The time when one software application could meet the full needs of a school district’s financial requirements or even going beyond a segment of those requirements are coming to a close. Best of breed applications are focusing on specific business applications and working or integrating with other best of breed applications with an accomplishment of providing an excellent overall application suite.
For example, a student system is not focused on school lunch sales – the student system should be focusing on student information and demographics. A general ledger system is not a receipting system however these two applications rely on each other for data exchange. InTouch, for example, exchanges with general ledger systems at several levels.
When evaluating any system solution it is our suggestion to first look at the business process to be addressed and seek applications specifically designed for this task. After finding the applications which meet the process, then determine which applications effectively and willingly integrate with other current and potential applications the district utilizes. Always keep in mind some of the software applications may change over time, so securing software with a positive integration attitude will enable future change.
Where we have seen districts have challenges is when they purchase an all-in-one software application which is purported to answer all sorts of business activities. Unfortunately, sometimes a district finds one aspect or another of the all-in-one is not meeting their needs. To change at this point is costly and may be prohibitive in other ways which creates expense, hassles, or, worse remaining with a deficient component.