Sam Thomas
4 minutes length
Posted: 11th March 2021

Why the new MIS for state schools is something special

By Winston Poyton, Senior Product Director at IRIS Software Group

Management Information Systems are clever things. Think of them like a school’s digital caretaker, silently taking care of everything in the background. Only they aren’t mopping floors or clearing up: they’re capturing, relaying and analysing the mountains of useful information a school can produce.

Problem is, many of them have been in the job too long. Many of these digital caretakers have put in a respectable service, but now they are slow, creaky and overdue for retirement.

There has been no innovation in the area of MIS for years, and this is beginning to show. We track data for almost every other aspect of modern life, from smart meters to Fitbits, so why are state school MIS being left behind?

Introducing IRIS Ed:gen

Here at IRIS we decided to take matters into our own hands. We created Ed:gen to be the answer to what we see as an increasingly stagnant MIS market. So what is it?

Ed:gen at a glance: – Ed:gen is a cloud-based MIS designed for education professionals. – Its simple to use dashboard gives a clear view of data, powering better decision making. – Working in real time, staff can share notes and powerful, simple communication tools. – It saves time for teachers by minimising admin and putting information at their fingertips. – It is cloud-based, which means that it can be accessed anywhere that it is needed.

Why traditional MIS are yesterday’s news

The traditional MIS is lacking features needed for today’s teaching environment. Outside of the education industry there are intuitive interfaces, time saving mechanics and a general feeling of modernity, but existing school MIS for education are dated and clunky. The traditional MIS doesn’t make teachers and school leaders’ lives easier; instead it adds another layer of process – costing them even more time.

Teachers also can’t make the most of their data. Although the odd excel spreadsheet may provide figures, it is only as good as the data from when it was created, and it therefore doesn’t give the real-time view needed to show teachers they are improving the life chances of children.

This applies to the whole school estate. From finance and payroll to HR and administration, each department is moving information from one system (or spreadsheet) to another, gaining little intelligence in the process. Trusts need to evaluate information across all departments to make strategic decisions about their direction. But instead, traditional systems force every department to work in inefficient and time-consuming siloes.

Finally, the world is quickly moving to cloud computing, where working from anywhere, on any device, over the internet is the norm. Sadly, too many MIS remain in administration offices behind closed doors, which means the most vital information cannot be accessed from anywhere else.

Ed:gen – the next gen solution

IRIS observed these issues, and developed an MIS that addresses these problems – IRIS Ed:gen.

Harnessing the power of data is a common theme when assessing MIS systems, and this is what Ed:gen was created to do. Refining how information is presented, accessed and utilised, Ed:gen’s single view of all data, in real time and in one place, makes it an incredibly powerful decision-making tool.

Ed:gen is far easier to access and use than its counterparts, partly thanks to its cloud-based nature. Data can be checked from anywhere; from a desktop in the classroom, the mobile app in the staff room, or a laptop in the kitchen.

Collaboration is finally efficient too. There’s real-time sharing, voice to text features, and automated communication tools between teachers, departments, and year groups. An intuitive registration feature syncs notes from one register to another across the day, essentially sharing notes in real time. Meanwhile, timetables, reporting, and auditing also benefit from Ed:gen’s single view.

All of this means that IRIS has created an MIS that tangibly improves productivity and saves teachers’ time, offering the potential to lead to even bigger positive outcomes for schools.

A whole step change

For over 12,000 schools and academies, IRIS Education already provides staff the catalyst for real, positive changes in the way that they use data. And for over four million families, IRIS connects staff and students with the things that matter – each other.

This approach is also applied to IRIS Ed:gen. Each feature offers a level of ease and connectivity not seen before in MIS technology and, when combined, the resulting product makes you wonder why things weren’t like this all along.

What IRIS has created with Ed:gen is more than an evolution of past MIS software. It’s the MIS revolution teachers and school leaders have been waiting for.

Discover the next generation MIS for yourself at https://www.iris.co.uk/iris-edgen/#form