Student Information System (SIS) is a relief to the time-consuming and lengthy processes in academic institutions. SIS provides structured and easily accessible information needed by the staff, and even to students and their parents in most cases.
Since the establishment of educational institutions, management of staff and student data has been a necessity. Today you will read about ways in which Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) can help these institutions to implement student information system (SIS) successfully.
1. Involve Vendor in Implementation
The best way to implement SIS in any institution is to involve your vendor. Migrating to a new system will be tough for you and your staff too. It involves breaking the daily flow of processes and doing things differently. They also have to learn software functions, data entry and reading reports shown by the SIS.
It is important that you have all the technical and operational know-how by your side in this step. Determine whether you will need on ground support or online support will be enough. Usually vendors commit to a free implementation support or paid support services.
2. Defining Accessibility
It is always important to decide who will be using the student information system. If it is decided SIS should be made for both, the staff and the students, then the implementation should be done accordingly. This might require making separate logins for staff and student with a profile for each one or getting ID cards with magnetic chips.
Separate access for the staff, faculty, and the students to login allows for relevant functionality.
For example, staff would have access to students’ data for administrative purpose, faculty would be able to upload academic grades and attendance where as the students can only receive data and edit their own profile.
Defining the roles and right to change data and perform will allow for data security as well as smooth functioning. Your administrative staff will be able to perform various processes such as accounting, accessing the personal data of students for record, maintaining grade sheets for year-end calculations, and processing student admissions, etc.
3. Staff Training
Training staff is an important step in the implementation of SIS. ERP might be a tool to make life easy but it definitely needs monitoring and correct data handling. To learn that, schools should create orientation programs. Apart from staff, it is also important to train the students/parents as the ERP will be open to use by them as well.
Sometimes manual data is used as a method of SIS instead of ERP for data collection. Even in such situations it is necessary to provide training regarding the organization of data and performing tasks related to student data. Training of all features available is also necessary to take advantage of all functionality. This will ensure that staff uses all the add-on modules that you have invested in.
4. Integration of Departments within the SIS
In an educational institution, there are various departments which take care of overall functional working of the school/college. These include departments of admission, accounts, administration, faculty, parent relation, academics, student relations etc.
While creating student information system, it is important to integrate all these departments into the software. This will lead to a seamless working of all departments. This can be done by involving staff and faculty in the purchase decision as well as the implementation phase.
Appoint a representative from each department who will oversee implementation of SIS and communication with other departments. For example, accounts department must co-ordinate with the admissions department to ensure easy enrolment process for new students.
5. Data Security
SIS usually contains details such as student’s address, parent/guardian’s financial details, phone numbers, and grades. Protecting this sensitive information is paramount in today’s world of cyber crime and data theft. Implementation of SIS is also about securing this data. Install firewalls, SSL encryption and always have a data backup to ensure good standards of data security in your school.
Because most schools provide the facility to pay fees, deposits, and refund money, they have to make sure that the platform is completely secure for financial transactions too.
6. Infrastructure Support
Having your SIS up and running requires proper infrastructure. Do you have enough memory on your servers for SIS? What about adequate number of desktops for staff and faculty? You may also require RFID attendance and bar coding system for library.
Alternatively you can go for cloud solutions that offer you anywhere online access without taking up server space in your school. Ultimately, the goal of successful SIS implementation should be smooth functioning of all the daily school activities with minimal interruptions.
Just like introduction of MS tool in the 1980s’, implementation of SIS has had a groundbreaking impact in many schools and colleges. However, implementing SIS without planning can lead to more pain than you started off with.
Purchasing a SIS is only the first step. Using the six ways above will ensure smooth implementation and maximum output from the system.