Choosing the right student information system (SIS) for your school is no small task. After all, it’s going to be used daily by parents, students, faculty, and staff. An SIS should be secure, accessible, easy to use, and so much more. Here are five things to look for in your student information system to ensure it’s the right solution for your school
1. Fully Web-Based, Cloud-Hosted, and Secure
With a web-based platform, your community can access important data from anywhere on any browser — no VPN, local client, or special hardware needed. Moving important tasks online means more efficient operations and happier users. Flexibility is the name of the game (something schools felt acutely in 2020). All members of your community should be able to access data from anywhere, and complete essential tasks like running reports, paying tuition, accessing assignments, and more with minimal downtime.
This being said, the SIS should still have strict security measures in place, like granular security roles and multi-factor authentication. In addition, the security advantages of a modern cloud-hosted server allows you to automate manual security tasks so you can shift your focus to scaling and innovating your school.
2. Real Integration With One Database of Record
While most solutions claim to be integrated, it doesn’t mean they always are. If there are multiple databases within one system, it’s not integrated. If you have to always sync, import, or export data, your operations are inefficient and you run the risk of your data becoming outdated. Of course you might still have other applications in addition to your student information system. How will your SIS work with these applications? Your SIS provider should have a powerful API, so you have one database of record but can use the SIS data to update other apps
3. Comprehensive Features
Student information systems can’t do everything, but it should do a lot of things. Make sure to think through critical workflows that may not be the most “flashy” but that are used every day. How will you manage your school’s calendar and events, student behavior and comments, parent/teacher conferences, attendance, transportation, visitor management, etc.
4. Product Roadmap
Does the vendor of your school SIS ever produce new products? Do they communicate their roadmaps and deliver on time? Are they dedicated to systems for K12 education and serving the needs of schools, or does their portfolio of products intersect with all different types of business?
You should look for a partner that offers products that are always improving and flexible so they can suit the future of your school. When evaluating a new SIS, ask for an example of their product roadmap.
5. Customer Satisfaction and Proven Success
Your SIS should provide a good user experience for parents, students, faculty, and staff. It should be intuitive, flexible, and easy to update as well. Most importantly, it should be easy for parents to quickly find information about their children and complete essential tasks.
Check to see how long the vendor has been in the industry and if their current customers like the product. Customer stories can be a great resource for this.
Your SIS is the foundation for your school systems and operations and is the most important technology for your campus..