A separate LMS causes you unnecessary duplication, increases risk of error and often requires manual intervention to resolve these problems. Due to different technologies the perfect SMS, LMS and Online Assessment tool combination is improbable!
One of the main reasons Training Organisations come to us is because they are just sick and tired of trying to wedge another piece of software into their already crammed business processes.
We've taken these complaints on board and did the typical 'engineer thing'. If something doesn't work what can we do to fix it. So, we started by identifying the 10 most common reasons people are frustrated with 'system clutter'
- Double, triple and quadruple data entry is boring
- The more data I must enter the more mistakes I make
- Each time I enter the data I must remember how I entered it in the other system, otherwise I get messy, inconsistent data.
- When I try to get a student’s details I have to login to multiple systems to get the whole picture. (and remember the password for each)
- After a night out, I can't remember which systems I did or didn't update
- If one of my colleagues’ changes data in one system, I don't know what changes she's made that affect the other systems. I have to chase everyone up!
- Every time the developers update my systems I have to relearn which ever ones have changed and figure out how a change in one affects my data in another.
- If a student calls on the phone I have to open multiple systems to answer his questions in a live conversation.
- When my boss asks me for a report I've got to give him 10 pieces of paper for one record and teach him how to work it out.
- There must be easier ways to go insane!
I think you get the picture.
Good people like good systems and they won't hang around fixing, patching and taking on unnecessary responsibility for poor data integrity and general inefficiency.
You might have noticed we make a big deal about our slogan "One Holistic Training Management System", but these aren't just fancy words invented by our marketing department. We have a complete set of business practices, software techniques and expertise that stand behind that slogan. The key is comprehensive data migration and integration that allow changes in one system to feed through transparently to another. Ideally you work with the system that best suits your business role work style. There are two stages you need to consider:
Stage 1 - Data Migration
This is a one-off process to get the systems initially synchronised from day one. Our Database experts write complete data migration scripts in the time it would take you or I to write a Facebook post. For each data set we decide which system is the source of truth and we make that the master for future data exchanges. Of course, if you're replacing the system there should be no need to ever do this again. Just back it up and put it out to pasture.
Stage 2 - Integration
This is an ongoing process, so we need to look at a few options and decide what is going to:
- Give the best data integrity
- Respond to data changes in a suitable time frame
- Match the technical capabilities of your business
- Consider what happens if systems can't communicate with each other
- Keep the integrated systems secure so we're not breaching company privacy and security policies
- Manage changes when one or other software vendor releases new updates.
Some important points to consider
Synchronisation using export / import files can be nice and easy. Its usually a good first step. But
- (a) transferring data around in excel files is not secure, and
- (b) it won't work in real-time situations.
For example: if a student is in the process of making an online enrolment he won't be happy about having to wait until 3:00 AM in the morning for the TMS and the Billing systems to synchronise in order to get his online payment processed. In these situations, real-time data transfer using secure web services is a much better solution.
You need to match technology to the practical capabilities of your technical environment. For example, if we were to provide a web service to enable your HR or ERP system to communicate with your TMS. But if you can't get the support of your ERP vendors to deliver their end of the bargain then the web service option will be impractical.
Look at systems where the developers of the integration solution have capabilities in the two or more systems involved. For example, Bluegem is a Microsoft Partner, so already we know how to give you complete integrated solutions for SharePoint, Dynamics, Office 365 - etc... Fortunately, many organisations use Microsoft products and for them comprehensive integrations for Bluegem at least are that much easier.
If you thought buying a Student Management System based purely on its standalone merits would be the answer to your system prayers, sorry to say this - but think again. Unless your new Student Management System can play nicely with your existing systems, the likelihood is you will make very little difference to overall business performance, if any at all.