Neil Gregory, Customer Success Director and Co-Founder of North West-based The ONTO Group https://theontogroup.com , a bespoke data management service provider, shares his insights into the key considerations when sourcing a MIS solution for your school or college.
MIS (Management Information System) solutions underpin the effective management of educational establishments and are required to ensure the filing of key information such as pupil/staff data, Timetables, Exam Results and Assessments.
They are often implemented initially to collate and record data, in an attempt to reduce administrative time and support day-to-day operations. However, when used to their full potential they can be a powerful tool to inform strategies and aid decision-making.
We have recently witnessed a substantial increase in the number of schools seeking new MIS solutions, following a significant change in offering within the industry, particularly with the increasing preference for remote working and flexible work patterns.
Although many schools have already made the switch, they have done so with little or no information on the advantages and disadvantages of each of the systems that they are faced with – one solution does not fit all.
Traditionally most schools utilised, and still do, ESS Simms.
However, with the growing popularity of cloud-based solutions such as those offered by Arbor, Scholarpack, RM Integris, and Bromcom MIS, we are seeing many schools choosing to migrate to a system which is more suited to those with a requirement for data to be accessed remotely.
We estimate that a few years back approximately 75% of schools were using ESS Simms, however in recent times, this figure is now 68%. *(source: https://bringmoredata.blogspot.com/)
This preference for cloud-based data management grew of course through the pandemic and we are seeing the continuation of this as school staff appreciate the flexibility of access that some of the new systems are affording.
Other considerations include the ability of the system to handle data across multiple schools such as required by Multi-Academy Trusts for example, allowing a wider group perspective and facilitating the sharing of key information such as School Demographics, Attendance, and behaviour data.
As well as the statutory recording, you should be able to utilise your chosen MIS to remove many of the cumbersome, time-consuming tasks, as well as introducing new systems of analysis and 360 feedback and measurement, providing data to have a positive impact on pupil outcomes.
Data Migration & Cleansing
Should the decision be made to move to another MIS system, then the migration of the data, and how this is managed is a further matter for discussion. It also offers an ideal opportunity for data cleansing.
Done professionally, this should be stress-free and seamless, with no loss of data.