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MIS Systems Thread, Progresso or SIMS? in Technical; Hi, Our secondary school is in the process of changing its MIS from CMIS (soon to be obsolete) to either ...
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    Progresso or SIMS?

    Hi,

    Our secondary school is in the process of changing its MIS from CMIS (soon to be obsolete) to either SIMS or Progresso. My question is does anyone have experience from these software packages, in particular the assessment side of the software.

    We have had a very good demonstration from SIMS however its hard to judge the true amazing capabilities of the system when they are ultimately trying to sell you the software, and working from a very well structured script. After some ground work it seems to me that personalized reports are hard to create in SIMS and that various other schools are using alternative add on software packages to do this is this correct??

    The other main issue is to this date Progresso is a reasonably new software package with the possibility of bugs, has anyone found issues with this or does it seem to be a well built package?

    Ultimately, I am just looking for some general non biased information on both software packages with both the positive and negative features they have / haven't got to offer.

    Thank you in advance for any help you can offer,

    Anthony.

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    bgarston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anthonythornton View Post
    Hi,

    Our secondary school is in the process of changing its MIS from CMIS (soon to be obsolete) to either SIMS or Progresso. My question is does anyone have experience from these software packages, in particular the assessment side of the software.

    We have had a very good demonstration from SIMS however its hard to judge the true amazing capabilities of the system when they are ultimately trying to sell you the software, and working from a very well structured script. After some ground work it seems to me that personalized reports are hard to create in SIMS and that various other schools are using alternative add on software packages to do this is this correct??

    The other main issue is to this date Progresso is a reasonably new software package with the possibility of bugs, has anyone found issues with this or does it seem to be a well built package?

    Ultimately, I am just looking for some general non biased information on both software packages with both the positive and negative features they have / haven't got to offer.

    Thank you in advance for any help you can offer,

    Anthony.
    It's early days yet; we are just starting the move to Progresso from Facility. Prior to changing jobs/schools last October I had only had experience of Sims. Reporting and Assessment appear to be really good in Progresso and much easier than either Sims or Facility. I suggest you go on some visits to see other schools that are using the respective systems. A list of early adopters for Progresso can be obtained from Serco Learning.

    Sorry I can't be more helpful; like I said it's still early days.

    Ben

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Without any first hand experience of Progresso (I've only seen their sales pitch, as it were) I would suggest that Progresso is actually a new system, recently designed from the ground up, whereas my impression of SIMS is that it is similarly monolithic and outdated in the same way CMIS currently is. If you're looking to make a decision now for an MIS to use for a few years, SIMS is perhaps more likely to have legacy issues & interfaces and need a complete upgrade sooner than Progresso will.

    Progresso does look good as well, and I'm minded to go for the cloud version when we go as it will take all the hassle and stress of administering it out of my hands. This is one time I am fine with that.

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    SIMS is used by alot of schools in the UK, and for good reason, it's going to have legacy "issues", by the very size of it's customer base and the nature of the setup. Take Nova-T4, they are still hardcore users refusing to let it go, with "cloud" solutions, if you stop supporting it, it goes instantly away and you could even deny it ever existed, could you image Capita trying to do that with Nova-T4? It's physically impossible.

    Personally, what ever MIS you select, it's wrong, or right (pending on if your a cup full or a cup empty kinda person), you just have to accept the decision and stick to it. It's like cabling, you put the network socket in the best place in the classroom at the time and you have to stick with it, otherwise you end up wasting public funds to moving sockets because the teacher moved the classroom round a bit only to find out a few years later that they move it all back around again. Basically, look at the market, see what others use, see what people like the best, what they know the best, then work out what is actually the best choice for you, see what your LA recommend - because they'll most likely give you best support, and support is key. Whatever you decide, stick to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by anthonythornton View Post
    either SIMS or Progresso.
    Is that the only two choices?

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    I cannot comment on Progresso but I can about SIMS!

    We have been a SIMS School for very many years and are regarded as one of the more advanced users. We are a SIMS Partnership School (Just 50 out of 22,000 are ever awarded this status) and a SIMS UAT (User Acceptance Testing) Associate School.

    I can thoroughly recommend SIMS. Unlike some other systems, no knowledge of SQL programming is required. It is extremely flexible and you can set up your Assessment System in exactly the way you wish to do so, from base principles. The SIMS AM7 (Assessment Manager) Individual reports are excellent, as are the SIMS Profile Reports. We use the former for our 4x yearly data reports to parents and the latter for our longer 'once a year' reports. The latter works via Comment Banks but Assessment results etc can be embedded into the reports. The fact that you can publish these reports to SLG (SIMS Learning Gateway) is a massive bonus as Parents, Pupils and Staff alike can then access their reports online.

    Before you make your final decision I would suggest that you visit schools that use both systems successfully, so that you can judge for yourself which would suit you best. As a SIMS Partnership School, our door is always open to visitors. Unfortunately, it is our last day today before the Summer break. I will be working during the holiday but you would really need to chat to our Assessment Data Manager to get the best of a visit - though I could show you everything that we do in terms of Assessment Reporting.

    If you know of a local school with access to SIMS and to SupportNet then thread 'Individual Student's Attendance Summary by Subject reports (36360)' in the Forums will demonstrate some of the advanced procedures that can be embedded into Reports directly from SIMS Assessment Manager and from other areas of SIMS.
    Last edited by Sivadam; 18th July 2012 at 09:35 AM.

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    The choice is entirely up to you. SIMS is better at some things, Progresso others etc etc..

    They are also all bad at things, it will be entirely personal preference. Costs are also another issue, SIMS is expensive, especially with SLG and this is where the competition should always win. But then in theory you are paying more for a better more reliable product, whether this is true is practice I doubt anyone knows or there is any way to really compare downtime between systems for example.

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    GREED's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sivadam View Post
    The fact that you can publish these reports to SLG (SIMS Learning Gateway) is a massive bonus as Parents, Pupils and Staff
    ...and hit to the school bank balance

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    Is that the only two choices?
    Not at all, and that is the problem for many individual schools is that there are other excellent products out there, not just Aspen MIS (I know you were all waiting for that one ) but at least 3 other very capable systems that all have their advantages and disadvantages. Before you make such a huge change and investment you should ensure you have all the facts at your disposal. Talk to your LA and see who they are using, as @matt40k says, and support. But ultimately you will know from your gut instinct which is best, whether that be to 'upgrade' to Progresso or move across to one of the other players.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GREED View Post
    ...and hit to the school bank balance
    The ongoing costs to SIMS are the real killer, notwithstanding the cost of extra module I seem to be constantly throwing out half decent hardware to meet the latest system specs.

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    We have chosen to back Bromcom as our MIS provider in two schools, and have found it superior to SIMS; firstly the cost is much more appropriate and therefore the system is much better value for the money. Both the behaviour system and the technical team have proven exceptional, and the "my child at school" feature has been extremely valuable. We have been thoroughly impressed by the Bromcom system and would strongly recommend it!

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    Sivadam's Avatar
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    Superior eh?

    One wonders what you base that on .................

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    X-13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sivadam View Post
    Superior eh?

    One wonders what you base that on .................

    1 post praising a specific product, insisting it's better than everything else.

    Seems legit.

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    Sivadam's Avatar
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    I don't mind people praising a product. I do it all the time!
    But I am not so sure that the 'superior' quote is actually factual! Now that is very diplomatic for me .................

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    X-13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sivadam View Post
    I don't mind people praising a product. I do it all the time!
    But I am not so sure that the 'superior' quote is actually factual! Now that is very diplomatic for me .................
    I was implying it's a trap.

    To get people to buy shoddy products.

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    To be honest, all posts are opinions.

    So basically you are saying mariefolan is a fake account doing false advertising and conning people. Interesting...

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