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MIS Systems Thread, Changing MIS in Technical; I am the IT Tech at School that is part of the Dudley Grid for Learning (DGFL) which is in ...
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    Changing MIS

    I am the IT Tech at School that is part of the Dudley Grid for Learning (DGFL) which is in the process of starting a new long term contract. As part of the new contract they are looking at possibly changing the MIS system we currently use (Integris S2) and are looking at the following systems:

    Capita SIMS
    Cerco CMIS
    Bromcom
    Integris S2

    Alot of the decisions will be based off a 2 hour presentation given by each company which, while being informative, will be biased towards the good points of their products.

    I would like to get a rough idea on what these products are like in real world use. Could you please leave any comments, advantages, disadvantages, horror stories, observations you may have had using any of these products, in particular if you have had experience of more than one of these MISs and can provide any comparrison observations.

    Thanks

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    Sivadam's Avatar
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    If I were you then I would be wanting to visit schools who are known for using the software efficiently. Capita have Partnership schools for this purpose and I would advise contacting one of these to see SIMS.
    I am sure that the other software companies could recommend sites where their software is well used.

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    GREED's Avatar
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    example schools will be a good move as they are unlikely to be 'sales-y' in their biasm, should give some honest opinions.

    PS: Sivadam that is very diplomatic of you, are you ok?

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    Sivadam (10th February 2011)

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    JohnCondon's Avatar
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    You are more than welcome to drop me a line off list HilcrRWise, I should be able to put you in touch with a couple of user schools in or near your area (john.condon@bromcom.com).
    I suspect that you're looking for a slightly franker warts and all discussion on here though.

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    Sivadam's Avatar
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    I am usually diplomatic when I respond to reasonable queries Graham! My record on SupportNet obviously 'supports' that! As does the last 20 or so threads I have contributed to here!
    Last edited by Sivadam; 10th February 2011 at 05:07 PM.

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    GREED's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sivadam View Post
    I am usually diplomatic when I respond to reasonable queries Graham! My record on SupportNet obviously 'supports' that! As does the last 20 or so threads I have contributed to!
    I know I know

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    Sivadam (10th February 2011)

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    Of the four MIS that you are evaluating 3 of them are cloud based, with only Sims being local application based. Lots of companies talk about being able to migrate data from one system to another, seamlessly, but it’s not until after the contract is signed that you find out that this bit and that bit, didn’t come across.

    If your running S2 now, how much data can another MIS supplier extract from a cloud based MIS to convert to their system?

    Serco CMIS > Progresso (from November 2011)
    Bromcom
    Integris S2

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    JPS
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    I have used Serco CMIS/Facility for about 6 years now (at 4 different schools) and I think it is really good. Yes there are faults/issues, but this will be the case with all of them, well I've never heard of a perfect MIS. I have only touched the surface of SIMs so couldnt make fair comment but what I saw I wasn't particularly impressed with (this was a number of years ago so haven't seen latest incarnation). There is a lot of users on edugeek of both systems, all will have varying opinions/experiences.

    If I was in your position, spend time (worth doing this well, not rushed) making a list of what functionality you currently have and what you would like. Provide the suppliers with that and see how many boxes are ticked. Other features are a bonus, which are probably handy but weigh them up against cost. Get them all to quote so you can compare prices, but whatever you do dont just side with the cheapest because in fact it is the cheapest.

    Apologies if that was all bl00dy obvious.

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    JPS
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjo View Post
    Of the four MIS that you are evaluating 3 of them are cloud based, with only Sims being local application based. Lots of companies talk about being able to migrate data from one system to another, seamlessly, but it’s not until after the contract is signed that you find out that this bit and that bit, didn’t come across.

    If your running S2 now, how much data can another MIS supplier extract from a cloud based MIS to convert to their system?

    Serco CMIS > Progresso (from November 2011)
    Bromcom
    Integris S2
    Serco Facility/CMIS is not 'cloud based' and should carry on running for approx another 4 years. It is installed on your own servers. However if you opt for Progresso, then yes it is hosted externally.
    Last edited by JPS; 10th February 2011 at 06:05 PM. Reason: error

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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjo View Post
    Of the four MIS that you are evaluating 3 of them are cloud based, with only Sims being local application based. Lots of companies talk about being able to migrate data from one system to another, seamlessly, but itís not until after the contract is signed that you find out that this bit and that bit, didnít come across.

    If your running S2 now, how much data can another MIS supplier extract from a cloud based MIS to convert to their system?

    Serco CMIS > Progresso (from November 2011)
    Bromcom
    Integris S2

    We went from Sims to serco (the fine print says they can not transfer all data) after just over a year we went back to sims i think that statement tells it all. and i have to say sims has come along way in a year and with the introduction of solus3 keeping workstations up to date is easy, i appretiate sims now as i have seen the other side of the fence.

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    Seeing / visiting schools is a good idea. I've always been of the opinion that if you ask a supplier not what they can do for you but what they do better than their competitors you can learn more.

    Not to encourage a slanging match which is not productive but if you can get a straight talking salesperson (it might be hard) their analysis of other product offerings' weaknesses can be rather telling. They won't tell you what they can't do but will defo have found plus points over others. E.g from interface, price, interoperability, included features.

    So bromcom have had attendance on mobile devices for years.

    Others have web enabled remote interfaces as part of core offering.

    If you were independent and not tied to the strict governmental reporting your options could be wider. Isams purport to do well in this field.

    I would also defo look at scholarpack.

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    RichH (11th February 2011)

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    APC
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    Quote Originally Posted by round2it View Post
    We went from Sims to serco (the fine print says they can not transfer all data) after just over a year we went back to sims i think that statement tells it all. and i have to say sims has come along way in a year and with the introduction of solus3 keeping workstations up to date is easy, i appretiate sims now as i have seen the other side of the fence.
    I really dont see how any one can make a fair decision on a system they have used for 12months or so - there is a huge difference in the customisation available between Facility and SIMS.net - sims being far more 'out of the box' but not meeting the needs of many (dare I say 'progressive schools') keen to make the most of MIS data.... Yes I am biased and yes I have (and do) use both systems...

    They both have issues from time to time and capita are quicker at 'patching' their software when bugs are discovered - but Serco offer a 'blank canvas' for assessment etc which is far more customisable than Sims...

    I would agree that you look at other schools and get their views - but more importantly determine your exact requirements and see if suppliers can meet your demands.... and dont go on a salesman telling you anything - most have never even worked in a school!!

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    zag
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    Dont forger scholarpack, their web based MIS looks really good these days.

    I know if I had the chance to change I would look at that seriously.

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    RichH (11th February 2011)

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    Not entirely relevent, but good background reading:

    Becta’s School Management Information Systems and Value for Money report - it's a few years old, but still interesting.

    I believe this report led to a complaint (by an MIS vendor) which is still pending investgation with the OFT regarding the dominance of one MIS product which may have led to schools overpaying..

    ..good luck and I hope some schools using the products you mention will share useful feedback here..

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    You shouldn't believe everything you read!



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