Sorry, i miss read some of that. It has a piece of software called Scheduler which is built in. Timetable changes can be made in Facility, but the automated event scheduling process is done in Scheduler. It's a standalone app which doesn't connect to the DB.
How it works is you go into Facility, take an extraction, which takes your timetable (and selectable other data) out to a '*.ttd' file. You then open this in scheduler. Do the work. Save the file. Go back into Facility and integrate it.
This means you can take an extraction, mess it all up in scheduler, discard it, and take another extraction.
It also means you can install scheduler where ever you want, for example on the timetablers laptop, and they can take it home for the summer without needing any remote access and live access to the db.
I must say that I don't like Serco Facilty/Eportal. Having worked with Sims.net for over 3 years it far better, quicker, user friendly and gets the job done than Facilty. Within Sims I can see everything from the homepage which i believe is a major strength and web bit is coming to. Again as others have said all MIS have issuses but I know which I prefer
and would recommend Sims to anyone!
we've just changed to an academy and moved to serco from SIMS. first impressions is its pretty good, a little quirky but staff will get used to it. ONe thing i have noticed is within ePortal, when you open a register your RAM usages shoots up by about 300mb! or at least it does on my machines, which causes virtual memory issues on my older machines.
A great find, this forum for me as I was making a study on various MIS for schools . I am a layman, so forgive my lack of deep technical understanding.
My question is simple. If we have an issue in MIS and contact the support, please can you anyone go through the process followed by them.
Also, it would help me if anyone could give me the kind of issues that are normally reported to the support after a release.
Thanks in advance
Their normal support procedure is:
Cal them up, they ask you your name and school name and ask for a pin number that they generate for you. thats it
Is it possible to give some typical issues which might come up on a daily basis. I also read somewhere, they connect remotely and support the issues. Is this pin number for that purpose.
There isnt anything that has come up on a daily basis really, or nothing that i've come across.
although i've noticed that when you change anythong regarding Assessment, it wont show up in ePortal until the next day or until you restart the eportal services. Yes they can connect via their website (logmein i think it is) they give you a pin for this which you have to put into their website in order for them to connect, this is your "Permission" to access your system remotly
That's right. The PIN referred to in the first post is something generated for you and is unique to you (not just your school). This tells us that the person we're speaking to is who we say we are.
If we have the need to remote in, we generate a 6 digit pin and you put this in a box on a website. The 6 digit pin is a 1 off and only lives idle for 20 minutes (as long as you connect within that 20 minutes it stays connected until someone ends the session).
It will the prompt you to download a small .exe file which is the client end for the remote software. It then allows is to take remote controll, has a chat feature, send and recieve files (it's all encrypted with a one off key) and view things like system processes (like a remote task manager / resource monitor), send events logs back to ourselves, etc. It even has a clever little feature that allows us to ask you for your windows credentials. It captures them without telling us them, stores them encrypted, and this allows us to reboot the server, it logs back into windows and reconnects the remote session (we'd only do that if you'd already given us permission to restart).
The only day to day issues that i can think of are the same as any other piece of software, people forgetting their passwords, etc.
Hope that's of some help
There are pros and cons with both SIMS and CMIS in my opinion. I couldn't really recommend one over the other, although e-portal runs quite badly in IE7, but guess what, Policy Central is installed too. Since deploying Firefox registration problems are pretty much zero.
Server utilisation is very similar between the two platforms, although I have to say with each release the more hungry they both get. MIS systems will undoubtedly be one of the first which jump to 64bit mainstream sooner than everything else due to memory requirements.
Thanks a lot. As you say, in case a password is forgotten, what advice would be given to the client. I read the serco sla that I got online and managed to see the process followed in support(i.e. categories of support like category A support, b support ....), giving the client a unique call reference number..is the same process followed for relatively simple issues like this.
I often forget my pin and so I usually opt to answer a security question.
Originally Posted by mcloum
Things like a forgotten password would be dealt with in house as it would be reset from within the software by another user. For example, the eportal (web access to the teacher end) passwords are set in the office end of the software. So anyone with access to the software and permissions to edit the password can reset it.
We usually find there are just a few users in the school that would actually contact us. So yourself for technical issues, whoever does the timetabling would contact us for such issues, the exams officer, etc. More simple issues and really all issues from teaching staff would be dealt with internally. We can't help with things like password resets because we'd need to contact someone else in the school with permissions to them and remote in to fix it, would turn something that takes seconds into something that takes minutes or hours and involved 4 or 5 people rather than 2.
People in school will be given training as part of the implementation process and the people receiving the training (depending who recieves what) will learn how to configure these passwords.
You're right about the SLA's and the unique references. You can log calls online, or log them on the phone, and once they are logged, you can view them online, add status changes, update us with attachments, etc, all through the same site that you can download knowledgebase articles and training from.
It's late... if i didn't answer that very clearly, or if you have more questions, fire away.
Mike @ Serco
Hi, I have been using Serco Facility CMIS since 2001, and have found it to be very flexible. I have also found a lot of its features are under utilised by schools. It does take a lot of setting up, but once done it is worth it. The timetabling module is the core of the entire system, and is quite powerful. If you are using it for the first time I would recommend the courses that Serco run, particularly the reporting and timetabling ones. I would also recommend that you run SQL for the main database, but keep an MSAccess copy on a machine which can be run as a stand-alone if there is a network failure. It is easy to run and maintain backups for this.
Agree very much about the AccessDB copy, I always have one on my Laptop for testing and dev work so if I break it or make a mess I don't have to restore the live data and if a report tweak works I can just copy the template over and tweak anything else.
It's nice to see more people discussing best working practices. Keep the suggestions coming.