ESS SIMS responds to concerns over data migration

We have posted two articles recently around concerns raised over ESS SIMS’ warning to schools and to other MIS providers around using the SIMS backup files for data migration purposes. In this post we let you hear what ESS SIMS have to say about this subject.

Stuart Handley, CMO at ParentPay Group, the owners of SIMS, says “There’s a great deal of misinformation out there which is not helpful for schools. We are trying to ensure the facts are also shared so schools are not confused about what they should be doing if they do opt to change MIS and want to migrate their data safely – something we obviously fully support and have had the tools and processes in place to do for over a decade.”

ESS themselves have posted two articles about this on their website:

MIS migrations – setting the story straight Part 1 and MIS migrations: setting the story straight Part 2

In their first article they state their position that ‘ESS’ intellectual property (IP) is being systematically and unlawfully misused by certain competitors, who are trying to conceal their misuse of ESS’ intellectual property through a smokescreen of allegations of anti-competitor behaviour.’

They go on to say that ‘ESS provides lawful, safe, and authorised means for its competitors to migrate data from SIMS, which our competitors have ignored, instead choosing to access our program code and not just school data.’

The ESS position is that extracting data directly from a SIMS database rather than through reports or APIs is unsafe because, whilst they guarantee the stability of SIMS and its APIs and reports, it has always reserved the right to change its database design without notice. This, they say, means direct data extraction runs the risk of compromising the integrity and consistency of the data extracted.

ESS, in their second post on the subject, state “It is important everyone understands that our focus is on the inappropriate conduct of other MIS vendors and not schools. Schools are run by hard working and responsible people who would not contemplate doing the wrong thing or knowingly breaking an agreement with anyone.”

They suggest in their article that ‘It suits others to suggest we are making things difficult, but this is not true. We only ask that these companies act safely, properly, and don’t infringe our Intellectual Property (IP) – entirely reasonable things to ask.’

ESS point to the fact that migrating data from SIMS has been possible using SIMS APIs for over a decade and that another alternative for schools is to use their reporting facility or to work with aggregators such as Wonde or Groupcall  Xporter to extract the data for them.

They remind everyone that these tools and processes have been available for many years and that ESS’ partners use them to extract billions of data items from SIMS every month. They insist that these are perfectly viable means of obtaining school data.

Given that, against this, many industry commentators have alleged that sending a database backup file has been ‘industry standard practice’ for at least 10 years and that it has been used by schools, suppliers etc. hundreds of times to migrate data, we see this argument running for some time to come.

Our hope is that the eventual winners will be schools and MATs, who will enjoy the freedom to migrate to whichever MIS they wish without any hassles over how they move their data.

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