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MIS Systems Thread, Academies, 'new' SIMS licenses and the EU concept of 'Exhaustion rights' in Technical; ...
  1. #181

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    Bugs fixes in MIS should be free!

    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    What about support for new hardware\software, such as Windows 7, is that included in the 30p per student cost, or is that another slice? Or should this be an "upgrade" - so will we have to start saving for "SIMS .net for Windows 8", if this is the case then surely the Microsoft Educational agreement would be in a similar boat? Also what would you class, for example, the quick search from the homepage? I think it's a improvement, not a bug fix, but I don't think I should pay any extra for it. Are you directly complaining about them giving Discover out for free, or stuff like InTouch, SLG etc, I'm sure Capita wouldn't invest money into it if it wasn't making money.

    Also how much for support - ie I have a bug in my database and you\someone needs to create a site specfic patch?


    @vikpaw - it's a bug fix, resolve PICNIC issues with assessment

    PS: Did I read that right, if Kent CC doesn't sort it out, schools will be forced to go direct to Capita (or such) by 1 April 2012, otherwise they won't have support, won't be able to submit a census return come Jan 2013 - which funding is based on - because they won't have the updated version that includes the stat changes. Good luck Kent!! I guess they want the poor mans SIMS. It does AM\PM registers, P7 and SC\SWC returns and that's about it.
    The proposal made to DfE that, 30p per pupil is a levy charged and put into central pot to reimburse cost incured in implementing Statutory Changes by the MIS Suppliers.

    "... a bug in my database and ... someone needs to create a site specfic patch"
    This is chargeable service between school and either LA support Team, 3rd party Support Centre or direct with the Software Supplier as a support service. This is nothing to do with 30p or software licence.

    What Kent CC and other LAs is facing in April 2012 is the 'shock effect' of corrective action to put years of custom and practice which is clearly in breach of EU/UK Laws. The process will even out after the first year if centrally funding of Statutory Changes are in place. LAs and schools will receive updates for Statutory Changes free because they would be reimbursed for their cost directly from the central pot accumlated from 30p per pupil levy paid by LAs (or academies/schools if not maintained under LA).

    Bugs fixes should be free:
    Just as MS Office 2003 or Office 2007 for a given version of product bugs for MIS Software should be free under product warranty and liability and made available via web. As we all know, Microsoft even deliveries such patches to your door step to your PC FREE OF CHARGE!

    Support charges to LA Support Units, independent 3rd parties or schools wishing to receive direct support from software suppliers should be totally independent of any software licence agreement or charges. This is the industry model of service/support structure that should be adapted by LAs and schools. Most LAs have their own support centre supporting 1st & 2nd line calls from schools. LA Support centres in turn would need to have 3rd line support contract for the level support that they will draw down from software suppliers. This does not need to be more than say 10 to 20 man days per annum - hence say £10,000 to £20,000. Any product training or training for 3rd line support can be applied on need basis as extra to the support centres.

    As to product improvements, just as Office 2003 and Office 2007, software suppliers will need to bring distinct new versions out within their product life cycles, whilst maintaining each version for sensible number of years say minimum of 5 years for bug fixes under warranty/product liability and Statutory Changes.

    LAs and schools will then procure such software new versions with fresh licence after market testing for value fo rmoney and hopefully through DfE Framework OJEU Tender for MIS.

    The impact of the above will be in seismic scale on the present annual costs across LAs/schools which is identified as £110 million per annum [Becta Report 2010 para 1.4 page 3]. If the above applied, what we should see in the coming years is that this money is spent competitively in open market for fresh software licences across the suppliers, driving the cost down and providing choice and innovation for better software. This is what has not been happening over the past 15 years and hence increasing cost, market stagnation [Becta Report 2005 and 2010] and breaches in EU/UK Procurement and Competition Laws as per Becta Report 2010 findings and summed up nicely in the TES article in above links.
    Last edited by BromcomPublicRelations; 9th June 2011 at 07:12 PM.

  2. #182

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    OK, can you just confirm a few things, firstly can you confirm what we are talking about when we say MIS. We are not talking about a VLE or any other sort of addon. @PhilNeal could you confirm "MIS" in these context is clased as "SIMS core" by Capita. The £20k is a bit step if it is.

    Would it be possible for MIS suppliers to publicly post costs for generic scenerios, for example no extras, just meets all the UK legal requirements, (no finance, etc). Shall we say a primary school with 200 pupils and a secondary school with 1000 pupils? At least we can confirm your figures are realistic.

  3. #183

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    Matt I'm sorry it wouldn't be appropriate for me to enter into a debate with a competitor.

  4. #184

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    Had a feeling you were going to say that.

  5. #185

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheScarfedOne View Post
    Discover is a separate product, licenced and installed completly separately from SIMS. I think it is released down here - at least some schools are using it I think. They may be partner or LA partners though.
    You could argue it's a seperate product, (Application & database), but it's licenced with Sims and is being marketed as PA update.

  6. #186
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjo View Post
    You could argue it's a seperate product, (Application & database), but it's licenced with Sims and is being marketed as PA update.
    As far as I am concerned, Discover's main use is to analyse and graphically show Assessment Data, and the effects of other sections of SIMS such as FSM, SEN, Attendance, Post Code etc. etc. on Performance. As such it is definitely placed correctly in the assessment section of SIMS. It is this functionality to analyse performance in this way that we have been wanting for a long time!

    I am sure that most of the other field trial schools would agree with this!

  7. #187

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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjo View Post
    You could argue it's a seperate product, (Application & database), but it's licenced with Sims and is being marketed as PA update.
    I have seen a number of quotes from Capita that were issued to new Academies and there is clearly a line that states "Assessment Reporting Suite" which I assume Discover would be under, which is an extra to the MIS

    There is a Start-up Kit (Core, Reporting, Personnel, SEN, Statutory Returns) - which I assume is the MIS. So are "they" saying the overall package is the MIS (ie start-up, assessment, attendance, finance, etc) - and costs £20k, or that the "Start-up kit" costs £20k?

  8. #188
    CAM
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    I think Discover is less marketing scandal and more common sense. It's a tool for anlysing assessment data, if you don't have any data to assess using AM7 then what is the point of having Discover installed? Hence a separate installation which makes a ton of sense to me now.

    Think of it as an update to AM7 instead of the core SIMS package.

  9. Thanks to CAM from:

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  10. #189
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    Ab-so-lutely!

  11. #190

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    Changing to academy - a fairer arrangement for your MIS:

    It is very unfortunate that Competition Act / OFT is being used as an ‘excuse’ for charging school becoming academy.

    To date – dominant supplier for years has been breaching Competition Act and its annual mainteneance contracts breaching procurement laws every inch of the way despite so much protest from the industry and now trying to defend themselves by using OFT as an escape goat.

    The issue surrounding Academy or change of entity is matter of copyright law rather than competition. When there is new entity, it is correct that software author can demand a new licence from the new entity. The question is whether a software supplier would do so depends how well the market is working from competitivemess point of view and whether the supplier feels it has the customer (school in this case) by the throat. Accepting that in the UK MIS market has not been working for the past 15 years (Becta Report 2005 and 2010) and added to the fact that dominant supplier has hold in the mind-set of schools, change of system is a high barrier, dominant supplier will be very tempted to make maximum charges that can get away with!

    OFT/Competition Act:
    The only issue is if there a substantial cost associated with the transaction and if dominant supplier chooses to charge below the cost! However such cost is nowhere near that costs we are seeing being charged. But then the present annual charge model in the UK has been in breach of EU/UK procurement laws and it is unsafe to try to establish what should true licence cost vs what has been charged past 15 years or so non 'de minimis' services. Therefore it is best try to avoid estimating true cost/a valid licence charge until the market corrects itself over the next 12 month as LAs such as Kent CC cancels their annual mainteteance contract and re-think.

    In reality, rather than trying to avoid breach of competition laws, what we see in the field and dominant suppliers behaviour is totally working against competitiveness in the following way:

    1. Schools in the process of converting to Academy are already under great deal of burden due to various processes that will need to go through.
    2. Deciding/changing MIS is a serious matter for a school – hence Headteacher/Senior Management can not spend quality time to make such decision and likely to stay with the same MIS (80% probability to be with the dominant supplier). Dominant supplier appear to be counting on this and cornering schools.
    3. Having spent say £20,000 and to stay with the same MIS means that school inadvertently made a decision for wrong decisions that will live with at least for another 5 years!
    4. For another words dominant supplier not only making more money but also ‘locking in’ school becoming Academy taking advantage of the situation.

    A fairer arrangement:
    A school changing to Academy is given by all MIS suppliers a period of 12 months grace to make their mind in changing or staying with the present MIS and not be cornered to make decision under duress! Within 12 months DfE’s Framework for MIS will be up and running and Academies can buy through this framework.

    Bromcom is happy to support the above principle for their MIS and other systems!

    OFT or other suppliers would have no complaint against this!
    Last edited by BromcomPublicRelations; 10th June 2011 at 07:17 PM. Reason: typo

  12. #191

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    It's an interesting take on how schools feel when moving to academy status. I am aware of a number of school who have done this, none felt under 'duress'. All were fully aware of what MIS they wanted well before changing. Some have changed, but most stayed with their current MIS. The ones that changed did so years ago. Recently these schools have stayed with their existing MIS, happily. None have expressed regret.

    These schools have been happy with the performance of the software and the support they get. In my opinion and experience a 12 months grace period is totally unnecessary.

  13. #192

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    I still fully fail to understand why it should be treated any differently to how businesses work. Yes it's education and not business, but by becoming an Academy they're far closer to a standalone business than they might like, when it's convenient for them. New business/school, new licenses. Any transference is surely on (very) good will of the software rightsholder. And how could you manage that, ESPECIALLY when it's a product chock full of financial and very personal information such as an MIS and subsidiary software? That screams to me of Data Protection being breached left right and center.
    I could be being very thick and not understanding the ins and outs of it but I shouldn't need to - it's needlessly complicated and I can only perhaps think that it shouldn't be something that schools or it's staff, or us, should have to worry about. It should be clearly outlined by the involved LEAs or perhaps government, IMHO.

  14. #193

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    I agree Academies shouldn't have to re-license, think of it this way, the LA gives the Academy the land, the buildings etc, why can't it give them any software licenses, oh wait, it can... unless it's SIMS.

    I don't think 12months is enough time, you would need much more, at least 18months, so you've done everything once and had a cool off period. Even then if we're forcing them to look at there options, or even every school, to basically go out to tender for a new MIS, who the heck is paying for it? Maybe a cut down tender? Still school\academies will look else where if they don't think they've got a good deal, if we start forcing it, it's going to hashed together as non one in a school\academy has free time to waste doing it.

    Personally Kent CC will pay up, or the schools will. Let hope it works out because no one wants to see them or any of the schools fail.

  15. #194

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    I'm not sure about 12months or longer grace. Then whatever the costs were are being burdened by the supplier with no guarantee that the school will stay with them.
    I just think they should be reasonable and fair, which they don't appear to be.
    I don't think the duress is necessarily from the supplier, but the process as a whole on the senior management, board of governors, it dept. to just make a decision.
    Does anyone know the costs being charged by other suppliers, didn't it say somewhere RM is not charging?

  16. #195

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Ah, ok. We're no longer an LA licensed school, currently waiting on the contract from Capita to get us signed up as an academy!
    KB109213

    [@localzuk ] [@CAM ]
    Last edited by vikpaw; 11th June 2011 at 09:23 AM.

  17. Thanks to vikpaw from:

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