Yesterday afternoon (21st June 2023), WhichMIS? attended the annual Bromcom event at the Shard.
The Shard is an iconic venue and the view from the 34th floor conference room on a pleasant summer’s day in London was spectacular (see above)!
The morning focused on MATs, whilst the afternoon was designed for local authorities.
Having missed the morning’s activities, after a pleasant lunch the afternoon sessions kicked-off with a presentation from James Richardson, West Sussex’s MIS Programme Manager. He spoke of the challenges of rolling out a new MIS to 203 schools in only 10 months, after a year of product testing.
Finance was his biggest challenge but, with Bromcom’s help, in March this year they moved all their schools to Business As Usual.
Ollie Burnett from Coventry City Council was next to speak and told us of the process they went through and why they chose Bromcom’s MIS – after ESS announced changes to a 3-year SIMS agreement. In total, 75% (45) of Coventry’s LA maintained schools chose to move both MIS and Finance, with the Authority implementing the switch in only 3 weeks.
After a short break, Nick Finnemore from Finnemore Consulting spoke about the MIS market, its key suppliers and their market shares.
Sharp intakes of breath were heard when he predicted the continued demise of SIMS – to less than 50% market share within the next year!
Michael Heard, Product Manager at SCOMIS, then explained why they’ve chosen to become a Bromcom support centre and the process they had to go through to become accredited.
He then gave a brief demo of their new MIS Trends analytical tool which is due to launch over the summer that will enable users to view the trends in UK MIS market share and see insights and analysis along with independent reviews of MIS platforms.
SCOMIS are also about to launch a new SIMS archive service, allowing schools who decide to move away from ESS to be able to store their historic data without having to continue investing in SIMS licences.
We were then shown the Bromcom roadmap and updates to the following were explained:
- Vision – Centralised Data Management
- Finance – with centralised charts of accounts
- Power BI based analytics and, of course, embedded AI
The roadmap for Q3 & Q4 is available from Bromcom’s website. (Roadmap)
Next up, Fergal Moore, Headteacher of Hitchin Boys’ School, showcased Bromcom’s latest AI functionality.
This was very impressive, with a new function allowing a choice of either external or internal MIS focus. With a number of pre-planned questions, he demonstrated the potential power of AI as a tool to support school leadership teams as well as classroom teachers.
Having a Headteacher demo was a masterstroke, as was leaving the only product demo to the end of the day, which left everyone talking positively about the potential of embedded AI.
In summary, we found the event professionally organised, well-attended and appropriately paced. We particularly liked the fact that most speakers were external and not Bromcom staff.
Other MIS providers were openly discussed and the questions from the audience were answered honestly.
Bromcom’s MD, Ali Guryel, was present but played no part in the proceedings, other than mingling during the breaks and at the drinks reception at the end of the day.