How to choose school software for your institute

virtual classroom, zoom for schools, online learning

If  you are on the lookout for a Student Information System or School app, you might have downloaded open source or in-app payment software, may be signed up for a few demos or subscribed for trials of a few cloud/SaaS platforms.  If you are feeling exasperated, you are not alone. This could be a mind boggling exercise and saps your energy midway, resulting in you end up taking a sub-optimal decision. 

This detailed guide is an attempt to help you achieve your objective of selecting the best school software with features that are important for you. So let’s get started

In this definitive guide for selecting a school management system, you will learn about:

  1. What is a school management software
  2. Primary functions of a school software
  3. Structural differences of various school softwares
  4. Requirement analysis for school system
  5. Importance of various integrations in school app
  6. Non operational features of a School ERP system
  7. ROI of School management software
  8. Pricing structure of a School management system

TutMe has helped educational institutions to derive maximum advantage from digitisation of processes. Get in touch with us to know how can we help you. Log in at http://www.tutme.in or whatsapp TRIAL @ 7982466300.

What is a school management software

School Management System is a software that powers your school/ institute with automation and digitizes the daily administrative & academic operations. The objective is to bring in accuracy and efficiency that can be measured by student learning outcomes and predictability of events.

As we exit a Covid-19 ravaged 2020 and usher into 2021 of hope and reignite, it has become pivotal for all types of institutions to implement the best school management system in their organizational ecosystem to automate and digitize the daily operations. An Online School Management System Software is useful to all stakeholders – it helps parents to keep track of their child’s academic progress, teachers can easily conduct online classes, admin can track all online payments in real-time & students can connect with their teachers for doubt clearing and track their assignments from anywhere at any time.

It simplifies the work of staff members, enhances data security, and helps in saving time & money by automating complex and time-consuming tasks, showing in more ways than only projecting an enhanced image to the world.

Primary functions of a School Software

A school software is a work horse for a school. It plays a part in admissions management and alumni connect and everything in between. At this stage, you may believe that you know all the requisite functions of a school ERP after reading the first paragraph, but be a little patient and read the details below with me to understand all the functions that a school software can perform.

  1. Admission management – As an administrator, you know that the management of various processes related to admission is not simple and can be quite overpowering at times. Therefore, a school app that helps parents enrol students for admissions online and gives admission manager a comprehensive view of all applications along with providing one-click action menu.
  2. Student attendance management – Manually maintaining attendance is a mandatory task for every teacher, but because of its tiresome and repetitive process, it indirectly impacts the productivity of the teachers. It also doesn’t allow for easy analysis of this data. With a good online school management system, you can not only use an auto-attendance system but can also get automated analysis of this data. Isn’t it great.
  3. Timetable management – Creating a timetable with various constraints is a challenging task. However, a school management application can do the job in a few clicks and also help publish the output directly on student and parent portals, eliminating the chances of any miscommunication.
  4. Fee management – A fee management system simplifies fees creation and collection, automates transactions and provides In-depth financial reports to understand critical information. A good fee management system ensures a peace of mind and therefore, is one of the key features of a good school management software.
  5. School Bus management – If a parent knows the time when here comes the bus, it adds a comfort and confidence. A good bus management system also ensures that school administration can track the movement of the bus, keeps all the records of vehicles in one place and analyse maintenance and fuel data for an advantage that at times helps save as much as 10% on cost of transport. A predictive system like the one used in TutMe helps your institute to also save from avoidable incidents.
  6. ID cards and certificate management – Embedded systems in a school application can help you print a student ID card in real time, delighting the parents. Also, the complete certificate management brings a world of convenience to you in a few clicks. It looks a small addition, but can mean unimaginable saving of workload for various staff members and an accuracy that flows across the system.
  7. Academics management – Whether it is about sharing study notes or videos or conducting an online class, whether you are looking to give an assignment and want to get it and check it online or conduct an online test; a school management system is the tool that makes it possible. You can even publish a report card online and help parents and students keep informed. What’s more when using system like TutMe, you can see the performance of a student across the years. Did I hear you say “voila”.
  8. Communications management – There are various instances of communications needed between teachers and other staff, between parents/ students and teachers or administration. This could be daunting to do traditionally or by using disparate resources. However, with modern School ERP applications moving onto apps, the task becomes not only simple but also very intuitive. Parents have hugely positive reviews about this feature as they don’t have to live in uncertainty any more. 

There are other subordinate functions like analysis of attendance and result as well as understanding of teacher effectiveness in the classroom through data merging, which a school management system can perform for you. However, the ones listed above are must haves and even if you feel that a few of these you don’t need, you will certainly need even those in near future. So keep these in your list of what you want your school management software to certainly do.

If you believe a function should be automated, reach us – we will certainly have a solution for you. Whatsapp @ 7982466300.

Structural differences of various solutions

There are plethora of choices when you have to choose a school management ERP system for your institution. These can be On-site or Cloud solutions. While On-site solutions are cheap, these come with major disadvantages and can’t be used on mobile phones or tablets. Additionally these solutions are limited in scope. Cloud based software is the most secure and efficient solution for schools, which are offered as SaaS. 

Another way solutions can be differentiated are whether they can be run only on a computer/laptop or can be accessed from computer as well as mobile. The ones which offer access through mobile apps are the best as they bring in intuitiveness to use, with mobile devices in always-on mode. The share of information is always quick and effective with such applications.

Another important difference, which has been brought into open with Covid-19 school lockdown, is whether a school management solution is only an administrative solution or a management solution. An administrative school software focuses only on the functions performed to administer education. But classroom management software solutions don’t just stop with these. There are other aspects of it, including monitoring student behavior, offering effective virtual classes, organizing an effective workflow — for all of these aspects too, there are excellent classroom management software solutions that are available

Another way the school management systems are differentiated is whether it can support multiple languages. Today, while schools teach in English, a number of parents can’t still read or understand English. Providing a vernacular language support for parent app, therefore, improves the utility and adoption of a school application, manifold.

Requirement analysis for your school 

Having understood what school management system means and various functions it can perform and the broad categories, let’s help you with a framework to list down your specific requirements. How one should go about doing this is by first creating a team of teaching and non-teaching staff representing various functions and ideally involving a few parents/ students. This could be the core group. They should then list down all the functions that they perform now and which of these they would like to be digitised. Also, they should be able to describe a couple of points which if possibly available will make them happy.

Once this exercise is done, you can proceed with classifying these requirements into certain broad buckets. You can run this list with the core team again to check if their requirements have been captured well. Once this step is complete, look at the list of functions as above once again to check if something is missed. You can then complete this list and are now ready for sharing this with the people who matter.

A well drafted requirement is the first step to get your digitization on efficiency super highway. Need help – give us a shout @7982466300.

Various integrations in school management ERP system

School is a microcosm of society and it needs multiple functions to be performed. The work will be simpler, if various integrations are available/ possible in your school software. An integration with your accounting software, link up with various payment platforms or a compatibility with data updation through excel/ csv formats makes a school software, capable to handle various requirements that you may have from time to time.

Non operational features of a school ERP system

While we discussed various operational functions of a good school ERP system, there are a few non functional features which are as important. Let’s look at these.

  1. Installation – The current trend is to opt for a cloud based system. These are not needed to be installed on a particular system and can be logged in from different devices from anywhere with a net-connectivity. This also avoids the issues of software or data corruption, which plagued the traditional systems.
  2. Service support – There is always a learning curve in using any system. There has to be a support from the vendor in such situations. A user manual, ideally in the form of “How to use” videos could be a great help in training.
  3. Notifications – Sharing information through notifications can be a great way to convey information automatically and in real time.TutMealso uses this to share birthday greetings.
  4. Customisation – Every school has its own way of operating and it, therefore, will need various customisations to create its own unique personality to be shared with the outside world. A good school application should be able to do this by using a modular approach.

ROI of school management system

There are various expenses that a school incurs operationally. A school management software is probably a new expense item, and it is important to understand the savings it can offer. Various ways to understand the savings and therefore, to calculate ROI on this investment, will mean understanding the areas where it can either decrease the cost or increase the revenue. Let’s look at both of these.

  1. Savings – A school ERP system implementation helps save a lot of paper and other supplies. It is generally observed that a savings of 30-50% can be expected depending on how does one use the system. Another area where schools save money is when lesser manpower is required to do the same work. It is a major head and typically 20% of administrative staff can be used elsewhere, if using a good school ERP.
  2. Additional Revenues – An efficient and accessible admission system improves the student admissions in the school. That’s a clear additional revenue that a school earns, without increasing any cost. Similarly, the effective and customised fee follow ups result in faster and higher collections.

Pricing structure of a school management system 

There are different ways different softwares charge a user school. The on-site installation typically charge a one time cost and the charge an amount towards maintenance or if a new feature is required. A cloud based solution, however, may charge on per user basis. They can charge it quarterly or annually and may have a setup charge included.

By now, you must be quite clear on how can you choose the best school software system for your institution and what implications your choice can have. It is good to take time to look at various factors and not rush into decision. You also need to ensure that training cost for teachers and other staff is included in the total cost of software. Ideally the vendor should have a way to provide support to parents and students directly in case they struggle in setting up the application.

TutMe provides a SaaS based, modular and value for money solution that helps you create a strong identity for your institute. To know more, pl log in at www.tutme.in or for a free trial, whatsapp TRIAL at 7982466300.

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