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Why it may be time to rethink your current Student Information System (SIS)


It’s safe to say most school districts already have a student information system (SIS) in place. After all, a SIS platform plays an essential role in allowing students to easily access their class schedules, examination timetables, grades, and other key information from a centralized portal. 

One problem: how are you planning for the future? As technology evolves, standards rise, and the needs of students and faculty change over time — how do you ensure that your SIS stays relevant?

At some point, you will have to consider how your current SIS platform fits into your school district’s long-term vision. 

Here’s how you can evaluate the performance of your current SIS, so you can better decide whether it’s time to upgrade.

Why Staying Up-To-Date Matters

It’s important to position your school district for long-term success, and nothing impacts your day-to-day operations more than your SIS solution. Having access to a best-in-class platform allows you to modernize your efforts and improve the experience you offer to your students, staff, and administrators.

A brand new SIS deployment might result in:

  • Higher productivity: From admissions to course selection, library management, human resources, and scheduling, automated ERPs reduce the amount of time and effort needed to handle every aspect of school administration. Over time, students and teachers alike get more out of working at school.
  • New features: Does your current SIS have all the functionality you need? Does it provide digitization or automation opportunities? For instance, you might still want to add in student attendance tracking or examination results processing. Chances are that the first SIS you chose doesn’t cover every need you have, so it makes sense to ensure the next upgrade covers everything you need.
  • Better digital security: Cybercrime won’t wait for you to catch up. New developments in digital security and backups will prevent a school from losing its sensitive personal data in the event of a breach. Not only can you prevent the latest attacks from occurring, but backup solutions help keep data safe even after incident response.
  • Integration across departments: Education involves more than managing students. Behind every school district are the countless teachers, support staff, administrators, accounting teams, and more. Having a platform that can integrate core human resources & payroll, finance, and student management data into one centralized system is a must-have for school districts looking to future-proof their solutions.

Overall, schools adopting newer software enjoy better efficiency and subsequently more resources available for boosting student progress and success.

When Should You Consider an Upgrade?

The ongoing pandemic forced modern education to switch to remote learning virtually overnight, greatly accelerating the need to use digital tools and software. The results were fairly mixed, with some classrooms struggling to get everything running.

This scenario is exactly what you’re trying to address when you’re upgrading the SIS. While the current one might get you where you need to go today, can it take you to where you want to go tomorrow? Think about how new features and improvements can help and check with the market for education-focused ERP solutions for the answers.

But first, here are the questions to ask yourself to evaluate your current SIS deployment.

Are the Users Satisfied with Current Productivity?

When students go to class, are they frustrated by even basic tasks like updating their own contact details, checking their examination schedules, or interacting with the library management system? Are teachers having trouble applying new grades because of issues with the software? Is the administration pleased with overall performance?

Aging infrastructure means more difficulty in completing basic daily tasks at school. If there isn’t enough automation helping out day-to-day, then there’s a lot of wasted time and effort spent running the school that could’ve been better used working on more productive tasks like teaching.

These individual tools also must work together and communicate to unlock the benefits of an integrated digital transformation. For instance, a library’s late fee must integrate with the financial management system to process payment.

Is Communication Easy?

Almost everyone is familiar with Internet-enabled communication nowadays with social media sites and various Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) apps running on all our devices. If you’ve ever made a video call through Skype or held a class through Zoom, you understand the strengths of these technologies.

While we likely won’t have to be attending class from home all the time in the future, having digital communication as a priority in your student information system goes a long way to ensuring proper engagement with parents and their children alike.

Parents need real-time visibility into their children’s performance at school. Communication through not only email but also instant messaging and VoIP should also be available in case parents want to speak with instructors directly.

Does the Platform Integrate with Third-Party EdTech Solutions?

We’re at the point where school districts are adopting multiple education technology (EdTech) products for the job. Zoom is one of the most popular examples, as it was used extensively for remote class sessions.

Ideally, an SIS platform would be capable of integrating with these tools through APIs. This feature allows for additional capabilities to be added on later in case needs change in the future. Does your ERP solution have partner integrations available? If not, then it’s time to upgrade.

Are You Properly Taking Advantage of Data Analytics For Improved Decision-Making?

There is a ton of real-time data you could be collecting at school: test averages for individual instructors, attendance rates for students, and payment schedules for parents are only a few examples. SIS platforms can collect this information automatically and generate useful reports and charts on the trends.

Like any collected data, running analytics on this information can result in actionable insights that can be used for better decision-making in the future. The business sector calls this practice Data-Driven Decision Making (DDDM), and it’s in high demand because it works incredibly effectively.

What DDDM does is break down data silos, allowing for information to be viewed across multiple modules of the school. In our library late fee example discussed in a previous section, SIS technology opens our eyes to trends like certain books or classes causing the most late fees or certain teachers correlating with poor or better than usual test performance.

Does your student information system collect this data effectively and present it in readable charts and graphs for you? Is there a dashboard to look at all the information holistically? If not, then it’s time to upgrade.

Empower Your Students Through an Education-Focused ERP Solution

The breakneck speed of technological innovation means today’s school districts are collecting more data than ever before. While a standalone SIS may be the ideal starting point for most schools, long-term success requires a fully integrated platform designed around the needs of your school district.   

Are you looking to unify the flow of data between your essential systems? To improve decision-making across your school district? Book a demo and discover how the fully integrated Edsembli Ecosystem can unify your school district, from student management to finance.

Book your demo with an Edsembli education specialist today

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