SIMS/ESS update: Schools can now leave three-year MIS contracts

server room | SIMS/ESS update: Schools can now leave three-year MIS contracts
By Simon Freeman | 19th January 2023 | 2 min read

There have been further changes to the MIS market following a ruling last week from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), where schools locked into three-year contracts with ESS can now choose to exit.

Schools can now make considered and informed decisions about the right software for fulfilling their data needs.

Ann Pope, Senior Director of Antitrust at the CMA, announced: “This break clause will give eligible schools 12 months to decide whether to exit their current contract and, if they do, to switch to a new provider – longer than ESS originally offered. The commitments secured from ESS will also bolster competition in the MIS market, giving schools more choice and ESS’s rivals a further chance to compete.”

What exactly has ESS announced?

On 10th January, ESS announced that eligible customers can now apply to an independent adjudicator for a new 12-month break clause in their three-year annual entitlement agreement that commenced on 1st April 2022.

ESS customers can apply for the new break clause using this application form, which should be read in conjunction with these application instructions.  

Note, the deadline for the new break clause application is 5:00pm (UK Time) on 10th February 2023.

See the full ESS announcement here.

No longer anchored to old tech: finding the right software alternative

The time to explore modern, better-value software is here!

Schools need a supplier who will listen to the needs of their changing environment to give stability, reduce costs and create economies of scale. These suppliers exist!

Top tip: find a supplier who offers more than just an MIS. As many schools/MATs use SIMS and FMS in unison, switching may require not only a new MIS but also a financial management system. While this may initially seem like another level of complexity and a barrier to switching, finding a provider that also offers both an MIS and finance system will ease the transition greatly.

While moving may initially seem daunting, the effort is worth it thanks to the enhanced and streamlined capabilities.

Software vendors are well-versed in helping schools move seamlessly and without disruption; at IRIS, we have Project Managers who can guide you through the process, simplifying the task significantly.

Data, data, data

We recently heard from school leaders that a key blocker to them switching MIS is the data aspect and work involved in moving it across.

Let me be frank: don’t let data deter you, as the benefits far outweigh the change.

Learn more about our simple two-phase MIS migration process in this recent article.

Time for change

We get it – change can be tough (no, like we really get it to the point where we recorded an entire podcast on it).

There will always be those resistant, but taking the leap and switching to modern software greatly benefits all members of staff.

If you’re ready to make the switch, want more information on the process or are simply curious, we’ve got the guide for you; check out our MIS implementation guide for practical advice, step-by-step overviews and helpful tips.

Download the MIS implementation guide here.