Next month marks the 5th anniversary of our journey to Bromcom MIS, and indeed to Cloud MIS.
As a large multi-phase Multi Academy Trust (MAT), the Harris Federation was one of the early adopters of Bromcom, switching from a combination of two non-cloud MIS solutions, namely SIMS in primary and Facility CMIS in secondary to bring our entire estate in line and using Bromcom. I am often asked if there was a risk being one of the first to use Bromcom, and I guess the answer to that would be yes, but it is difficult to imagine that as the move has been nothing but a resounding success.
When I think back to this time in 2016, with all the contracts and the legal bits sorted, we started our first training session on Assessments and Behaviour and thus our first really opportunity to see the system with our data, and to see the systems potential, and it’s flaws. Even back then, I was blown away by the flexibility and efficiency of these two particular parts of the system, so much so I believe they are areas of strength that other, both established and new entrants to the market, are still lagging behind on.
Sure, there were gaps in the system back then, anyone reading this who has used Bromcom over the last 5 years will recognise that, but they’ll also have seen it’s constant evolution into, in my opinion, the best pound for pound MIS on the market at this time.
Have the last 5 years been plain sailing? No of course it hasn’t, and I still think there are areas of the system that could be better, but overall, the switch to Bromcom, and to the cloud, has been a roaring success.
So where is Bromcom now as we find ourselves moving through 2021, at what feels breakneck speed. It’s at this point I have to confess that I haven’t used Bromcom personally for a while now, our schools manage the system so well and my team support them so effectively, I have been able to focus on other areas of need.
Part of those works has been the development of a new suite of analytics we have been developing in Power BI. It was part of that project, I started to dig deeper into some of the new functionalities in Bromcom to prevent duplication of work, and to see what functionality may be underutilised across our academies.
One of my criticisms of Bromcom over the years has been reporting, and in particular access to quick informative data which can be used in day to day life in schools. I was instantly drawn to the quick access dashboards when logging in, and how they have evolved and greatly improved from the early iterations, now giving access to important KPIs that make access to information on the fly even easier.
Digging deeper, I was pleased to see improvements to other areas of the system, particularly on staff, which if utilised properly, could form the basis of a useful HR solution as part of a broader data ecosystem. I am excited to see what developments Bromcom has in store in the future in their staff offer, to fill, what I think, is a large gap in the EdTech landscape. There are some great ‘people’ software out there I like, SISRA Observe is one, but as the champion of the ‘one-stop-shop’ approach, I would be interested in how that might sit within the MIS.
Now on a bit of a mission or re-discovery, I thought I would have a look at MAT Vision (Vision-X?), which isn’t something I have logged into for a while either! If I am being honest, early iterations of MAT Vision fell short of a level to justify its deployment, and with our own established Data Warehouse, never saw it as a tool for us.
However, it is good to see that real investment and thought has gone into this system which I think has made it a really powerful tool for MATs and LAs.
One of Bromcom’s biggest strengths in the early years was their commitment to investing in the product and enacting change based on consumer demand, and I am so please to see that mentality still continuing strongly . I saw with interest the marketing campaigns around offering Vision-X for free and would be keen to see how none Bromcom users are finding that. Not only useful for data aggregations, the new inbuilt reports and enhanced Power BI functionality (and reporting), were a real surprise to me, and streets ahead of the early versions I saw only a couple of years ago.
The introduction of a central admin control solution, which is being released as we speak, seems like a great addition to me and will have a significant impact on reducing admin burdens on schools/academies and on their central teams.
I think the roadmap of Bromcom looks really exciting, and the pace of change, coupled with a renewed interest in customer feedback is reminiscent of the Bromcom as I remember them from 2016/2017.
It’s good to see that new developments are being delivered with pace, clarity and consistency and still with the customer led fresh thinking I mentioned before.
I have said it many times, but I still believe that for primary and secondary schools, Bromcom is pound for pound the most efficient and well-rounded MIS on the market, and 5 years on, I am pleased to see the same passion to continuously improvement is still there, which I am sure will keep them one step ahead of their rivals.