Network and Classroom Management Thread, NS Optinum in Technical; I have read the thread about this company that detailed in great depth the problems with being bombarded with phone ...
18th January 2010, 11:44 AM #1
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I have read the thread about this company that detailed in great depth the problems with being bombarded with phone calls from them. What I want to find out about is the opinions (not from their employees) of any board members that have experienced their server installs, network management tools and the workstation build quality of their products.
Any advice will be much appreciated.
18th January 2010, 12:28 PM #2
I have had no direct experience of their quality of service but I was advised by our former support provider [no longer supporting us now as we no longer have RM] to stay well clear. We have done this and continue to even now.
NS did get hold of my details a while back and even though I told them to 'GO AWAY' [in no uncertain terms] they persisted with their calls for several months.
I think that you may get advice from here which matches the advice I was given. Follow that advice and you won't go far wrong.
18th January 2010, 12:34 PM #3
Before I started here we had a server install from them, when I started here (9 months after) we were still fixing the problems they created. Steer clear of them at all costs. For your server needs, speak with Simon at CP.
Thanks to featured_spectre from:
CPLTD (18th January 2010)
18th January 2010, 05:43 PM #4
I've only seen aftereffects of their workstation and network installations which did end up a pain to fix.
And the one school left I have that still deals with them does indeed get quite a few marketing calls. Some of the PC's of theirs I've seen have been below par - certainly not what I'd like to see in schools.
HOWEVER, the same site has had several Promethean boards specced and fitted by NSO and have been extremely happy with the service. They even provided us a few spare pens when we begged hard enough and have otherwise been very good with after-sales support.
18th January 2010, 07:09 PM #5
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Thanks for your replies on this. They all seem to backup what I have heard too, although I have not seen first hand any of their work yet.
I know there are a few RM haters out there but the CC3 network the school currently has in place is working really well. I'm getting a bit nervous and questioning why the school want to change the network, especially with NSO's "bodge it and scarper" track record I keep hearing about.
18th January 2010, 08:20 PM #6
We had an RM network. The next logical step for us from 2.4 would have been CC3. We did not follow that route. Instead we deployed Viglen Classlink7. This was a mistake. The network never really settled down despite waiting for more than 3 years.
Originally Posted by Dexi
We now have a vanilla network which causes me some concern from time-to-time. I would like to have the confidence to be able to hand over to another my Technicians/another Network Manager without having the fear of leaving work/documentation undone.
For my money [and it is only an opinion] RM just make it easier. What is wrong with that? You have RM in place. They, apparently, have sorted most [some] of the issues so why not develop what you have in place already? You have made an investment in a solution which works. When it does not work you have the support of [in my experience] a responsive support team.
Stick with it.
18th January 2010, 08:26 PM #7
have a look at this thread - NS Optimum
18th January 2010, 08:53 PM #8
Only just noticed your location too. There are a couple of remaining NSO sites around here that I know of and I don't believe any of them are particularly happy with how things a running.
Have you sat down with whoever is recommending them at your school and discussed the wants and needs? What are they looking to get out of NSO that they aren't from RM? If you're a full time IT bod there, would it be worth getting some prices for the hardware and a vanilla system?
18th January 2010, 09:01 PM #9
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I did look through that thread but apart from the 1st page written in 2007 the rest is about their cold calling. I was trying to get a picture of the company today, their install quality etc.
Originally Posted by FN-GM
18th January 2010, 09:06 PM #10
i used them a few years ago. The work men where not flexible at all. For example they wouldn't attach a projector we provided to a mount they installed. I have since used these guys - http://www.accurateav.co.uk/ - they are far better
18th January 2010, 09:07 PM #11
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My problem is I am at the school once a fortnight for a few hours so will not get enough time to get the vanilla system running properly in the amount of time they have.
Originally Posted by synaesthesia
The school did speak to the schools mentioned in their brochure but obviously those schools spoke very highly of them... *cough* back handers *cough*
If you find out the schools that have had bad experiences of them, please let me know. It'd be much appreciated to hear what they have to say before a lot of money is spent.
18th January 2010, 09:41 PM #12
Will see if I can remember, in the same position as you and all of my current schools are RM based (I love my job, it's lovely and easy as a result!) - both of the bad ones were covers I've had to do :|
If you're only on site on a fortnightly basis, do they believe NSO's system will run itself as well as a CC3 system? (what is it they use these days?) Will it be easy enough for someone on site to add users, password resets and what not. Would they end up paying more in support than they would if they stuck with an RM system?
And what sort of hardware are they running? If it's not too bad, would it be worth a short-term and cheap fix - it's amazing how much a gig of ram in a PC will do for CC3, and even more so with a decent server and network infrastructure. Not quite as easy as CC4 to manage but having recently fitted out a primary with a brand spanking new CC3 server and upgrading/replacing the site systems and network (the primary concern was time, performance, reliability and ease of maintenance) - I'd be hard done by to recommend ANY other solution for someone in those circumstances. I might be sitting here singing RM's praises but credit where credit's due.
Either way - make sure you can get quotes organised from different places, and make damned sure they're aware of the pro's and con's between each - one system might be 5 grand less than another to set up but if it's gonna cost them 10 grand in support contracts or wages to support it, it'll be folly to consider.
18th January 2010, 11:02 PM #13
As an ex-employee(briefly tech support, then as an on-site engineer) I'd say their workstation quality is usually pretty good, my favorite were the Enlight cases they previously used. The cases used before those(pre 04/05 I think) really weren't all that. Their newer cases are built for them and are still pretty sturdy & well built cases. A lot of work goes into ensuring the cases used are both quick to build and sturdy. They only use intel boards/processors, obviously the cheaper workstations have "value" boards but they will always be intel branded.
As for the network setups they use intel server boards/chassis's and processors. The normal setup for an NS network is pretty much vanilla 2k3 server(possibly 2k8 now, I left at the end of 07) along with a custom user creation tool and an mmc snap-in providing links to the usual useful tools. To be honest if setup correctly a vanilla network will work just as well any other - routine tasks such as password resetting/user creation can be sorted out with custom MMC snap-ins if you need to pass those tasks onto end users.
While I was there the majority of customers were happy, most problems came down to scheduling clashes which led to projects not getting completed on time. Based on my recent dealings with them as a customer they've improved their internal processes since I left
I haven't admitted to having worked for them on here before but thought I'd offer an alternative viewpoint, they have some hard working people there especially in technical/production & onsite support... even sales aren't all that bad(wouldn't normally admit that, they've got big enough ego's already ) its a shame to see their hard work put down so much when some of the negative opinions floating around are based on past dodgy sales tactics that often took place pre 2006, things change and NSO is actually doing pretty well despite the never ending stream of negative rep they tend to get online.
19th January 2010, 12:27 PM #14
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Jamman, that almost proves the point though. The only people to defend them are people that have, or still do, work for them!
They have been very pushy with the school almost blackmailing them into a sale. Apparently declaring your interest in writing or via email is a legal binding contract according to their terms and conditions. It wouldn't stand up in court but has put the fear of god in to the school who now feel forced into the whole process.
The kit they are flogging is not even second rate, it's third. The prices might be cheap but how much does hardware 3/4 years out of date cost to box and ship out? What good is having intel boards if the computer is as quick as quadriplegic sloth and looks like one too?
They have also sold a network which will cost the school more money in support costs and offer no benefit compared to what they have got. It's irresponsible sales to make a quick buck without considering the needs of the school. It's a massive step back for the school for a huge cost and small primarys (and the pupils) will be paying the price for that for a long time to come!
>insert pages and pages of rant here<
19th January 2010, 10:17 PM #15
We're seriously thinking of using them
NS Optinum run a very hefty chunk of the ICT for a number of schools round here (I'm based in Rugby) I had a new IWB fitted by them a few months ago, within 2 days of picking up the phone to them and honestly the people they sent were brilliant!
The original board was fitted by a idiot from RM, and installers from NS threw in (for free) a new, better projector mount, and were more then happy to fix the ducting mess: moving network and power points, taking out some nasty looking coax and generally they went above what we expected from them! They even took away the packaging (RM's installers DON'T DO THIS!)
I've just had them in to quote for a new server + move to vanilla + wireless + lots of laptops and it's looking well priced - their support product looks like better value then the product we currently have from RM too.
We've not decided if we're going to switch over from RM yet, but they don't look like a bunch of cowboys.
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