Implementing a new Management Information System (MIS) is a significant undertaking for any school, and careful planning is crucial for its success, with a phased implementation method becoming more popular. In this post, we’ll walk through the steps of a phased MIS implementation, along with insights and practical tips to guide schools considering starting their MIS implementation journey.
Step 1: Assess your Needs and Goals
Tempting though it might be to jump straight into the technical aspects of the project, it’s essential to start with a thorough needs assessment. Identify your school’s particular requirements, the pain points in your existing processes, and the goals you aim to achieve with a new MIS. These goals might include improving staff efficiency, streamlining enrolment, or enhancing communication with families.
Make sure you record your supporting reasons so you can come back to them at a later point. This information will be essential as you talk to and evaluate potential providers and look for a solution to those paint points. It will also help you develop and present a strong business case to your School Leadership Team and Governing Body to get approval and buy-in for a new MIS.
Step 2: Select the Right MIS Solution
Once you have identified your school’s needs, you can start investigating your options. It’s not required, but many schools ask potential providers for a request for proposal (RFP). This document outlines your feature requests and pain points, allowing each company to show how their offering can provide answers for each problem area.
The goal is to find a solution that aligns with your school’s goals, requirements, and budget. The provider you select needs to offer both flexibility and scalability to accommodate your phased implementation approach. Work closely with the MIS provider to create a bespoke plan for your school’s specific needs. Our partners at Veracross, for example, have successfully collaborated with many schools in adopting a successful, staged implementation strategy.
Step 3: Define each Implementation Phase
With your MIS provider’s support, break down your implementation into manageable phases. It makes sense to start with the most critical functions, such as teaching and learning, before gradually introducing further features and school departments over time. Decide on the order in which your departments will gain the most benefit from the new system. The right MIS provider will work with you, sharing best practice and developing your timeline.
Veracross for example, has led many phased implementations that prioritise teaching and learning. This approach makes sure that the MIS is set-up and established ready for the new school year to begin. Once the teaching and learning elements have been launched, implementation can continue with other departments, in the priority order you have chosen.
Step 4: Kick Off the Project
Now that your plan is in place, it's time to kick off the project. You will need a dedicated team that includes representatives from different departments. Make sure you define everyone’s roles and responsibilities, create a communication plan, and set out a clear timeline with measurable milestones.
It’s important to approach MIS implementation as a team of many, rather than as an individual. Make sure you share the load by working with your MIS provider and colleagues. A RACI or DACI chart can be helpful to organise roles and responsibilities, and keep everyone accountable and on track.
Step 5: Migrate and Configure your Data
Step one in the actual implementation will be migrating essential data from your old system into the new one. Working closely with your MIS provider will ensure a seamless transition and allow you to configure the system to align with your school’s specific processes and workflows. With teaching and learning for example, this might include configuring school terms, classes, timetables and academic reports for the school year.
Step 6: Train Staff for Complete Adoption
It's not just about technical implementation. You need to make sure staff are able to use your fancy new MIS! Your provider should offer training and support to get your team members comfortable with the new system. Veracross offers training for each school based on their particular needs and setup. This means your school can navigate the MIS efficiently and can accommodate feedback about any concerns or challenges that may arise.
Some companies will provide ongoing support and training resources like Veracross University. This helps your team continue to improve their knowledge of the platform and make sure you’re developing your use and getting the most out of your MIS.
Step 7: Test and Refine
Never launch anything new without testing it first! Before unveiling your new MIS, make sure you test the system thoroughly to identify and fix any issues. This gives you an opportunity to fine-tune the configuration and workflows based on feedback and realistic scenarios.
Step 8: Go Live
Okay, you’re now confident in the system’s functionality and your staff are ready to use it. It's time to sound the fanfare and go live with the first phase of your new solution. Make sure you monitor the process closely during those first days and address unexpected challenges rapidly.
Step 9: Look to Continuously Improve
Once the initial stage of implementation is complete, continue to gather feedback and monitor the system’s performance. This will allow you to make ongoing tweaks and refinements, and work with your internal team and MIS provider to get ready for the next phase.
The Benefits of a Phased MIS Implementation
A phased implementation offers a structured and strategic approach to adopting a new MIS for your school. With every school having a unique journey, customise your approach so that it aligns with your specific needs and goals. By following these steps, your school can ensure a smooth transition to a better and more efficient MIS experience for your staff, students and families.
Curious about a phased MIS implementation?
Get in touch to learn how Veracross can support your school through every step of the process.