Until recently, the world operated primarily through human endeavor. Today this human endeavor is being outsourced with the help of information systems and computers. People, processes and procedures are undergoing a rapid digital transformation which is further accelerated with the onset of Covid-19, forcing organizations to adapt to ever-changing disruptions. Schools are one of the worst affected in carrying out their operations due to the on-going Covid-19 pandemic. However, it is a fact that the school software market in 2021 is burgeoning in share, demand and size. Online classes and fee payment, remote meetings, student information systems, etc., are few innovations in the market.
This software market currently is placed in the high growth and high market share phase in India. India has around 30% of the population below the age of 15, making it one of the most competitive and attractive school software markets. Schools are increasingly relying on automation and digitalization of classrooms and other administrative areas of importance such as admission, fee collection, student record maintenance, attendance, security and control measures, asset maintenance, etc. The demand for this software is growing exponentially due to constant innovations in the ed-tech field.
What is school management software?
Traditionally software has been used in school administration such as academic planning, fee collection, record maintenance, etc. However, this software was designed to keep in mind specific needs. Over time, it becomes just an arduous task to run or integrate this different software to manage the school operations. Issues such as incompatibility between data, lack of real-time updating between modules and ineffective planning, etc., becomes a hindrance to effective school management.
School management software is an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planner) software specially designed, keeping in mind the requirements and nuances under which schools operate. This school ERP software developed by software companies helps administrators and principals, and other stakeholders, such as teachers, parents, students, vendors, etc. School ERP is a must to run the school operations smoothly and clutter-free.
Guide through features of top 10 school management software in India
Just like there is no one-size-fits-all apparel, the requirements of each school would be unique too. It is essential that before embarking on a journey to digitize and centralize a school’s system and administration, a thorough understanding of the school’s needs, present situation, and future adaptations is necessary. A quick look through the features present across the top 10 school software’s is given below –
Data migration capabilities
The first and foremost feature that you should lookout for while choosing an ERP is its capability to take on the data from existing systems so that the data migration process is smooth and quick. An incompatible school ERP will lead to additional costs of conversion of existing data.
Cloud or Server option
The software company offers ERP falling under the two broad categories of cloud or server option. Under the cloud, options data is stored on the vendor company’s systems and is easily accessible over the internet anytime. On the other hand, the server option is where the information is stored on dedicated systems termed as servers within the school premises.
Application integration (Connectivity)
A sound ERP system assists with the school’s management and enables the teachers, parents, and students to carry out their functions effectively. It is achieved with mobile applications integrated with the school ERP, enabling solutions at their finger-tips.
Most school management software has the required modules such as fee collection and reconciliation, student record maintenance and admission streamlining, pedagogical tools, etc. However, it is to be checked if the software is provided as plug-n-play or if customizations in reporting or modules as a whole can be done. If there are special requirements, then software to customize features and reporting is best suited.
Support from vendor
No matter how advanced and sophisticated the software might be, the vendor must provide continuous updates to the software and provide support services in training, troubleshooting, periodic maintenance. Availability of on-call service personnel with the vendor would be an added advantage.
Data is termed as the oil of the 21st century. Schools remain one of the most vulnerable data repositories due to the personal and confidential nature of data held by them. It is of utmost importance that the data handled by the ERP remain inaccessible to third parties. Secure encryption and ISO certifications of the vendor enhance data protection assurance.
Collaborative and communication tools such as Microsoft Teams, WebEx, MS – Outlook, etc., may be available integrated with ERP. They augment needs that might remain unfulfilled by school ERP.