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MIS Systems Thread, Progresso or SIMS? in Technical; Originally Posted by Achandler So basically you are saying mariefolan is a fake account doing false advertising and conning people. ...
  1. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Achandler View Post
    So basically you are saying mariefolan is a fake account doing false advertising and conning people. Interesting...
    Yes, yes I am.

    I very rarely trust new users, when their first post is singing the praises of a piece of software/hardware/a company.

    Doubly so, when it's along the lines of "these guys are teh best evar!"


    I could be wrong, and hope I am. But, I've seen it way too much.

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    It did used to happen and some of the posts were most appropriate! That is why I started to challenge such posts. It made me unpopular with the Mods etc. but it seemed to work because the inappropriate posts did appear to dry up!

    Please note that I am not saying that the post by this OP is inappropriate................... but who knows ...............?

    We ain't far from Derbyshire and we are always willing to accept visitors to show what SIMS can do ...................

  3. #18

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    Is it my bad memory or did we used to have a policy of having to post in 'Introduce yourself' before being able to post elsewhere? MIS in particular (as we all know how passionate we get!) I wonder if that is a policy to resurrect?

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    LSt
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    Has anyone migrated completely to Progresso? If so, how easy do you find the reporting - is it much easier than CMIS?

  5. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by LSt View Post
    Has anyone migrated completely to Progresso? If so, how easy do you find the reporting - is it much easier than CMIS?
    There is a very small number of schools that have done so, I know one is lurking on here, its reporting is SQL Server Reporting Services so you go from one extreme to the other, although I've never hated CMIS reporting that much its just qwerky and has werid bits that you get used to. SSRS is a new ball game, although you can integrate directly through an MS Word Add-on that talks to Progresso as well

  6. #21
    CAM
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    Got five years of SIMS use behind me so here are my pros and cons.

    PROS
    + Used in so many schools that if you get stuck, there is always a brain to pick somewhere nearby.
    + Doesn't need any experience with SQL.
    + Plenty of online documentation and training (though training is expensive, see if your LA can give you some).
    + Can provide markbooks for staff within Assessment Manager.
    + Can use Asessment Manager to enter written reports too or alternatively use Profiles.
    + Can pull data from Assessment Manager and written comments from Profiles into one custom report in Individual Reports.
    + Support for Census Returns.
    + Can do timetabling with NT6.
    + Can do some incredible things with the right expertise to make all modules talk and work together.

    CONS
    - Windows and .NET required. SIMS is not suitable if you utilise other OS platforms unless you know how to get round it.
    - User interface has moments where everything is done the long way or it is so absurdly designed that you give up and do things the long way.
    - Individual Reports, contrary to the name, aren't very Individual if you want to keep everything in the system. They can only be customised individually if they are exported and saved externally.
    - SIMS is very expensive. SLG is even more expensive and whilst I miss it, it is of questionable value for money as a parental engagement platform in my opinion.
    - SQL access is banned so you can't write your own programs and access your own data using SQL without figuring out Command Reporter (and that is Read-Only). Everything is locked away behind the GUI and this can be restrictive, especially if Capita think you should do something how they think it should be done.
    - The reporting process can be confusing, Profiles I found especially hard to understand and drawing information from multiple areas of SIMS to put into an Individual Report can be time consuming to figure out and set up.
    - Capita have never heard of proper error trapping and I have seen some of the most ridiculous errors and reasons for a CTD ever (User Pressed Cancel....pardon?).

    Progresso I had a chance to look at when I went to BECTA. Unfortunately the rep didn't seem to good at explaining it, the system ran very slowly and I soon lost interest. This could be an issue with their demo server though (and to be fair, I walked up to the SIMS stand after and crashed their demo!). I think progresso contains a parental engagement tool as standard?

    Personally I'd ask your LA what system they can provide support for. I'd be lost without having them to turn to when everything goes wrong, I have no idea what a button does or I pressed a button without knowing what it does....

  7. 3 Thanks to CAM:

    CHR1S (8th January 2013), vikpaw (26th August 2012), zag (4th September 2012)

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    I can't comment too much about SIMS having used it a long time ago, but Progresso has some excellent capabilities and the fact that it is web-based is such a massive bonus.

    In my opinion Progresso marries the ease of use of SIMS with the hard-core reporting possibilities of CMIS.

    S

  9. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by CAM View Post
    Progresso I had a chance to look at when I went to BECTA. Unfortunately the rep didn't seem to good at explaining it, the system ran very slowly and I soon lost interest. This could be an issue with their demo server though (and to be fair, I walked up to the SIMS stand after and crashed their demo!). I think progresso contains a parental engagement tool as standard?
    Progresso has Parental Access out of the box, as does Facility ePortal and has done for a number of years at no extra cost to the user just ensure its published to the web and issue a logon to the parent job done they can see most things and its fully customisable in-house so you only want parents to see attendance not a problem just hide the rest of the info from the parent which is great

    Progresso has been coming on leaps and bounds over the last 8 months, I would hope that you could have a much better demo and chat to people at BETT 2013 at ExCeL as more will have been using it so its had much more time to get even wider feedback from users and have even more niggles squished out of it as you need to remember that is is a completely new program from the ground up so just like any new system there are a few niggles to iron out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CAM View Post
    Got five years of SIMS use behind me so here are my pros and cons.
    Personally I'd ask your LA what system they can provide support for. I'd be lost without having them to turn to when everything goes wrong, I have no idea what a button does or I pressed a button without knowing what it does....
    surely, most LA's should be able to support both ? Anyway, if not, if we're in the era of academy status being the norm, i can't see a reason why a school shouldn't be able to shop around for MIS support. I have to say that from what i've seen of the SIMs interface, i like the fact that it isn't a totally foreboding, dreary and cluttered frontend GUI. There's also something to be said for any database app hosted locally on a tried and trusted platform {school hosted SQL server instance and .net}, with tools provided to aid in the updating and applying patches to make it less of an administrative burden. Going down the cloud route for MIS may be cheaper, but it's a question of whether you lose the flexibility and whether if an existing non-cloud based MIS is doing the business, why folk would want to dip their toe into the unknown. i can see the benefits of the cloud for new sites or those looking to transition from facility to progresso, just not sure about schools moving from SIMs if their happy to a completely different cloud only offering. you'd have to factor in a lot more than merely the cost of the licensing.

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    I'm not sure how apropriate it is for me to post here in this thread, but just to add to what alttab said (i dont want to get into a hosted / local debate here...) but in terms of cloud, quite a few people are finding it's more flexible that way, because it means other hosted solutions are able to integrate without needing the net at the school and all the port forwarding setup, etc. In terms of a tried and trusted system, if it were running in the school in SQL and .NET then it would be running on hosted solution in SQL and .NET too. The difference being that in a hosted solution you're going to be looking at much bigger clusters in terms of resource and failover, so if anything it's to be trusted more. Don't get me wrong I can see there are advantages and disadvantages to having a MIS in the cloud, i just don't agree that those are relevant.
    It's the same story as many other apps and services - the more things that end up in the 'cloud' the more sense it will make to host others there... it's like a snowball! I think it's a white one though, not a yellow one

    It's always going to be down to the individual sites, and the users there, and what suits one may not suit another.
    Is just my ten penneth

    Mic @ Serco


    My posts are my own and are in no way representative of my employers (or associated bodies) opinion or sentiment. This post is made on my own time, reference to my employer is only to give a fair perspective to anyone reading my post, as other posts have mentioned people lurking secretively - I would hope those using the MIS section would know me by now, but just in case... I do work for Serco.

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    Surely the biggest issue with "cloud" solutions is simply, no Internet access for whatever reason, means no MIS. There are a lot of schools out there whose Internet access can be flaky at times, if you can't for example do an electronic register in the morning or you cannot find a pupil because you can't get access to his timetable so you have to go room by room, then I see it as a huge issue and entirely relevant.

    I know all IT systems can fail at anytime, the problem is the Internet often fails more often then anything else and is usually out of IT staff hands when it does.

  13. #27
    CAM
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    In an ideal world yes, an LA would support any MIS in the world for any school that subscribes to it's support services. In reality they have staffing and budget limitations too so they may offer support only one or two systems and say to any school that picks something different that they will have to go to the MIS company directly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CAM View Post
    In an ideal world yes, an LA would support any MIS in the world for any school that subscribes to it's support services. In reality they have staffing and budget limitations too so they may offer support only one or two systems and say to any school that picks something different that they will have to go to the MIS company directly.
    In reality the LA are usually too far into the pockets of the vendor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Achandler View Post
    Surely the biggest issue with "cloud" solutions is simply, no Internet access for whatever reason, means no MIS. There are a lot of schools out there whose Internet access can be flaky at times, if you can't for example do an electronic register in the morning or you cannot find a pupil because you can't get access to his timetable so you have to go room by room, then I see it as a huge issue and entirely relevant.
    I think that the majority of schools already rely so heavily on the internet for teaching and learning as well as administrative tasks that having a fully redundant leased line is a number one priority.
    Certainly for us a failover connection backed up by SLA is one of the things we are happy to throw money at (although getting this was actually cheaper than the LA connection that didn't have an SLA or redundant link ?!!?!)

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    We have a leased line and an ADSL fail-over, but I know only halve the local schools have this setup, because we left the LA for out leased line.

    Either way, you can teach without the Internet and do most admin tasks without the Internet. Seems that putting one of the legal requirements the school has on a single point of failure (in a lot of cases) is an odd idea, if the school has sufficient Internet provision then maybe it is a good idea.

    Another thing I wonder about is, what happens if an update breaks a Progresso installation, and Serco install it on a cluster at a time for example, seems like it could cause a mass problem. I don't mean to cause offense but everywhere software company produces a good few duff updates, any company that claims otherwise is lying. I think I should also make it clear that we have a web based MIS but ours is hosted internally because I believed in school access to the MIS was the main requirement and should we have a problem with our leased line/ firewall/ filtering etc we could still operate as a school. But this was my opinion at the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Achandler View Post
    Either way, you can teach without the Internet and do most admin tasks without the Internet. Seems that putting one of the legal requirements the school has on a single point of failure (in a lot of cases) is an odd idea, if the school has sufficient Internet provision then maybe it is a good idea.
    Not wishing to hijack the thread off into a direction the Op hadn't intended but, in these instances then the cloud system had better not rely on a single point of access for that data.
    If the school want additional redundancy then it can be easily provided with a cloud system to ensure that any and all "legal" data collection requirements are provided.

    Essentially with the correct service setup a cloud installation is no less prone to failure than a locally hosted system. In fact the argument could be made that a cloud system is, by its very nature, more robust as it has a stronger tech backbone (assuming a professionally hosted data center), superior infrastructure (economies of scale providing tech use that asingle user school would otherwise have no access too) and greater degree of communication flexibility (Web enabled out of the box so to speak).

    That being said we (Bromcom) would never advise a school to take a cloud solution if they did not have the appropriate interent provision to cope in the first place. As a Cloud advocate we'd be cutting our own throat to do so.
    It'd be like advising a school to use a locally hosted solution when their only available server was a Pentium 2 with 1024mb of RAM.
    That said the availability of reliable, fast and above all robust internet provision is starting to become ubiquitous.

    John

    ps. Not that I expect my word to be taken on this but in defense of mariefolan, they are a 100% genuine, happy (If somewhat inexperienced in forum ettiquette) Bromcom user. I can't give any details obviouusly but if they were bogus then the mods would have excised her post by now.
    Last edited by JohnCondon; 8th August 2012 at 10:13 AM.

  17. Thanks to JohnCondon from:

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