MIS data migration

Through February we published the following 4 articles on the subject of data migration:

We’re aware that a number of organisations have strong views and opinions, so we thought we’d ask all major MIS providers the following:

“As you know the ESS SIMS announcement that schools could not use their SIMS backups to migrate schools’ data into another MIS has caused a lot of concern and comment from the MIS sector.

Obviously, we’re aware and have previously spoken about MIS suppliers offering to indemnity to schools from any legal costs, and now understand most suppliers support this initiative.

In light of this announcement, can you explain how you’re now addressing migration?”

These are the responses we received, and as always, we’ve listed the MIS’s in alphabetical order:

We have offered all schools, MATs and LA license holders Arbor’s Switching Guarantee, which means:

Arbor will take legal responsibility when you transfer your school data to us via a backup file: A backup file is the only complete, efficient and proven way that a school can migrate all of their data to a new provider, and has been used over 6,000 times by schools migrating away from SIMS. We do not believe that using database backups breaches any IP rights, so are willing to take on all cost and risk of any legal action a school, MAT or LA may face so they can move safely and securely. As a result, most schools migrating to Arbor still use this route, although more manual options are available on request.

Arbor will cover the cost of your MIS license until your SIMS contract ends in March 2025: If you feel locked into a contract with SIMS until March 2025, but want to move sooner, we’ll cover your core Arbor license until your SIMS contract ends. This means you won’t double-pay for your MIS

If you ever want to leave, Arbor commits to giving you a full and complete backup file. This has always been our commitment to schools, because you should never be blocked from switching by your supplier.

Why migrating your school data to Bromcom is “safe, lawful and authorised”

16 February 2024 / Ali Guryel

Migrating your school data to Bromcom is safe, lawful, authorised

The recent copyright/IP infringement claims made by ESS regarding the migration of data from SIMS to Bromcom have sent shockwaves through the UK MIS market. Bromcom asserts a unique position in this situation, one built on a long-standing agreement, licensed access, and clear precedent.  Let’s delve into the factors that differentiate Bromcom’s case:

1. Established Technical Partnership

Bromcom’s technical partnership with ESS dates back to 2003, predating most other MIS suppliers. This deep understanding of the SIMS ecosystem positions them uniquely to navigate migration challenges while respecting intellectual property rights.

2. Licensed Access & Identical Data

Bromcom’s partnership grants them licensed access to the SIMS application, its SQL database, and a copy of the SIMS license itself. When schools provide Bromcom with a backup of their SIMS database, they are not sharing any new or additional information beyond what Bromcom already possesses and has legal access to. This eliminates concerns about copyright infringement on behalf of schools and local authorities.

3. CMA Approval & ESS’s Own Words

The MIS sector has expressed widespread surprise at ESS’s recent claims, as the practice of using backup copies for migration has been commonplace since 2008. Notably, an excerpt from the CMA website further strengthens Bromcom’s position. In 2022, Bromcom’s migration process was submitted by ESS itself to the CMA as an example of a speedy and efficient solution for schools. This action stands as a testament to the legitimacy and established nature of Bromcom’s approach, suggesting no prior objections from ESS regarding the process.

Excerpt from PDF published on CMA website:

Based on the aforementioned points, Bromcom confidently asserts that their case is unique. They firmly believe that schools, local authorities, and Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) providing copies of their SIMS SQL backups are not infringing on any copyright or intellectual property rights, and should not be concerned about legal action from ESS Ltd. To solidify this trust, Bromcom offers indemnification against any legal costs arising from potential action by ESS Ltd.

In conclusion, Bromcom’s unique position is built on a solid foundation of legal access, established practices, and industry precedent; in other words, it meets the criteria of being ‘safe, lawful and authorised’. Bromcom’s confidence in their approach is further bolstered by their partnership with ESS, CMA approval, and hence willingness to indemnify clients. As the debate surrounding data migration unfolds, Bromcom stands firm in its commitment to providing schools with a smooth and legal transition to their MIS solution.

We truly feel for the schools that are being affected by that decision. We have seen companies in North America take on this strategy as well – making the pain of changing systems too great for customers so they have no choice but to renew for one more year. However, this approach is almost always shortsighted as educators have very long memories.

PowerSchool excels at easing the toll that change management takes on a system. We have literally completed thousands of SIS/MIS migrations of all shapes and sizes.

We offer various tools that help – such as templates to help export the correct tables and fields from your legacy system, a full data lake (data-as-a-service, as we call it) to help you maintain all historic data in one place, and ongoing partnership through consulting and access to our team of engineers, who ensure that school data remains secure and private throughout the migration process (and beyond).

We did this recently with the Puerto Rico Department of Education, who selected PowerSchool in May 2023 for their 600,000+ students – we had them up and running completely later in the same calendar year: https://www.powerschool.com/news/puerto-rico-department-of-education-selects-powerschool-sis-to-modernize-operations/

Our recent blog also shares key strategies that PowerSchool supports to ease the burden of change management while ensuring the highest possible levels of adoption: https://www.powerschool.com/blog/educator-change-management-strategies/

If we receive any further responses from MIS providers we will update this blog accordingly.

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