Enterprise software implementation has a history and maturity. With time, experts discover new reasons for failure of such implementations. Yet, it remains inconclusive on how to implement an ERP system like a Student Information System to ensure success.
An ERP is a massive application that has the capability to automate every process within your educational institution. The most common mistake is the attempt to implement the software in its complete entirety at one go. This results in prolonged implementation cycles which cause a significant loss of interest among its adopters, since they are not able to visualise any benefit from this system during this implementation period. Everyone has their regular job to do, and so, the users get back to deliver their daily routine instead of wasting time with the student information system. Several such incidents have made even good Student Information systems a failure.
Second, off course is the choice of a non-standard, poor quality software. No matter how much time and money you spend, your project is bound for failure. Such software go through substantial change in their code, to suit the processes, and result in a completely new, unmanaged, piece of junk. No one has any clue on which direction the changes were made and what were the recursive effect of these changes on other modules of the software. Running these software becomes a nightmare, where the institutions puts in a team of resources for daily trouble shooting, sometimes leading to big embarrassment.
How to be successful?
Let us redefine the age old traditional way of implementing a Student Information System. First, identify the most critical and immediate need. These are your business needs which can span one department or multiple departments. For example, let us assume that your most critical need is to create a digital record of all your students that can be easily accessible or retrievable by authorised users. Your send priority is to create a communication hub with which your public relations department can easily start communicating with all stakeholders, and third is to enable payment of online fees by students or their parents.
In such a case, identify those people in your institution who are already responsible for these priority areas. Involve them in the project early, so that they develop a sense of belonging to the software. This will also eliminate the need for rigorous change management cycles. Plus, you have not disturbed the entire institution at the same time, so your regular activities can continue as it has always been. Once these top 3 priority areas have been implemented, move to another 3 areas, like scheduling and planning, accounting and finance, inventory, etc.
I have personally seen many Student Information Systems fail only due to the lack of sustainable interests by the stakeholders. If you can follow this simple guideline, let me assure that failures will substantially reduce or be totally eliminated.