School ERP – Costs Vs Benefits
Adopting technology in classrooms though beneficial in several ways has it fair share of expenses as well. It is important to keep in mind that School ERPs or School Management solutions do not yield instant results neither in terms of improved operations nor return on investments. While costs are driven by the choice of ERP and related aspects, benefits are realised only with proper use of the ERP. There is no escape from expenses but benefits are not guaranteed, unless the required effort is put in.
Several questions such as the ones below need to be answered prior to investing in a School ERP.
- Does the School need an ERP?
- What does it cost for an ERP implementation?
- Are costs affordable?
- What benefits can be derived?
- Are benefits worth the expenses?
- Is the School ready for the change?
- Let's take look at the key Cost drivers and Benefits associated with School ERPs to get a better understanding of things that matter.
School ERP Costs
School ERP Costs typically comprise several cost elements including but not limited to:
- Price of the software, licensing fees or a subscription fee
- Cost of hardware infrastructure (In case of On-Premise implementation)
- Customization costs – This ideally also must include the cost equivalent of time and effort of in-house staff who are also involved in the process. The contribution employees, familiar with the current system prove quite valuable in building custom features to serve specific requirements.
- Post implementation testing most often requires the time and effort of in-house staff before signing off the implementation.?
- Training costs are something that cannot miss attention. Based on the knowledge levels of the end users (in this case admin staff, teachers, students, and parents) must be trained well to ensure that they are comfortable and confident in using the system.
- Maintenance costs also form an integral part of the expenses.
- Migrating or transitioning to the new School ERP again has its own costs. All paper documents will need to be digitized, old systems phased out in a planned manner to ensure that daily operations are in no way hindered.
- ERP implementations may cause some changes in the current ways of working. The change also comes at a cost.
- Budgeting for unexpected expenses is necessary to avoid any crucial compromises.
- Assigning a monetary value to each of these elements (Hardware, Software, Licenses, Training, Testing, Customizations, Maintenance, Transition) helps gain a fair idea about expenses involved in opting for a school ERP. Of course some of these elements may not be applicable for cloud-based school ERP.
Observed Benefits of School ERP
Unless benefits of School ERP implementation are experienced, benefits that are typically achievable give an idea of what can be expected out of a successful implementation and adoption. Let's note once again that full participation and commitment of all stakeholders is a must to reap benefits.
When implemented right, School ERP implementation usually
- Eliminates repetitive and redundant tasks, saving up lot of time and effort in maintaining duplicate data in different departments
- Ensures transparency, while also making sure that access to information is controlled, based on the users and their roles.
- Speeds up data processing by automating manual tasks using rule based procedures. For instance, student exams can be automatically graded based on the marks.
- Makes it easy to create, edit and manage records across the educational institution.
- Facilitates centralized management and monitoring of operations, even across multiple campuses.
- Helps budget and track department wise expenses more closely as all financial transactions are recorded and traceable.
- Takes the pinch out of generating reports for different recipients
- Improves communication. Electronic communications via e-mail, chat, SMS ensures that relevant and timely information reaches intended recipients.
- Enhances involvement and participation of all stakeholders
- Can influence teaching styles and learning abilities in a positive way.
A cost-benefit analysis is a common exercise carried out to vet the profitability of any new venture and School ERP implementations are no exception. Educational Institutions must make an informed choice by weighing the potential expenses and benefits when opting for a school management system.
by Roshni Gupta | 23 Aug 2016