If your school isn’t using an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to its fullest potential or not using one at all, you’re in good company. Leveraging technology platform’s many features and integrating with other less obvious applications is a process of patient prioritization, but the results are worth it.
Jagran Public Schools, in Kanpur, uses an integrated School Management System, EDUMAAT, to manage the school’s activities for 550 fulltime employees and 10,000 students across six schools, including the transportation department, and other support assets.
EDUMAAT’s core system features a single database that integrates all Educational activities like examination, time table, unified calendar and lesson plans, financial, human resources, and procurement information throughout the group, centralizing data and processes. A single source of truth for managing the school or your institution, reducing redundancy, increasing efficiency, and improving data quality and integrity.
Additionally, this school management solution can integrate with other applications and specialized solutions, thus performing at a higher level of accuracy in enabling better resource management within your school. In our case, integration was part of optimizing processes for two priority initiatives: transforming from a manual school management process to technology enabled automation for better planning and financial management.
An Approach for school management system Optimization
If you have a modern integrated school management system, understanding and using all of its features might seem like a daunting task. By first determining what you’d like the system to do, you can evaluate and add the applications available to the ERP, thus making it a better-performing system.
Here are a few recommendations for maximizing what your school management solution can do for your schools:
- Identify problems. Focus on processes that may be inefficient, waste manpower, appear costly, or are cumbersome. The institute may already have a hot list.
- Identify opportunities. There may be a better way to do something.
- Think beyond your department. Consider not just the accounting department, but everyone in the organization who touches or is involved in the process.
- Dissect your School ERP system. Study your system to better understand its features as well as complementary applications. Review your vendor’s resource materials and case studies for other districts that your vendor has helped.
- Talk to your vendor. Make an appointment with your vendor’s representative and share your integration goals. Also ask for optimization recommendations. Good reps know your system, what you’re doing now, and where you can go.
- Don’t request an RFP just yet. Don’t rush to send a request for proposals until you talk with your vendor! You may be buying something you already have; you may pay more than you would for a plug-in application to your system; or you may acquire an application that won’t integrate well with your platform.
Selecting a Good school management System
Change is never easy, but an integrated school management system will be more efficient, will create cost savings, will improve transparency, and more. Here are a few recommendations to consider when selecting your system:
- School-curriculum-ready features. Make sure your system is designed for the unique aspects of school curriculum and includes built-in workflows and productivity tools. It should also be user-friendly and intuitive.
- Integration. Evaluate what you need now, but also consider how your institute will use the system over time. Look at the unique features you can leverage and other applications you will want to integrate.
- Cloud-based computing. Select a vendor who offers both hosted and on-premise deployment to meet the specific needs of your institute.
- Upgrades. Be sure you understand how upgrades work and how much, if anything, they cost.
- Quality vendor. Select an established vendor. You don’t want a vendor that is here today and gone tomorrow, leaving you stranded with an expensive system no one else will support. Here’s where to find a clue: look at the vendor’s R and D commitment to weed out vendors with no tangible commitment to the future.
- Price. Don’t buy on price alone. You know the old adage: you get what you pay for.
- Vendor support. Make sure your vendor offers more than a help desk for support. Ideally, you will have a representative—a person you will come to know—who will be your partner, not just a vendor.
Whether you need a new school management system or you have untapped capabilities, it’s worth taking the time to explore options. In the end, you’ll look like the hero, and it will be a big win for your school and your students.