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MIS Systems Thread, Birmingham Schools - Where are you going next in Technical; Originally Posted by emma_24_uk Glad to hear that - have you had that fact confirmed by serco? Does anyone know ...
  1. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by emma_24_uk View Post
    Glad to hear that - have you had that fact confirmed by serco?

    Does anyone know what Serco are doing about the finance solution used by almost all Birmingham schools - there have been some rumours that it may not exist, but other people are saying its going to continue and be changed to meet academy financial requirements?
    Thats the way it is with ePortal and this isn't about removing functionality its all adding to it. You never pay for Parental reporting, unless Birmingham do something different.

    I have been on two Progresso events now and both have asked about Parental Reporting and its been demonstrated that its all even more integral and functional than the ePortal version so I don't expect you to have any concerns or issues over it when you move to Progresso. There not in the business of ripping key things like that out and charging a lot for them, that would be counter-productive.

    Serco's finance product I cannot comment on as we don't use that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Little-Miss View Post
    We have SIMS and as far as i know there is no ePortal/Gateway thingy available to us yet...
    You can take registers in SIMS. The main difference is that ePortal uses a secure internally hosted webpage (from your Admin server, using IIS), whereas SIMS requires teachers to login (as would an office admin), but with 'Class Teacher' permissions.

    Out of the two, ePortal is slighty quicker (as it's just a webpage), whereas SIMS can be quite resource hungry operating on .NET. The additional memory (RAM) does make a huge difference on workstations.

    Back onto the original question, SIMS has moved on a lot. You can now use a mouse and not just the arrow keys (sarcasm), for those who remember the 16Bit DOS version. There are pros and cons to any MIS system, but ultimately I think training is critical. It must be awful for an office admin to use one system for years, only to have to move to another system with a different GUI.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tli View Post
    While there's plenty to consider before deciding on the next step, Birmingham schools need to remember why they migrated to CMIS in the first place. SIMS has always remained a good option but wasn't flexible enough for our needs.

    SIMS has indeed moved on in the last few years but there are key areas where CMIS is still better. For instance, most Birmingham secondaries have assessment set ups that, because of their complexity, would not be possible to implement fully in SIMS.

    From what I've seen, Progresso looks like it will be an excellent product although we will need to see the costs etc before deciding on whether it is good value for money. The other question will be, of course, will all the flexibility that CMIS gives still be in Progresso?
    I have used CMIS/Eportal and Sims.net in schools, and I know for sure that Sims.net does everything CMIS does. It does all the reporting and assessment functions that CMIS does, alot better and is fully intergrated into one system. I don't know anything that CMIS does that Sims doesn't!!

    Sims has got a lot better, and Birmingham schools are now left behind with CMIS. I for one want Sims.net in my school!

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    It all depends on what you're doing. If your demands are simple then they both do a good job and SIMS might well be the better product overall.

    SIMS Assessment Manager has indeed moved on from the clunky experience that I found in its early days and, on the face of it SIMS schools can achieve a lot with it. However, having spent some time with 'Capita experts' unsuccessfully trying to replicate some of the progress tracking templates that Birmingham schools use in CMIS, I stick to my assertion that CMIS is the more flexible and powerful when it comes to the complex assessment arrangements that are found in many schools.

    I have seen some of the stuff in use in flagship schools that use SIMS and all too often the real work is done externally in Excel presumably because they were unable to do it in SIMS.

    I'm not sure how you can say that Birmingham schools are 'behind' when you haven't seen the quality of what they are doing.

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    I have and still do work in Birmingham schools. But have also worked in schools in a LA (across the road) who use SIMS. I understand that you're complex assessment system didn't work, but how long ago was this?.

    We have a very complex assessment system in CMIS/ePortal, but it is nothing that Sims.net wouldn't be able to do. I think that if you haven't used both systems properley, its really hard to tell how to utilise the system. They both do the same thing, but for me, the advantage with Sims is that all staff have the correct information, across the whole school. I can get all the information I want from, in a centralised way in Sims using the power of AM and Performance Analysis. Those schools using Excel spreadsheets might not know how to use specific functions of sims to get what they want/need.

    I know that in my school, because CMIS/EPortal doesn't do what we want to do, the school have built a system to extract lots of data and display the data on web. For me, I don't see the point of doing this; all the information it extracts can be done easily shown in AM marksheet in Sims (pretty quickly and easily) but not shown on ePortal data sheet!

  6. Thanks to kiran from:

    Sivadam (10th July 2011)

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    From my experience of using facilty and having a friend who uses sims, it is clear that several features in facility assessment are not available in sims... there may be far more features than there were a few years ago but sims still misses some functions I can see many schools need.

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    Quote Originally Posted by emma_24_uk View Post
    From my experience of using facilty and having a friend who uses sims, it is clear that several features in facility assessment are not available in sims... there may be far more features than there were a few years ago but sims still misses some functions I can see many schools need.
    People keep stating this but without quoting any examples.
    I would like to see an example of what CMIS can do that SIMS cannot!

    And this is the second time that I have mentioned this in this thread!
    Last edited by Sivadam; 11th July 2011 at 11:18 AM.

  9. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sivadam View Post
    People keep stating this but without quoting any examples.
    I would like to see an example of what CMIS can do that SIMS cannot!
    I'd love to know too. Some examples would be useful.

    We have had several schools forced to use other MIS and complained so much that after a while were allowed back to SIMS.

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    Back onto the original question, I have it on good authority CMIS still has years of life left in it. In the shorterm there's nothing to worry about, however Birmingham schools will be able to see an example of 'Progresso' for those interested.

    In the longterm, I suspect both SIMS and CMIS will be going down the 'web based' route, which'll make it more compatible across a number of platforms and not just Windows.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    In the longterm, I suspect both SIMS and CMIS will be going down the 'web based' route, which'll make it more compatible across a number of platforms and not just Windows.
    Not according to Phil Neal. They have SLG and that is enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by creese View Post
    Not according to Phil Neal. They have SLG and that is enough.
    Sorry - but fell off me chair laughing at that one :-)

    Probably taken out of context, but the statement implies their next gen platform will be based on SLG. Oh my... my stomach's hurting :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by resin1 View Post
    Sorry - but fell off me chair laughing at that one :-)

    Probably taken out of context, but the statement implies their next gen platform will be based on SLG. Oh my... my stomach's hurting :-)
    Unlikely. There are no plans to go web based.

    If you want web based you have SLG which like a few other bolt-ons will access over the web, including Android and that other mobile thingy.

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    ok. Not gonna take this off topic any further - other than to admit I'm not "in the know" on their plans, but have always assumed that they would see the need for a much slicker interface that would inevitably be browser based, if they wish to stay ahead, and when (rather than if) they do, that certainly wouldn't be SLG :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by resin1 View Post
    .... have always assumed that they would see the need for a much slicker interface that would inevitably be browser based, if they wish to stay ahead, and when (rather than if) they do, that certainly wouldn't be SLG :-)
    Take a look at Groupcall Emerge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by creese View Post
    Take a look at Groupcall Emerge.
    Or even SLG!
    Much more functionality than from EMerge. It delivers beautifully on WP7 and the phone is cheaper then the Groupcall App!

    Now where is that 'so called' Assessment Data that SIMS ain't capable of?

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