Veracross has its origins in the summer of 2002. Some friends of mine had decided to start a brand new K-8 independent school outside of Boston. Being focused on acquiring a building and hiring faculty for the fall, they didn’t have a technology plan. Thinking it would be an interesting diversion from my day job, I decided to build a little system to manage students, parents, faculty, admissions, grades, attendance, and behavior. My efforts were greatly assisted, as my toolbox contained an application framework I had spent the previous five years designing and building, that enabled the rapid development of applications that integrate, manage, and process data across many departments.
This fledgling SIS, which we called “SIMS” (School Information Management System) launched in September 2002 and was an instant success. It was fully web-based, and it launched with portals for Faculty, Parents, and Students. The Parent and Student portals were both of particular interest to me, and were a big part of why I agreed to build the system in the first place. I was intrigued with the idea of using the web to bring together constituencies that previously were excluded from the typical enterprise software of the day, namely Parents and Students. All of a sudden, Students and Parents could check homework, grades, and report-cards online, and Faculty could easily communicate about attendance, assignments, behavior, health, etc. to Students and Parents alike through SIMS.
Although this project was never intended to go beyond helping a few friends, I was repeatedly encouraged to shop SIMS around to other schools. About a year later, I found myself in the boardroom of an 800+ student independent K-12 school in NH demoing SIMS to the head of school and his leadership team. Although I had no educational software experience outside of SIMS, I had spent the previous 10+ years building and supporting enterprise software for our commercial clients. It was this experience, plus the NH school’s desire to consolidate their myriad disconnected systems, that led to the first paying Veracross client.
After successfully deploying Veracross at our first “real” school, we rapidly added more clients. Looking back, I believe our early success was due to a fully integrated platform (one database which serves all departments), hosted delivery (eliminating the need for overburdened IT departments to manage an on premise solution), a willingness to customize (no two schools are alike), and a passion for service (the conventional model of simply providing a help-desk and user’s manual is often not up to the task of ensuring the success of complex enterprise software – something more is needed). We still believe these four defining traits are what makes Veracross special, and we remain fully committed to them 13 years later.
Today we are closing in on 200 clients. We have schools in 24 countries. We focus exclusively on independent schools. We are hiring. We just filled our brand new office space that we acquired less than a year ago. Last June we launched our second-generation, state-of-the-art, Web 3.0 software platform (Axiom), that powers much of the Veracross experience. We are launching new communications solutions that are fully integrated with the database (no more shuttling data between Veracross and third-party communication tools). We are leading the industry in providing community portals that fully integrate data and content so Parents, Students, and Faculty can get all the information and tools they need in one place.
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