Solution Technologies Compared
Not all school MIS systems - even those based on the same technology - are created equal. Use this guide to understand what to look for and compare solutions based on different technologies.

Top Tip

Compare on a like-for-like basis

With web based solutions, there can be a world of difference in their level of security, ease of use and adaptability. Keep in mind with all systems, that the technology is only part of the solution you'll need - expertise and support are what actually make it do useful things.

With Plus4Schools, initial setup, training, data import as well as ongoing support, maintenance and training are all part of the package.

Top Tip

What's wrong with good old reliable technology?

In the context of today's busy Independent Schools the need to operate more efficiently as a whole school team soon reveals the importance of being able to access reliable information created or curated by other members of staff. Outdated or limited access systems that lock data on personal laptops or inaccessible departmental and office silos are no longer fit for purpose.

Teaching staff - and parents - expect to be able to interact with school data from their own homes and use tablet or mobile devices.

Systems with their foundations in the old way of client-server computing (i.e. hardware installed on site at school) will always be a compromise in today's mobile connected world, but fully cloud based systems can also have issues with knowing where sensitive data is being stored - an area rightly gaining more focus since the introduction of GDPR.

Top Tip

Data security should be your first priority, not an afterthought

Keep in mind that whichever technology foundation you choose, all systems are now connected to the outside world in one way or another. Keeping sensitive data secure requires specialist knowledge and skill. Paradoxically, despite being open to the internet, fully web based systems like Plus4Schools are more secure than servers you have in school because they have to be to work at all.

To be sure that App based, hybrid or in school systems have the same level of data access protection, not to mention physical security to protect against theft, requires time consuming diligence and considerable investment in expensive expert level skills.

At Plus4Schools, we protect your reputation as a trustworthy school by keeping your data securely, backed up and available whenever you need it.

How different core technologies compare

Criteria Plus4Schools Other web based Hybrid Installed
Available anytime, anywhere Yes1 May require specific browser Maybe No
Device compatibility Windows, Apple, Android, IoS
Desktop, Tablet, Mobile
May be limited to specific devices May have different user interface for school and home working Specific, configured, compatible machines only
Configuration Zero configuration, use on demand App based products require installation, configuration & maintenance All limitations of Installed option, plus network connectivity issues Typically not configurable by the school. Changes can work out costly.
Full set up in 1 week Yes Check No No
Access for all staff Yes Check No No
Extra licence per user £0, included £xx £xx £xx
Hosted in secure data centre Yes Check No No
Hosted on school servers Yes No Yes Yes
Low cost internet connection Yes Check requirements No N/A
High cost symmetric internet connection No Check requirements Yes2 N/A
Requires In-house IT expertise No Check Yes Yes
Features matched to Independent Schools Yes Maybe Maybe Maybe
Requires extensive learning and training No Check Yes3 Yes3
Hands on support Yes, remotely Check Site visit Site visit
Controlled parental access to data Yes, personalised Yes, but may be generic Check Maybe4
  1. Virtually any internet connected computer. Windows, Apple and Linux PCs as well as Android and Apple tablets and mobile devices can be used in any combination.
  2. Hybrid systems require expensive symmetric broadband connections to enable more than one or two users to work remotely at the same time - cost typically £4k/yr vs standard broadband for as little as £10/month.
  3. Ongoing user training can be as much as one week per person per year @£1,000 per day for some well known systems
  4. Note school is responsible for network and server security