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Step 1 — Q&A with Alastair Price

iSAMS Blog

The first priority is to understand the organisation, its mission, vision, target markets, corporate culture, competitive advantage, strengths and weaknesses, marketing strategies and challenges for the future.

Interviewing Managing Director, Alastair Price will provide invaluable insight into the voice, cadence and personality of iSAMS.

Why is the company called iSAMS?

Internet based Schools Admin Management System. A lot of people think it’s: Independent Schools Admin Management System.

What is iSAMS’ mission?

To create a flexible web-based management information system for the entire school community.

Please describe the iSAMS product and its associated services?

The product is an enterprise application system, which means it’s used to satisfy the needs of an organisation, rather than just an individual.

iSAMS manages all of the various aspect of a school, from: bursary and financial matters, to school administration, to academic records, to pastoral and medical services. And our remit is not just a single product. We offer a range of services, that include: support, installation, data importation, reporting, consultative services, custom developed modules and user training.

We sell a complete service. We guarantee 99.9% uptime. We maintain regular updates. We offer reporting. We integrate with third-party products.

Who are the key stakeholders?

School staff
:

  • Head
  • Deputy Head

  • Director of Studies

  • Bursar

  • IB Coordinator (relevant to IB schools only)

  • Office Staff

  • Exams Officer

  • Timetabler

  • Cover Manager

  • IT Administrator

  • Admissions

  • Marketing/Communications Officer
  • Heads of Year

  • Heads of Subject

  • SEN Manager
  • Extra-Curricular Activities Coordinator
  • Pastoral Manager

  • House Master/Mistress

Associations:

  • BSA (boarding.org.uk)
  • BSME (bsme.org.uk)
  • COBIS (cobis.org.uk)
  • FOBISEA 
(fobisea.org)
  • GSA 
(gsa.uk.com)
  • HMC (hmc.org.uk)
  • IAPS (iaps.uk)
  • ISBA (theisba.org.uk)
  • SOH (thesocietyofheads.org.uk)

Who is the target market?

There are two core markets:

  • Individual schools
  • Groups of schools

Who are the competition?

Our four main UK competitors are:

  • Progresso (advanced-learning.co.uk)
  • Schoolbase (furlongsolutions.com)
  • SIMS (capita-software.co.uk)
  • WCBS (wcbs.co.uk)

We’re also aware of four companies in the US:

  • Admin Plus (rediker.com)
  • Edmodo (edmodo.com)
  • PowerSchool (powerschool.com)
  • Schoology (schoology.com)

What are the competitive advantages of iSAMS?

  • Completely web-based

  • Has achieved two cycles of school life

  • Safety in numbers

  • Second largest UK-based Education MIS
  • Tried and tested product and service

  • Modern and forward-thinking business

  • Intuitive interface that’s wizard driven

  • Stakeholder specific modules

  • Parent and student portals

  • iSAMS is one solution, driven by one database

How do you currently market the product?

  • Tradeshows

  • Industry conferences
  • Industry magazines

  • Word of mouth

Are there any trends or changes that affect the Education MIS industry?

iSAMS came along at just the right time and we built a product that moved away from the client-server model, to a web-based product, which everyone wanted.

Technology trends are very important to us and currently we’re working hard on our mobile apps. We’re also focusing on API integration with a range of third-party products.

We’ve noticed that SaaS companies are getting more and more involved with the Education sector and are keen to pull data out of the core management system.

Why do you believe customers are selecting iSAMS over the competition?

We have a strong presence within the sector. iSAMS is a progressive product with a great support team behind it. We also have an experienced install team. We offer more than just a product. We offer a complete service.

iSAMS is a fully integrated management system that has been developed specifically for schools and how they like to operate.

We have no plans on adapting the product to suit other sectors. Our schools are the only priority. Also for the record, iSAMS was not set up using venture-capital money.

What values unify your employees and drive the brand forward?

  • Young, dynamic workforce

  • Remote working ethos

  • Best of breed employees

  • Staff to school ratio is healthy
  • Customer-focused approach

If you could only communicate 3 messages about iSAMS, what would they be?

  • We are an education MIS, built firmly on Microsoft architecture, that’s comfortable with international growth.
  • If you have a product you want us to integrate with, that’s fine.
  • We’re a completely web-based company with a young, dynamic workforce that’s ready to go anywhere in the world.