Link was fine.
Alarm bells started last month when we were shown screenshots and not a working demo. If I were a gambling man I would have put money on it being late.
Or in simple terms, add a month to stated launch date and then one upgrade before you should think about using it in anger. Then it is good software. They are just too keen to rush things out, we always hang fire.
I would urge any high end users of SIMS that share these opinoions to volunteer for SIMS Field Trials and for UAT!
Dinner Money 7 was released but had a number of the features of the old module missing. It's caught up now and works well, but was a nightmare to support at the start. It was difficult as the users wanted to go back to the old module.
email@example.com to get registered for the mailing list, and / or contact the following person.
For some testing, you do need to have a test/virtual setup in place as you're not allowed to use on a live system.
Field Trial Support Officer
Priory Business Park, Priory Court,
Cardington, Bedford, MK44 3JZ
Tel: 01234 838080 ext. 2822
I can understand that Capita can't please everyone, as each school will have a different idea of how their data should be stored and used; that's fine. In my mind what UAT should point out is glaring mistakes such as inability to add more than 6 additional info columns to a printed marksheet (some schools might not want more than 6, but no school would complain if they could add more than 6), or the inability to sort user defined groups by name (a mental one that! Thankfully PhilNeal saw the posts here about it and got it fixed though )
I think the point I'm getting at is, as long as something is bug free, get it out to schools. It's only when it's used with live data that schools will see real scope for improvement anyway.
We never release updates as we have been caught too many times by recalls.
I agree with you.
And normally delays are the result of functionality not working on a test dataset. This delay is slightly different! But in my opinion well founded!
The issue with UDGs had been on the system for many years. I myself had written a CR to amend this years ago, but it seems that the issue had been misunderstood. Phil recognised it as a software error and acted on that. Indeed, I was consulted for my opinion on the topic and I was able to feed back to them before the issue was resolved!
From a user point of view it was difficult to ascertain whether it was a fault with the early development of the system, i.e. not developed to spec, or if it was a software malfunction - which it proved to be!
And well done Edugeek! I know that Phil reads the Forums on here quite regularly!
I've been away most of this week so haven't caught up with this thread.
Firstly at BETT2010 we did think that the second half of 2010 was realistic but it clearly wasn't and by the way real software was being demo'd with one exception. Since then we've changed all of the graphics and taken on board a lot of feedback from schools and in particular ASCL.
The brief that we gave the development team was not "it must run on a hair dryer" it was this has got to make it easy for data to be understood. I haven't met a single head and I've met a lot that think that spending a couple of hundred pounds extra on a computer was a problem when assessed against being able to help them understand where they need to put effort into raising attainment.
Of course we'll do our best to ensure that it runs on the widest range of kit possible but that is not the priority.
I don't think there is any question as to the usefulness of the software or how valuable it is to schools. It's fantastic, and it's been a long time since people really got excited about SIMS, without it being a fix, patch or new paid for module.
Really the problem as i see it, is that many of us need to get this tech delivered to our end users; and the more hype there is, and the more they want it (and all schools want to do something funky with data analysis), the less time we have to do deliver effectively.
If the hardware does need upgrading, cost will be a consideration, but the bigger issue is planning the purchase / upgrade. Fitting it in with existing plans to cascade machines and / or buy new kit. I know for a fact that we will most probably miss our deadline for new purchases, because we wont have it in time, and even if a spec' is published, i'd want to test it out, on a variety of kit also, to see what fits our needs best.
Similarly, more info on the workings of the system itself, would be really useful, so we can plan how to fit it in with existing analysis systems. I was really interested to see in the brochure that it will count 5 A* - C grades. This is news to me. Will it deal with the 'inc. maths/english/it' condition? How do you indicate those aspects to the system?
I've been telling people to hold off on certain tasks, and wait for Discover, yet, when it comes out, i can see a big learning curve for us before pushing it out to all staff.
It promises to be an awesome bit of kit, but i think the fact that we are getting it for free, has almost meant that you've not put the same marketing behind it as you do with paid for modules, where you'd have to sell the idea to us, and give us a lot of info up front so we knew what we were getting for the money.
So as the MD of SIMS I am saying its later than we said at BETT 2010; no its never been on our schedule as autumn 2010 but that is what we had thought at the start of 2010.
It does deal with the 5 A* to C (of course it now needs to deal with the English BAC as well but that won't be in spring).
There are still improvements we know we can make to speed and hence it will work on lower spec kit in the future. I'm not a games player but I understand the same kit spec issues exist in this environment. I'm in Bedford on Monday and will see what the latest guidance is.
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