7 Questions to Ask When Choosing an MIS for Your School

A powerful and effective Management Information System (MIS) is crucial to the successful running of any School or College. It’s a big decision to make, so you have to get it right; but with such a variety of platforms to choose from, how do you decide which is the right one for you?

Based on our experience, we’ve devised the following questions for you to ask to help you pick the MIS that will be the most effective for your school.

    1. Do the features meet your essential needs?
    2. Where will the MIS be hosted?
    3. What support is provided?
    4. Is the system scalable?
    5. Does it integrate with other software you use?
    6. How easy is it to change systems?
    7. Is it cost-effective?

1. Do the features meet your essential needs?

It sounds obvious, but this fundamental basis for choosing your Management Information System can often get lost in a maze of enticing and ‘top of the range’ features. They might look fantastic and sound amazing, but the chances are that you won’t need every single element an MIS provider can offer.

We’d recommend revisiting the most important objectives you need your MIS to fulfil and check them off against the features available. If the system meets your vital needs, then great – but don’t get caught out sacrificing an important requirement for additional exciting features; you may regret it later!

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2. Where will the MIS be hosted?

Your Management Information System will either be web-based or hosted onsite.

Generally, we’d recommend hosting it on the web, but it’s worth speaking to your IT team to decide which is right for you; there are pluses and minuses for both.

If you have experienced technicians who are familiar with SQL, then you may prefer to host it on your servers. Otherwise, we’d definitely suggest finding a web-based MIS which can be securely stored and managed in the cloud. Just make sure that if you choose a hosted solution you receive weekly updates, and that if you go with an on-site solution you are covered by regular backups.

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3. What support is provided?

How many times have you heard the words “technical difficulties”? We may not like to admit it, but sometimes things go wrong. What’s important is finding an MIS provider who’s transparent and honest when problems do arise and, even more crucially, have solid support functions in place to make sure these impact you as little as possible; whether it’s a dedicated Help Desk team, Account Manager or otherwise, it’s paramount that you feel fully supported – and regardless of potential time differences.

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4. Is the system scalable?

When you’re looking at a Management Information System, you’re looking for something that will provide long-term solutions; you don’t want to be moving your data across to new platforms at the beginning of each new academic year.

So, make sure you find something that’s future-proof by ensuring you can scale the system up as your school community grows. As an added bonus, find something adaptable where you can add or remove certain features as you find your needs evolve and change, without having to commit to entire additional packages in the first instance.

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5. Does it integrate with other software you use?

As important as an MIS is, there are additional software applications that might be significant to the running of your school. However, it would be much easier if these could be integrated with your MIS to ensure everything works in tandem, without you having to duplicate work across two or more different systems.

So, when selecting which system to go with, it would be worth checking which APIs are supported and how much this would impact the current day-to-day running of your school.

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6. How easy is it to change systems?

So, you’ve got the answers to the questions above and you think you’ve found the right system for you. Now it’s time to consider how you might transfer your data across to a new MIS. Namely, whether or not the new system supports data migration from your existing platform. Ideally, you’re looking for as smooth a migration process as possible, and absolutely one that brings all your significant data across to the new platform.

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7. Is it cost-effective?

Last, but certainly not least: budgets.

A Management Information System is one of the most important technological investments your school will make, which is why you need to be sure you’re making the right choice for you and that you’re getting the best possible value for money. Have a clear budget in mind when approaching suppliers for a new MIS, including any circumstances where you might be willing to be a bit more flexible, and finding something without substantial upfront costs would be a bonus.

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We hope this will help you find the right Management Information System for you, but if you have any questions then please get in touch. Our dedicated support team are available to help you identify your MIS requirements and discuss some potential solutions – get in touch.