07 October 2021

ParentPay Group News

Cloud-based, continuous improvement from Spring 2022 – Next Gen SIMS

By Mark Brant

Innovation, not disruption

We’d like to share with you the scale of the investment we’re making in ESS’ products, particularly SIMS; and explain how your feedback is informing how we intend to package and deploy SIMS products that will result from that investment.

This is our SIMS ‘Next Gen Project’. It is fuelled by your feedback and substantial funding and will allow SIMS to evolve continuously with ever improving capabilities that add value to your investment in SIMS.

Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll begin delivering on our plan to evolve SIMS. The components of Next Gen will be deployed as pure cloud-based applications and will sit alongside existing SIMS features, giving users the opportunity to move across at their own pace. Best of all, these improvements will begin to be delivered for all our SIMS schools at no additional cost, starting in Q1 2022.

If you would like to discuss this in more detail please get in touch.

Evolution, not revolution

Over the last 6 months, we’ve been speaking to educators, administrators and school leaders about their current and past experiences with MIS, the challenges they face in getting value from these systems and their priorities for the future. A reoccurring theme of these conversations was the challenge posed by moving MIS, whether within the SIMS family or between suppliers. Four key issues emerged:

  • Disruption: We heard that changing MIS can be highly disruptive to the smooth running of schools, requires significant resources, planning and retraining, and often requires major changes to established processes.
  • Data: Schools told us of their concern that switching MIS was potentially restrictive and could lead to the loss of years of valuable data and in many cases locking them into their new MIS because their supplier’s contract has no provision for MIS switching or data migration.
  • Choice: Schools take care in selecting their technology partners, investing heavily in these systems and in training staff to use them. Maintaining that choice is thus critical for many schools. Being forced to change partners as a result of changing MIS, because of a lack of partner integrations, is a significant issue for many of you.
  • Cost: Numerous schools spoke of the hidden costs of change – of staff time in particular – but also the costs of changing third party and internal systems and converting and migrating data to a new MIS. These upfront and on-going costs of managing new systems were important factors for many schools considering switching MIS.

SIMS remains the UK’s leading MIS with more features and functions, and many more users, than any of its competitors. Virtually every teaching and school administration professional understands it, and SIMS is supported by an unrivalled community of experts.

We recognise, however, that SIMS and FMS need investment to improve accessibility; provide users with a more modern user interface; simplify their functional organisation; add novel functionality; support deeper data analysis; and offer seamless integration for a wider range of third-party applications.

We are committed to investing in SIMS and want to do so in a way that addresses schools’ genuine concerns about upgrading their MIS. This speaks to a need to evolve SIMS rather than replace it wholesale, allowing schools to obtain the benefits of a modern MIS without the risks, costs and disruptions associated with changing systems.

We know how to do this and in the coming weeks and months we will begin delivering on our plan to evolve SIMS, turning words into actions that will be visible and available to all SIMS customers.

Our ‘Next Gen Project’ will allow SIMS to evolve continuously with ever improving capabilities that add value to your investment in SIMS. It will be delivered seamlessly, without disruption. Our investment in the future of school MIS will begin to deliver from Q1 2022.

Shaped by you

We strongly believe that embracing the latest technology and future-proofing the schools’ MIS strategy, doesn’t have to come with the risks, costs and disruption usually associated with a change of MIS. Rather than a painful migration, schools want:

  • timely and seamless delivery of incremental features as well as improved user experiences.
  • an MIS that retains the breadth and depth of functionality they enjoy every day, whether accessing it in school or at home.
  • continued secure access to historic data, and the tools to leverage that data, wherever that data is stored, should be given, not a bonus.
  • uninterrupted access to a choice of partner applications.

This is exactly what our Next Gen Project will deliver – all the benefits of the leading MIS, future proofed – without the risks and costs of a disruptive wholesale migration.

SIMS schools are already benefitting from the leading MIS. Feature rich and available on premise or in the cloud. From Q1 2022 we will also be offering enhanced browser-based access to all existing SIMS features, giving even more schools a cost effective and performant alternative to SIMS on premise.

Register your interest

SIMS was designed by its users, and we are committed to evolving SIMS with the needs of local authorities, schools, academies and trusts.

Virtually every teaching and school administration professional understands SIMS, and it is supported by an unrivalled community of experts.

As our investment in the future of school MIS begins, SIMS is destined to continuously deliver improved capabilities and value to customers.

Over the coming months, we’ll communicate more about our vision, roadmap and the functionalities that our customers will have access to.

You can register your interest in helping shape the future of SIMS using the link below. We’ll then be in touch when we have a pilot coming up that matches your interests.

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