Circle Opinion

What do you get from your education software provider?

Marcus Le Brocq

The education software and integrated systems that you use to underpin your education services and processes are vital to the effective and efficient operation and oversight of your services. From early years to admissions and transfers, SEND/ALN to virtual school services, technology plays a fundamental role in efficient, effective and fair educational services to meet increasingly complex objectives. But what are your services getting from your software providers? From initial training through to ongoing support and maintenance, your providers play an important role themselves in sustaining your services.

Selecting the right technology means selecting the right partner. It’s not simply a case of buying a system and then switching it on. There’s an implementation to be planned and programmed, data to be exported, cleansed and imported. Then there are ongoing support needs and updates required over time to keep the system secure, compliant and supporting your evolving needs.

Getting started with your education software

Once a decision has been made, how are you going to get your team up to speed with your new education software? Ensuring that training is included in the procurement process is essential. So too is agreeing costs for any extra sessions, such as training and development.

Running parallel to this is ensuring that the configuration of local process covers everything you need. We’ve seen many cases where authorities have purchased the minimum viable product to meet procurement thresholds. They’ve then found layer upon layer of additional cost once they’ve gone live. These costs cover anything from additional infrastructure to third party licence agreements in order to get the system working.

Understanding these hidden extras can greatly help in gaining a more accurate cost of your education software. Building upon minimum viable products can be timely as well as expensive. Mapping this all out can minimise friction and disruption upon implementation. Better still, identifying a partner which has the experience and capability to work with local issues out of the box brings everything into scope upfront. Understanding how ongoing changes will be managed further helps to achieve your objectives over time.

How will your education software be updated?

Another issue we see repeatedly is the downtime associated with upgrades and maintenance. This covers everything from enhancements to the software to critical security patches. Standalone systems can help with this. They can help in greatly reducing the time your software is unavailable for. Any necessary work can also be conducted at times that best suit you.

Where your education software is linked to another piece of software within the same suite of products, updating one facet requires the downtime of everything else, too. So, for example, if your education software provider needs to update another system that is entirely unrelated to education and the work you do, but sits on the same architecture, it will mean that your software will be unavailable whilst their systems are updated.

IMPULSE Nexus – what you see is what you get

CACI has designed its IMPULSE Nexus education software to suit the needs of local authorities like yours. It is modular by design, so you can pick up and plug in the parts that you need. This means you’re free to use as much or as little of IMPULSE Nexus as your needs require.

All our pricing is upfront and transparent. You don’t have to pay for the bits of the software that you don’t need. This helps you manage your overarching software ecosystem that can use IMPULSE Nexus as part, or the heart of it.

Like everyone else, we do conduct upgrade work to IMPULSE Nexus. As a standalone system, however, we can work with you on the best time to conduct these. There are three every year, so there’s always advance warning and time to make arrangements. We also offer a hosting solution which means that we can carry out these upgrades for you as a fully managed service. This further reduces friction and minimises downtime.

Furthermore, as IMPULSE Nexus is a standalone system, any upgrade work won’t impact your integrated systems.

Where you need further support from the team at CACI, our costs are transparent and upfront. Our annual advisory service (AAS) days are bookable in advance or as and when you need them. These are designed to help you with everything from project management to additional training. You can find out more here.

IMPULSE Nexus is used by authorities across the UK, including Birmingham City Council. You can find out more about how it uses IMPULSE Nexus to handle its admissions process here.

If you would like more information on IMPULSE Nexus, please visit our website here.

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Marcus Le Brocq