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Switching MIS – Why should your school switch, and how difficult is it?

Switching MIS – Why should your school switch, and how difficult is it?

/ Liza Adebisi

For a school to be managed effectively, technology is of the utmost importance. All schools use management systems to store their data, run operations and communicate.

MIS (or Management Information Systems) are at the core of the school’s organisational infrastructure; however, only some schools realise the full potential of an MIS and all the things it can do. While management systems are generally used to save some time and lift the burden of admin tasks, the most forward-thinking schools also use MIS to empower their school improvement strategies and direct their vision.

In order to do this, schools must first and foremost ask themselves what are they currently getting from their existing MIS and are there any better solutions out there?

The reasons for switching MIS

Any school should have a checklist of what their MIS is doing for them and compare it with the things they would like it to do.

One obvious question must have been whether the MIS was accessible from home or places outside the school during the current pandemic, i.e. whether the MIS is actually cloud-based. If the answer is no, and the school is still using an on-premise management system or one that is complicated to access, then the need for the switch is undoubtedly urgent.

A modern management system must be accessible anywhere, anytime

We’ve all come to be much more appreciative of Cloud technologies since the pandemic outbreak. Cloud has made it possible for many people to connect and work from home while schools and offices were closed and public transport could not be used.

For schools worldwide, it has meant that lessons could be moved online, and remote teaching and learning could be facilitated. A continuation of routine has been possible only thanks to the revolutionary digitisation every sector is experiencing.

The advantages offered by Cloud MIS systems used in schools are substantial and not limited to the current period. A modern school needs a system that is reliably accessible anytime and anywhere. This ensures that pupils are not left behind when physical presence in schools is not possible; it also ensures that all operations continue to run smoothly in those times in which the school building may be closed and not reachable.

At Bromcom, we want to give modern schools all the agility they need to run smoothly, and with this in mind, we offer an entirely cloud-based MIS, easy to access by simply connecting to the internet with your web browser. Nothing needs to be installed to ensure secure access from any location.

The need for a cloud-hosted solution was one of the reasons Reading School switched to Bromcom. Dominic Taylor, Chief Operations Officer and GDPR Lead at the school, has said:

“We had the hosted MIS version onsite (or on-premise management system). When you come and look at the servers, and server upgrades, the amount of time and effort it takes to redeploy and upgrade hosted servers, was one of my main motivations to switch.”

A modern school should look for an all-in-one solution that will save cost and time

In order for teachers and students to be more invested in teaching and learning and not burdened dealing with systems that are too slow and obsolete to meet demand, schools must empower them with more flexible solutions, comprehensive of multiple options and able to automate multiple tasks.

Whilst, outside of legacy solutions, it is common to find cloud-based MIS nowadays, it is still relatively infrequent for suppliers to offer a variety of functionalities included as part of the one platform.

For instance, some essential features that most MIS tend to lack are Finance and Safeguarding. When these tools are not comprehended within the main management system, schools must make up for the lack of resources, look for add-on options and inevitably bear the extra cost these come with.

Not just that, but having to implement extra add-ons creates the need for additional training time because school staff will have to learn to use different platforms. This can also cause isolation of data and undermine the possibility of accessing one point of truth or gaining a holistic view of all the data.

Bromcom is a one-stop-shop solution, able to multi-task and comprehensive of different integrated functions. Safeguarding, communication tools and financial management are just three examples of functionalities integrated within the platform and accessible through the same login. At the same time, the MIS is able to automate and perform multiple daily and administrative tasks.

Nick Berryman, Assistant Headteacher at Devonport High School, has said:

“We want to go to one system with single sign-on, and from a teaching point of view – if I’m going to put it into simplistic terms, I want to go in the classroom, I want to log on, I want to do my register, do my behaviour bits in there and that’s it; I don’t want to be going to logging into five, six, seven different systems to do that.”

Saving on expenditure cost

Our platform is designed to reduce workload and capital expenditure over time significantly.

Considering the cumulative expenditures that schools must bear over the years for running, maintaining and updating older on-premise systems, or even newer systems that are simply not comprehensive of the variety of necessary functions, schools face enormous costs.

Bromcom’s cloud-based platform can save schools thousands of pounds each year. Expensive add-ons are not needed because one platform is able to integrate most other functionalities. Plus, updates are easily added, as the MIS is web-based and easy to manipulate.

What next? 

Once a decision has been made as to whether the MIS in use meets the school demands or not, schools can proceed to purchase a new system – or not. In the case in which the current MIS is deemed to be ineffective, then the decision to buy a new one is only hindered, in some instances, by the concern that the switch could present some challenges for the staff (new technical difficulties, or having to schedule extra time for transitioning, etc.).

This does not need to be the case.

Migrating to a new MIS can be seamlessly managed

At Bromcom, we commit to ensuring our MIS’s successful implementation in all schools, MATs and LAs we work with.

We adapt to timescales and requirements, which vary from instance to instance, so every school receives a dedicated team of people to support and help manage the change. Whether the school needs to push for a contractual deadline or rather take things at a slower pace, our experts are on hand to get a new system up and running.

We understand that every school is different, so we’ll tailor the project to each establishment’s needs.

Moreover, data integrity is key to our business. We understand how critical data security is to the successful adoption of a new MIS, which is why we fully comply with UK GDPR requirements.

Bromcom migrates a huge amount of data, including all staff and pupil records, attendance and behaviour tracking reports, etc. We migrate five years’ worth of data as standard with additional years available upon request. That includes all students who have enrolled in school at any time during the past five years. Scope documents are available for all migrations, so each school can feel confident about what will be included.

Our onboarding migration procedures have been developed over several years and are remarkably efficient.

Micahel Jones, IT Manager at Embrace Trust, has said:

“We have Bromcom as a trust-wide solution and have been using it for a little over 12 months.

  • Migration (which most people worry about) is seamless, quite literally. 
  • Software is intuitive and generally very user friendly. 
  • The system is constantly evolving and developing. 
  • The team listen to feedback and make changes accordingly.” 

To find out more about all our products or explore our tools, just drop us a line or call us; we are always happy to help.

/ Liza Adebisi