Nope, it's PASAPP, histon house is scholarpack : Something to keep an eye on from DfE
It is installed in our LA data centre, with the hardware maintained by our corporate IT Dept and the software maintained by RM
When there is an update to the MIS, RM VPN in to our data centre and install the update once, which covers every single school
There is no need for separate MIS servers in schools with the associated IT staff visiting to update/configure etc
Our schools love the web based interface they get via all the popular browsers, and they know that they don't have to maintain backups of the data or deal with any of the technical issues associated with it
It means that we just need one MIS support person (who also has 'live' access to every school), and the IT Dept just fit in any hardware work that needs doing in with their normal everyday work
As an LA, it saves us tens of thousand of pounds every year, and our schools are more than happy to just let the LA and RM deal with the technical side of things
For loss of internet access issues, our Secondary schools have a redundant line which they can switch to if the need arises, but the Primary schools just use a single line
If the last 4 and a half years, we have had certain Primary school loose their internet access for a few hours, but this has never caused any real hardship for them
To tell you the truth, I have been surprised how robust the internet connections have been, with less than 10 Primary schools loosing internet access in 4 and a half years
The only thing that may cause concern for some people is that schools need a connection of 2Mbit or more for a comfortable experience
Below that, there may be issues with the speed that the system runs, but it is by no means unbearable and a school on a half a meg connection is still usable, but may take a couple of extra seconds to display the pages
Since switching to fully web based product, we as an LA will never go back to a client based MIS again
We will always choose a fully web based MIS whether it remains with RM, or the other main suppliers like Bromcom, ASPEN, ScholarPack, Fronter or Progresso etc
Last edited by ntm1275; 5th September 2012 at 07:54 PM.
@ntm1275 Sounds like a fantastic success story.
One of the things we really struggle with SIMS is the constant spending with Microsoft to keep the SIMS running. Could you tell me if Integris is as you say "fully web based" as in it will run on any modern browser and operating system - or is there still a cost tie-in with MS products?
Does is also allow you to choose the back end db, so that you don't have to fork out for SQL (and use mySQL instead)?
Please excuse me, my previous post was not supposed to be from and RM fan point view, it was more about the virtues of a fully web based system
I was only giving our LA's view from our own RM experience
I'm sure the experience would have been similar with any of the other fully web based MIS systems
As for the question whether it will run with mySQL or other back end db, that is a question I don't know the answer to I'm afraid, as that side of things were just 'sorted' by the IT Dept and RM
Last edited by ntm1275; 6th September 2012 at 02:16 AM.
Forgot to mention in my previous posts that the make of browser can influence the speed that the web pages display in a web based MIS
As mentioned previously, our IT Dept like to stick with all things Microsoft, so our Primary schools (who have an SLA with IT), are not allowed to use anything other than IE - the Secondary schools however control what they can use
In testing I have done, there can be a massive difference in the speed depending which browser you have to use
Chrome is the outright winner opening pages in 1 second or less, with Firefox a close second in just over 1 second
IE (all versions) on the other hand is much slower, opening the average page in 4 to 5 seconds
The difference becomes more evident when you ask the MIS to do something more complex like bulk fill/speed edit 1200 student records
Chrome will do it in 1 to 2 seconds, Firefox in 2 to 3 seconds, and IE will take 10 to 15 seconds
Because of this difference, I have pleaded with our IT Dept to change their policy on Microsoft IE only use, but they are a stubborn bunch, so I may have to take it to the Senior Management Team to put the case forward to change to Chrome
Chrome makes G2/S2 feel like it is a local install, and each click is almost instantaneous
Last edited by ntm1275; 9th September 2012 at 04:20 AM.
GREED (11th September 2012)
Thanks for the info, very useful to know what you are looking for
I must say I like Chrome, it is much faster, simple, it just works! Aspen likes Chrome too, but will play happily with any of the major browsers.
RE: dbs mentioned before, that's all fine it was just a note on a money saving aspect. Of course though you probably have a very good deal on lots of SQL licences, so a couple for the MIS is probably insignificant in the grand scheme...
Last edited by GREED; 11th September 2012 at 11:26 AM.
ntm1275 (11th September 2012)
I have to say having worked with Sims for the past 10 years I was introduced to Progresso on a training course and was distinctly unimpressed.
Progresso seemed to still be in the development phase. Too many bugs and the user interface uninspiring.
In short go for Sims. It is an established MIS and you will be able to find support on line via forums more readily available than if you were to go the progresso route.
I'm not biased as I also support Pearson E1 but think given the choice, SIMS everytime :-)
zag (14th November 2012)
we had a bad experience with Progresso, it was slow and seemed unable to pull our data out of facility cmis. So on our 100mb internet connection it could take 6 minutes to produce a simple class list, it was frankly unusable. Needless to say we pulled of that. Since then, so this year really, we've been looking at Aspen and slightly at Bromcom, but here lies the big question. If your LEA only supports two MIS systems, wouldn't you really be slightly foolish to put your eggs in another basket? Something to ponder I guess.
So at BETT this year I visited Progresso, and they now tell me the problems are fixed, it's fast and reliable. I saw live data, and indeed can confirm it was so much faster than before. Class lists in seconds rather than minutes. I did also visit Aspen (I wish) MIS, and again, it was as before - fast, reliable and functional. Given the choice of the two, if it was up to me, I'd say Aspen is far and away the more stable and sorted product, but you'd expect that right? So, we're way back to the big question...
Are you brave enough to choose an MIS system which your LEA doesn't support -Maybe if you're an academy you might have a slightly different view on this..
GREED (7th February 2013)
We provide direct support to the majority of our user base so, except for a handful, they get all their supoort and service updates direct from us, no LA support needed.
I know that with the "dominant" market player there is a lot more shall we call it "distributed support" but we happen to take pride in delivering an excellent service direct.
There are already processes in place to assist each MIS supplier in conforming to certain criteria for the purposes of statutory returns and reporting, so what else do you look to your LA for support with?
This is an honest query from myself because I've always wondered what it is that convinces schools that they need their LA team for the management of their MIS?
ps. This is no way a denegration of what most LA support teams actually provide, I've had many communications with the various teams over the years and they do a good job. It's just not hat much different to what I see our helpdesk delivering day in day out.
I do take you point John, and I hope to see your product in action at an open day I'm on the mailing list for. But I guess my questions was more aimed at other schools in our sutuation, not necessarly suppliers - no offence intended..
None taken Dave, its just something that has always started me scratching my head
I would imagine LA support provides a security blanket. It could stem from the days when schools had very little in house IT support, especially at primary level, let alone a dedicated MIS manager.
Even when you have someone in house, if you can buy into cheap support from the LA it makes sense.
That's how I saw the situation 8 years ago. Now, the market has changed, each school had greater independence, more tech, better tech, and less dependence on the LA.
If going with the LA saves money, that is a factor but if it doesn't meet your individual requirements it could be the wrong move.
JohnCondon here, we too like Bromcom give a great centralised service to individual schools making the reliability on LA support less a requirement. We do work with many LA/Districts around the world and are engaged with a number in the UK, where we WOULD be looking for local LA support desks to get involved for the distribution to their counties, but this does not mean schools (whether an Academy or not) cannot get direct central support if they have or choose to. It is the large numbers that [insert dominant market player here] have that requires them to utilise local LA support, which has it's advantages and disadvantages...
Good points well made, and ultimatly something we here have to ponder with. As for the original question : Progresso or SIMS? For me, at this moment in time neither. Progresso I dont feel, and might be totally wrong, is ready, and SIMS really is due an upgrade. I guess that's why I was asking my big question above. So yes, I've answered a question with another one, but I guess it's all related.
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