Hi should I advise my customers to go for Bromcom or SLG?
Hi should I advise my customers to go for Bromcom or SLG?
SLG is great, but do you have 10k?
i've been told to look into the moodle intergration as apparently that is alot easier/cheaper then SLG
I use Bromcom Teachers' Web Folder and My Child At School - i was faced with a very similar comparison/decision which was fairly exhaustive by the end.
Capita almost got the business via consortium pricing, but ultimately didn't get our cash. A big bonus for as at the time (due to staffing / in-house knowledge) was the fact that Bromcom isn't SharePoint based and Capita (and a lot of the other solutions out there) are.
We had a few minor issues in the very early days but their support were fantastic. Now it just 'works' and I rarely get complaints/support requests from staff.
For me, they both cause me problems and both are expensive. SLG was designed to give parents access really and it's very good at it, almost too good in some cases. So depends on costs and the schools requirements, it's not a simple pick product A.
Unfortunately I've been finding SMT has been buying products then worrying about will it work on the network later. If the sales people in question are reading this, I would like a few bottle of cider ;) The latest was the network manager at a school phoning up asking if I know anything about SIMS Emerge, I was thinking they had a demo, turns out they had purchased it and prior to that it was WebFolder at another school. Not good when you've been say you need a new server ASAP.
Anyway - in terms of the OP, really depends what problem the customer is trying to solve - purely teacher web based usage or parental engagement or both? And what are the real priorities within any of that usage. And of course the technical environment/preferred technologies/skillsets with the customer.
Both appear to be capable solutions and should do a job. But you/they probably need to go visit some users of each to form a better opinion.
@resin1 I have to admit I've read your reply a couple of times and not quite sure what you are asking!
We use do use TWF and MCAS inside of a SIMS enviroment yes.
In terms of API's, and I could be wrong (and happy to ask Bromcom the question if it interests anyone), I don't believe they are technically using any.
SLG or any of the other SharePoint products all use API's / WebParts to communicate to and from SIMS. The Bromcom solution isn't built on SharePoint - it is a local IIS site with a backend SQL database. As far as I am aware, their database simpy syncs data from the SIMS database which then makes it available to TWF / MCAS.
When teachers or parents access the system they go via https to the Bromcom hosted gateway, then their servers send requests down to our local Bromcom server (which is actually a VM now) and its own SQL database (rather than the 'SIMS' databse itself) returns appropriate information thought the secure connection.
Again, the above is how I am fairly sure it works. If anyone wants more info, I'll happily give one of the technical team a shout so that they can come and correct me!
Thanks for the detail - thatís interesting. My only question to you was actually the clarification that you are using with SIMS as the MIS, as opposed to Bromcom as the MIS. The rest was more referring to the OP dilemma.
As it goes, what you describe isn't how I assumed they structured things. My assumption was that they simply had some sort of process at the SIMS server end that talks to SIMS (via the Capita API's or whatever they call them), and therefore acts upon retrieve/input requests that come from the hosted gateway. I didn't realise that these actually go to their own local database, which is only a mirror (same approach they have always taken with their registration system).
Bit less than SIMS Direct then ;-)
But who cares if it works - provided it always mirrors 100%.
We use this: TASC Software - excellence in education
£1 per pupil per annum and is just what the doctor ordered for parental access.
The company are friendly and they will actively engage with you to produce what it is you require. :)
I know Bromcom uses, or at least did use, a separate data, it stored all the lesson marks then it would only sync the AM\PM with SIMS as Capita wanted mega bucks for a lesson monitor license that all we need it for was storing the lesson marks in the SIMS database. Pain for reporting, but for the amount of money it saved. Well until laptops for teachers came in and the grey pads didn't look so good value.
Want to set a few things straight before any misunderstanding of the products become canon :D
The SD products are exactly that SIMS DIRECT.
All of the active SIMS data is retrieved from and then returned to the active SIMS Database. There is no data storage of any SIMS information on any secondary database.
The mini database that comes along with the SD products is to enable the storage of certain software configuration items and user preference details.
As for the use of API's, well under the OFT Voluntary assurance agreement we are supplied the same API components that Capita use themselves so there is no risk of them becoming obsolete unless Capita decide to completely rewrite everything from scratch and I think there would be some pretty serious lead time on any developments of that scale :D
Hope that answers any queries being raised, and feel free to ask further if you need to.
I fully agree with bossman about TASC. We use their PARS application for lesson registration and INSIGHT for online reporting to parents. The first writes all data back to SIMS and the second pulls it out of SIMS, this does not depend on any overnight refreshes either. It does cost approx £1 per pupil per application per year but we did buy a new server for INSIGHT. The only thing we do not have is teacher access to SIMS but that is not an issue here at present.