Customized School Management Software – Too much can be Dangerous
Off the shelf or often called the packaged or ready-made software make things easier because of its originality and completeness. After sale support and acceptance by the school is also streamlined because the software is well known and has been tested by several similar models. On the other hand Customized School Management Software is achieved by the alteration of ready-made software to meet individual requirements of a school. Variation of customer requirements may become necessary which results in Customized School Management Software. Generally speaking, there are some vendors that have poorly understood the concept and have erroneously started claiming that they are offering full customization of software.
Upkeep, tuning and enhancement of any School Management Software are the most important tasks for the software existence. Once software is put to use by a school, it has to be promptly improved and enhanced.
Following are three types of Customized School Management Software:
Customization by Changing Configuration
The first type of Customized School Management Software is usually denoted to as “customization by configuration”. This is least harmful because it includes changes in the essential aspects of a school, such as change of logo and their color scheme to reflect their color and style. Ready-made software may provide such options as built in features. Reports would also need to show school’s uniqueness in the headings etc to identify their originality.
This type of customization will usually be provided for small and medium types of schools as part and parcel of their package without enhancing the prices because it requires fairly less efforts by the software vendors and there will not be any changes made in the code.
Customized School Management Software through Minor Tuning
The second type of Customized School Management Software is through ‘Minor Tuning’ by making small changes in the program codes. Ready-made software often comes with fixed suppositions and processes. These suppositions may not exactly match with the existing working procedures of some schools. Such schools may require some amount of software tuning so that it should fit closely with their existing structural needs. Software tuning may include minor changes in the software code. This type of tuning may also require ‘Module’ selection or configuration of options.
While making selection of modules, the customer may decide on one or more components of the software. E.g a school may not require Fee module of the software because they want to use only the Examination module. In this situation, the Customized School Management Software is modified by including or removing those modules.
Customized School Management Software through Modification of Data Base Tables
The third type of Customized School Management Software is by making modification in data base tables. Table modification method is by allowing a school to remove or add certain fields which are better suited for their needs. This type of tuning is to be done very carefully because it may result in errors due to missing or extra fields which are used elsewhere in the program code.
Too Much of Customized School Management Software Can be Dangerous
Customization of ready-made software needs to be performed carefully. The first and second types of Customized School Management Software, if properly implemented, should deliver a suitable level of acceptability. Third type of Customized School Management Software through data base changes may reduce the life cycle of the software because its long term support may not be guaranteed.
Customized School Management Software through data base changes should not be freely offered. A high frequency of tuning and modifications may also result in greater risk of system crashes. Level of customization is an important factor to decide whether the software should be adopted by a school or not.
Customization of software is a highly technical and focused task therefore it requires skilled technical support that is often hard to find and expensive to preserve. Additionally, the end product may require higher level of expertise to operate. As a rule of thumb, too much customization can be dangerous because it may lead to greater risk of problems.