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School MIS technologies compared

School MIS technologies compared

What's wrong with good old reliable technology?

When MIS (management information systems) were first introduced in to schools, the hardware arrived in boxes and the software on discs. The school computer system lived in the school office and was never accessed by the teaching staff.

In the context of today's busy Independent Schools the need to operate more efficiently and quickly as a whole school team quickly reveals this old approach as limited and outdated. Teaching staff, and now more frequently parents expect to be able to interact with school data from their own homes, which of course is now easily possible due to the explosion in popularity of home broadband internet.

Systems with their foundations in the old way of client-server computing (i.e. hardware installed on site at school) will always be a compromise in the new world environment.

High reliability with low total cost of ownership

Major software suppliers, such as Microsoft, are moving rapidly towards online delivery of software as the most cost effective way of improving reliability and collaboration between ’Information Workers’.  Internet connected software and email are already ubiquitous. 

Moreover, moving away from old style installed software removes significant in-house costs for schools in installing, maintaining and upgrading applications and new hardware, as well as maintenance charges and on-going training.

How do the different core technologies compare in today's world?

  Plus! for Schools
(web based)
Old Style
Available anytime, anywhere1 Y N N Maybe, but capacity limited
Full set up in 1 week Y N N N
Access for all staff Y N N Maybe
Extra licence per user £0, included £xx £xx £xx
Hosted in secure data centre Y N N N
Hosted on school servers N Y Y Y
Low cost internet connection Y N/A N/A N
High cost symmetric internet connection N N/A N/A Y2
Requires In-house IT expertise Not required Y Y Y
Features matched to Independent Schools Y N N Some
Requires extensive learning and training Not required Ongoing Ongoing Ongoing3
Hands on support Instant, via the internet

Site visit

Site visit

Site visit

Controlled parental access to data Included N N Maybe4
  1. Virtually any internet connected computer. Windows, MAC and Linux PCs can be used in any combination.
  2. Hybrid systems require expensive symmetric broadband connections to enable more than one or two users to work remotely at the same time - cost typically £4k/yr vs standard broadband for as little as £10/month.
  3. Ongoing user training can be as much as one week per person per year @1,000 per day for some well known systems
  4. Note school is responsible for network and server security

Read more about Plus! for Schools:

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