For districts in Lenawee and Monroe counties in Michigan, a proven track record of success was an important factor in selecting new systems for managing student information and financial and human resources. And, today, as a member of a national network of SunGard K-12 Education customers, these Michigan school districts benefit from the collective wisdom of districts nationwide that are focused on student achievement.
During the selection process, the Lenawee Monroe Technology Consortium assembled product committees to develop specifications, issue an RPF, evaluate options, and then choose new systems with a proven track record of success.
“For a six-month period, we used Microsoft SharePoint® for calendaring and sharing committee notes and documents,” says Phil Carolan, Director of Technology for the Lenawee Monroe Technology Consortium. “About 14 vendors responded to our RFP. We narrowed that down to a short list and sent some of our committee representatives to do site visits at schools using those products. The most highly referenced and economical were the SunGard K-12 Education products.” The consortium selected eSchoolPLUS for managing student information and supporting student achievement and eFinancePLUS for managing critical financial, procurement, payroll, and personnel functions.
After selecting SunGard K-12 software, Carolan says the consortium rolled out the solutions to all the school districts in the two counties. “We again used our SharePoint® environment. A SunGard K-12 project manager helped lay out all the training that was necessary,” he explains. “We ran four sessions at a time with up to six districts in each session. Everything stayed on track.”
As the consortium implemented the software for multiple districts at the same time, it gained valuable insight into best practices in software implementations. Carolan advises districts launching an implementation to consider the following:
- Utilize the test and training environment. Carolan advises districts to make use of the test and training environment to consider and gain a better understanding of parameters in the setup phase.
- Clearly communicate expectations. “Make sure there’s enough discussion up front before people get into training about the expectations of the day,” says Carolan. By including decision makers in the sessions and ensuring that they understand what’s expected of them, these individuals will arrive prepared for the tasks ahead.
- Provide flexibility in the schedule to consider and reconsider set-ups. “Keep the training schedule flexible to allow some time to revisit the setups,” says Carolan, noting that the added time up front will allow tweaks to be made before the software is rolled out to all users.
Today, Lenawee Monroe Technology Consortium enjoys being part of a national network of educational organizations that use SunGard K-12 Education’s administrative software.
“We’re quite pleased about how interactive SunGard is with the national users group,” says Carolan. “Every month, we gain valuable insights from users in other states as part of state reporting calls with the SunGard team. It’s nice to hear that national perspective.”
CLICK HERE to read more of the consortium’s story of success.