Thru and a mid-sized school district:
Partnering to efficiently procure a new Student Information System (SIS)
A mid-sized school district with about 25,000 students approached us with a project they had to get right. Their legacy student information system (SIS) no longer met their needs.
School-based users were miserable, access to students and families was limited, and the district technology team had lost faith that it was ever going to get better. The superintendent promised staff that a change was going to happen quickly, and the CTO knew that procuring a new system that addressed everyone’s needs in just three months was going to be a whirlwind. As one of her highest priorities, she partnered with Thru to design an efficient procurement process that would result in selecting the best product for their users.
A mid-sized school district
Solution Scenarios + Roadmap
Other than people, student data is the most critical asset to K-12 district operations. And now more than ever before students and families want access to their data and the ability to communicate with teachers and administrators through an app.
Changing the SIS means altering the daily workflows of many district staff members. We fully recognized the complexity of managing student data, the challenges associated with transitioning to a new core data system, the required functionality of student information systems to meet reporting requirements, and the intricacies of public procurements. We also understand that being efficient is essential - the more time spent on the procurement means the less time available for data migration, configuration, training users and testing the solution.
Our approach augments the traditional procurement process that tends to be singularly focused on compliance.
We embed activities into the procurement process that actively involve stakeholders in meaningful ways.
We engage directly with users to understand their needs, provide avenues for users to lend their voice throughout the process, address the questions that come along with such a big change, and communicate critical messages throughout the solicitation.
This approach helps our clients gain greater clarity of purpose from multiple perspectives and build trust with those same users who are going to be so critical in the implementation and launch of a new product.
We customize project plans with our clients that bring a broad cross section of stakeholders into the planning process, while addressing timeline constraints and requirements.
Source: Thru + Client Deliverable
We tailored our procurement process to focus on usability and product fit. While we started with a written proposal and requirements documentation, the majority of the evaluation process was spent with the providers in live demonstrations.
We shared detailed guidance with each provider on specific workflows and specific users, especially students and families. We wanted the technical leads and end-users to experience the new product and see themselves in the workflows. The evaluation team asked tons of questions to uncover how they would implement, train and support the rest of the district in the transition to a new system.
The users responded overwhelmingly for a single product, with over three quarters of the evaluation team choosing the same product as the best fit solution. Not only was the team able to select a new SIS in under three months, they are confident that the needs of school-based users, students and their families will be addressed. And since we built change management into every step of the procurement process, many end-users are already psyched for the change.
With all of the time and resources involved with a SIS migration, any district will benefit from an objective partner that understands these facets and can facilitate a disciplined process to select the best solution.
We are partnering with the district and the SIS provider to ensure that the project is on schedule, addresses end-user needs, and stays within budget. We can’t wait to see what continues to become possible with accurate and accessible student data