School management software: all-in-many or all-in-one?
Does it feel like most school management companies are advertising as an all-in-one solution, when in reality they are an all-in-many: many apps, many logins, many code bases. So then what does all-in-one really mean?
A straightforward definition of all-in-one for a software solution is just what it sounds like. One company, many modules, or products, built from the ground up, with the same database, security, and UI/UX throughout the platform.
One-in-many usually consists of a solution pieced together acquisition by acquisition.
Before signing a contract for the next five years for the best school management software, here are seven reasons to choose a true all-in-one solution.
Picture this: in a grocery store, you aren’t required to buy something from the deli, something from produce, and the fun snacks from the middle. You have the choice to pick what you want from each section. But when you checkout, you pay at the same place, ask for help in the same way, and always enter the store the same way. A comprehensive all-in-one solution allows your school to choose what sections of the store, so to speak, are right for them at that time. The training is the same, the entrance (login) is the same etc. You can always run in and get something else, it’s all right there and already integrated (because it’s the same company).
Speaking of integration
Why do school tech directors always seem so cranky? Because new technology decisions are promising the school leaders an easier solution, but it always ends up being more work for the tech department. This doesn't happen with a true all-in-one solution. An all-in-one solution means the data just migrates, once—the first time, and then as modules are added, the system is already using the same database and data formatting. Integration becomes seamless. Can you picture your Tech Director smiling?
Same school of thought
What’s one thing your staff hates to do? Technology training. With an all-in-one solution, even if you’re not using all the modules, it’s the same training sources, the same look and feel in the system. As you add to your school management system, staff become less change resistant, because it will feel like turning on a new feature more than learning a whole new technology. Leave the different schools of thought for your curriculum and keep it out of your faculty tech training.
High maintenance is never a good thing
A true all-in-one solution is easier for software companies to maintain things such as:
- Security posture - one system has more visibility into vulnerabilities, and creating security procedures. Security updates can be done all at once to the entire system, very quickly. Versus updating each module individually for your school application software, school admin software, etc.
- Feature updates - just like security updates, features updates can be easily rolled out to the entire platform—and your staff will be all working on the most recent version of the software because they only have to update one platform.
One login, one tab, one app, one support number
One login, to one system, that manages your school is easiest for staff and parents. A true all-in-one platform will do just that. If it’s multiple logins, that means it’s multiple companies and databases that are trying to make their all-in-many look like an all-in-one.
|Security alert! Having one login reduces the vulnerability of the user. It would be even more secure if that login is SSO (single sign on). Correctly implemented SSO must follow certain regulatory procedures with the username and password making it more secure, such as authentication.1
App fatigue is real
An all-in-one school management solution doesn't just simplify and streamline processes for school staff—it’s easier for families too. A major roadblock in parent engagement today is app fatigue. Families are receiving photos from one app, grades from another, and logging in to pay tuition somewhere else. Centralizing the communication, payments, and school announcements to one place makes it easier for parents to engage, communicate, and of course make payments and donations.
School data security is always a top priority
As previously referenced in our blog about school data safety and privacy, an all-in-one solution can be more secure and follow more privacy laws. Always make sure your school management software is ISO27001 certified. This is a certification that companies can get after they prove they are complying with the most strict security measures to protect their software from vulnerabilities. Obviously, when working with student data, this is very important. For a company to be truly ISO27001 certified, all parts of the company have to have complied. This means if you are using one company for tuition payments, and one company for your LMS, make sure both are ISO27001 certified.
The same goes for your acclaimed all-in-one school management system. If they have acquired an attendance software they are integrating, it should also be ISO27001 certified. Sometimes it is and sometimes it’s not. If it’s one company, and has always been, the ISO27001 certification extends to all modules of the software.
Everything your school needs, all in one place, security, ease of use, higher parent engagement, and staying on your tech director's good side, are all some of the benefits of a true all-in-one school management solution. Verify if your solution is an all-in-one or all-in many.
At some point, many is just too many.