I obviously forgot my audience when I made my last post, the database is SQL 2008 R2 and it is being built on .NET technologies.
In terms of transition, we have made plans, budgeted and staffed a dedicated development team to continue to support Facility for at least the next five years. The transition tools provide 3 functions during adoption of Progresso.
- Data Cleanse
- Data Structures
- Data Migration
Data cleansing will ensure that the information transferred is as accurate as possible and will also highlight any discrepancies within the data. This will provide error reports to users to enable the data to be corrected and can be run multiple times.
Data structures include assessments, user defined fields, behaviour structures etc. and will set up these within Progresso to enable the data to be transferred. These will be editable to enable changes to take advantage of the new features and functionality. There is also the opportunity to select which templates you wish to transition, allowing further cleansing of data.
Data migration is the final step that will populate Progresso with all relevant staff and learner information. This can be run multiple times for different areas of the system allowing for schools to update information such as attendance without impacting on information that may have been updated within Progresso.
The Adoption program that we have in place for existing schools also includes on site training and project management and is provided free of charge.
In terms of reporting, we are moving to a completely new reporting engine and this does mean that it is not possible to migrate all reports automatically. Reporting will be fundamentally different in that it will be web based and available to all stakeholders and also interactive rather than static, this will change the concept of reporting and allow richer reporting functionality
We recognise that one of the key areas of reporting that concerns our schools are the assessment reports to parents. We have built into the assessment functionality some really exciting and innovative ways of addressing this, without the need for developing reports and look forward to talking to customers about this.
The API will be based on standard technology and will be freely available to schools on a non-commercial license.
Questions about access to Progresso during an internet outage were also raised and I didn't mention that we are designing a mobile version of Progresso for all major mobile browsers. Finally, I didn't intend the question about internet connectivity to be a side swipe, I would love to hear from this community about how they ensure uninterrupted connection to the internet if their RBC or LA connection is inadequate.
As always, feel free to ask more questions.
How do you plan to move/migrate pupils addresses into Progresso as that will use the BS7666 standard, where as Facility uses Address line?
If a tool has been written for this, would it not make sense to make this available to Facility schools now so it can be run on the the existing Facility databases to move them to the BS7666 standard before migrating?
The "Data Cleanse" would be rather handy in Facility itself given that long term users of it find that the Facility's data has a tendency exhibit entropy.
To what extent are you expecting migrations to include historical data (previous addresses, changing relationships with contacts etc.) which is key to reflecting the full picture we have of a student?
On a similar tack, Facility is only really able to show you the historical picture at year end for previous years since the audit trail does not record data changes, only some indication of who might have changed it. Over the years, we have had several reasons to investigate the past picture at a specific date, but have been unable determine anything definitive because of the existing limitations of the audit/logging processes. I'm more used to MIS systems that fully track field level data changes with who, what, when etc. Can we look forward to some progress in this area under Progresso?
Our Admin Manager and I have just returned from the first Progresso presentation and were very impressed. We plan to move over to Progresso as early as possible in 2012.
That's all I'm going to say at this stage. You'll have to get the rest from Serco.
john (25th January 2011)
Thanks for the feedback, have a good time tomorrow John, i hope the traffic isn't too painful.
Mic @ Serco
Ok, I was at the event at Old Trafford today, and would like to say how much I am looking forward to Progresso!
I admit I was sceptical about Progresso, I've used Facility and Eportal now for 7 years (the actual product is 15 years old itself if you go back to the days of CCM software....) however talking to Paul Harrington and others and watching the presentation and seeing the demonstrations of it, myself and my Data Manager came away both very confident of the product and clear that we want to move to it sooner rather than later. They really have been listening to end users and taking our feedback on-board (all those things we've complained that Facility / ePortal don't do, this does!) The new reporting engine will make things a lot easier and the assessments are significantly quicker and simpler to use and sort out.
A lot more automated and designed to support us in our ever increasingly busy schools.
I highly recommend that existing Serco Facility Customers talk to account managers and get themselves to the Progresso Update events for existing customers if you haven't booked on them, they are free half day sessions and it really was good and you meet the people behind the product and talk to them face to face. Paul is an excellent person to talk to and is clearly very passionate that the product will succeed and will build upon Facility and ePortal's past successes and learn from the mistakes they have made with them.
Last edited by john; 26th January 2011 at 11:19 PM. Reason: spelling errors, whoops!
Hi, We have a Moodle VLE installation and use Guy Thomas' excellent Facility to Moodle block to import students and classes to courses.
Does anyone know how we are going to integrate with progresso?
Unfortunately Guy is no longer maintaining it, but I have posted a request for update on the Moodle site and am hoping for a response. Just thought I'd try edugeek as an alternative line of enquiry in teh meantime. As I say, if ePortal/Progresso do effectively disable our ability to import students it is an issue :-(
(Moodle has to be the biggest VLE in the world with 50,000 sites, 3,000 in the UK including the Open University.)
Having been to one of the events, I am well impressed that they have re-engineered their MIS, and provide up-to-date features like Alerts and Workflow. There will be a bedding in period, but at least it will be available from whereever, rather than just in school. Hopefully the Assessment module will actually work too!. The Analysis looks brilliant (based on SQL Server Analysis Services), but available directly from the Desktop.
They say the licensing costs will be the same as Facility, but additional cost if you go with them whilst they are still in hosting only mode.
They said they were investing in Facility for the next 5 years, so transition will be possible at a time to suite the school. They clearly need something to reverse the decline in their User base (I know of 2 schools in Manchester who have moved to SIMS this year, and I don't know that many schools).
In addition to what @Gregor mentioned above, we have only recently invested heavily in the Frog VLE. This currently has modules to integrate with CMIS which are still quite new (SIMS links were there very early on). Do we know if Frog will work with Progresso?? We are still in the process of setting up the Server i.e. creating user account / timetable links etc. It would be a mega pain in the a*** if the many hours of work we have put in will soon be useless!
Frog are partners of ours and so will have access to the API as soon as it is available, just as they do now. We're discussing changes with the partners at the moment, but as long as they develop against the new API which i believe Frog have every intention of doing (as will any other partner) it will be fully integrated as usual.
Mic @ Serco
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