reliable and web is not less reliable than anything else. To be fair, schools that get their connection via the LA or GfL often have exceptionally poor service, so that is a legitimate concern.
I also get the worries about data security, how secure is the data? Well, it's a hell of lot more secure that it was when you kept in a filing cabinet in the main office! This from people who regularly use internet banking, PayPal, Amazon etc on a daily basis without giving security a second thought.
I would be quite happy to have my kid's data on Progresso, it's probably safer there than in school, lol!
Last edited by EdWhittaker; 17th January 2011 at 04:04 PM. Reason: typo
So unless I keep paper based records up to date as well as the remote server, there is a good chance I will have to send students home as soon as my internet connection goes down. Whereas currently in a pinch I can run CMIS from a laptop if I want to.
And my LAN is always going to be more stable than a load of random hops over the internet. And if you think the the web is not less reliable than anything else, I think it's time for you to re-take your fundamental networking classes again.
I am the Head of Product at Serco Learning and would like to correct some of the inaccuracies in this thread and address some of the other valid issues raised.
Progresso has a completely new database structure and has been designed from the ground up, with none of the legacy Facility system or architecture. We have been working with a large number of customers and will be able to resolve a number of outstanding issues that schools face and introduce significant new functionality. Focus has been given to the user experience and utilising the rapid developments in technology to provide a powerful yet intuitive system.
Progresso will incorporate market leading reporting tools that allow all users to access the information within the system through a web interface.
In terms of hosting, we will in the first release be offering a fully hosted version with all the benefits that this will bring. It is disappointing to read about some of your experiences with internet availability and I would like to hear how you manage to maintain access to the invaluable internet research tools that learners require in this technology age.
We have engineered Progresso to enable us to provide an in school deployment, but believe that over time more and more schools will opt for a hosted managed service and all the benefits that this brings, including data security.
We will be releasing a fully functional API to enable the developer community to create apps to provide added value. This will enable the development of an app, such as Emerge (from Groupcall) that has been requested in this thread.
Finally, we do have more than 100 engineers working on the project and are conversant with the Mythical Man Month. This is why we develop prototypes that will be presented to our Pioneer group before committing to development. The Pioneer group are 25 schools that were invited to provide feedback and to be early adopters of the product. News of this program will be on our website and twitter account @Serco_Learning. If any one has further questions, please don't hesitate to ask here or DM me.
Totally agree, it's nice to hear from a Serco Technical Person, and the comment actually gave me more information that I was able to glean from the stand at BETT.
100 engineers is certainly slightly different to 100 developers, and it's good to know that hopefully there will be a decent database schema.
As for the API, I assume we are talking about a web service, something like SOAP, XML-RPC, Rest ?
What about the migration strategy ? Assessment templates, events, reports etc. For those of us that have puts years of work into getting the system working as we want it too, to fit our environment, the possibility of having to throw all that work away and start again is pretty appalling.
User syncronisation, links to AD, training, embedded knowledge, links to MIS and various other software systems that'll have to be re-written.
It can sometimes feel that it is a case of throwing the baby out with the bath water, when a supplier turns round and says we are re-writing the whole application from the ground up.
Can I ask what it is being developed in language wise?
One important question would be how long do you intend to support the current facility as i am sure it is going to take time to migrate - training needed etc...
Thanks for your replies, and thanks Paul for posting out in the community. I'm sure Paul will be keeping track of this thread.
Care to add anything John? A Serco related thread without your input is rare, were you not invited? lol
Mic, techie @ Serco
Obviously we want to make it as easy as possible to move to Progresso; and while I'm not aware of the specifics, I do know that a significant amount of work has gone in to managing the transition of data across to Progresso to maintain as much of your current setup as possible.
That said, as you point out it is also a good opportunity to look at how MIS is used in your school and we are confident that Progresso will be just as good, if not an even better fit for your school than Facility currently is.
To answer a couple of the other questions raised:
Progresso is being built around an SQL database.
An API is also being developed.
Progresso will be entirely web-based with the exception of the scheduling package which will continue to operate in a similar way to facility does now: with the timetabler taking an extract of data offline to work on and then integrating it back in to the main database.
Sorry I can't really be more specific than that, hopefully Paul will be able to respond with more detail soon.
When you say 'similar way', is it still a new product on a new database or does it somehow integrate with the old db and the new one?Progresso will be entirely web-based with the exception of the scheduling package which will continue to operate in a similar way to facility does now: with the timetabler taking an extract of data offline to work on and then integrating it back in to the main database.
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