Best Practices to successfully Implement School Information Management System

A school information management software can multiply the productivity of your school a hundredfold if implemented and used properly. Usually, schools lack the expertise to implement school software effectively. As a result, most of the implementation fails and the users stop using the software which in turn shows no result in the improvement of operational efficiency. In most cases, the school will switch to another software and will try the implementation process once again to realize that the same pattern happened again. And at this stage, there will stop the implementation.


So What are the strategies that can be used to make school information management software implementation successful? Read below:


1. Choosing the Right Team

Find out the teachers and admin staff in your school with a computer, software, and leadership skills and form a Team. You can also invite one or two parents to join the team. Please make sure that this team will have a maximum of 3 to 6 people. This is your Team for school management software implementation and usage. Once the team is formed give the team recognition and plan for rewards towards the successful implementation of the software.


2. Including the Team in Purchasing Process

You must include the Team in all steps of purchasing the software including the pricing negotiation. The Team can invite vendors to give a presentation on how to use the software and get pricing details. The Team needs to understand the product and vendor in detail and it requires relationship building. Once the software is finalized for purchase, include the team in the final purchase process also.


3. Reference checks

It is very important to visit other schools to understand how the school management software is implemented there. Ask the vendor for references and make sure the team visits these schools to get a review. Do not avoid visiting failed implementations of the vendor you finalize. You can gather equal information from failed projects similar to that from successful implementations. Make sure all the observations and learning are documented and stored for future analysis.


4. In-Depth Demo to understand the feature

Ask the vendor for a detailed demo explaining all the features. Do not limit the demo to one instance. A school information management software is software with many features and you might require a minimum of 2 or 3 demos to understand all features. Prepare a document comparing the features of all the products the Team is evaluating.


5. Understanding Customization requirements

During the demo, you will come across many features that might not be tailored according to your school’s unique needs. List down these features and understand from the vendor how these requirements can be addressed. Usually, there will be configuration settings that can tweak the feature. Or it might require customization. Check with the vendor how the customization package works and understand the pricing strategies of the same.


6. Setting and revising clear Goals

Set clear goals and milestones for software implementation. The timeline can be 12 to 24 months from starting the demo process. Decide ahead in how many months you have to finalize the product and in how many months the product needs to be implemented completely. Gather info on the practical timeline from the reference checks.


7. Budget Planning for 3 to 5 years

You will have to plan the budget for software for a minimum of 3 years ahead. Collect all info from vendors on all the direct and indirect expenses in purchasing and using the software for the next 3 to 5 years. Along with the info from the vendor, collect the expense info from reference checks also.


8. Data Preparation for import

Once the vendor is finalized it is time to prepare the data for importing to the software. If your school is already using software, you can export the data from it if possible or you will have to prepare fresh data in the format suggested by the new vendor. As this is the most important base of the software, make sure there are no errors in this initial data set. 


9. Training Phase

Once the data is entered, you can ask the vendor to start training. Training needs to be done in phases. The team will be well trained in the software by this time because of the time spent on the demo, reference, and data entry. Make a training schedule and instruct all your teachers to attend the training without fail. Also, you can give training to parents and students.


10. Motivating Users

Outside the team also need a reward and punishment plan for the faculty to make sure of the complete integration of the school management software in their day-to-day activities. The reward does not have to be monetary. Ask the vendor for tips or find out from schools where the software is implemented successfully.


11. Communication Plan

you need a communication plan to keep  the users engage. The user includes; teacher, student parent, admin and other department in the school. They have to be remindered and informed about software usage as well as changes and update in the software.