In speaking with schools and districts about our software, there is one question that never fails to be asked: How do we get access to our data? I feel like I can always detect a strong note of worry whenever this question is asked. I am not privy to the policies of each and every software solution provider out there, but I have a hunch that it can be hit and miss in terms of getting your data out of an online system once you’ve started using it. This is why I always take special care when covering this part of the conversation.
Back when we made the jump to the cloud and started offering our software online, we needed to give some hard thought to what we felt was important to offer our clients. One thing that shaped our thinking was the fact that all of our desktop software was based on Filemaker. If you have any experience with Filemaker, you will know that one thing that it does exceptionally well is handle external data imports and exports. We decided that this was something we didn’t want to give up on the web. As important as it is to an online system to easily accept data from a number of sources, we feel that it is equally important that a client should always have total access to exporting ALL of their data at any time.
We kept that in mind from the very start of our design and now, many years later, you will find that this is a staple feature for all of our software systems. A low level data export tool is available to any system administrator. Using this easy interface, you can select data to be exported from any form, at any site for any date range and then pick and choose to include or exclude any of the standard data fields. You don’t need to call anyone here, you don’t need to send an email, the data is yours, available to you at anytime, easily. If you need your data at 3am in the morning to plug in last years data into an excel spreadsheet pie chart, you can do this and it’s easy.
Over the coming weeks, I will attempt to share some of our outlooks on software and principals that we feel are important when designing a software product and serving our clients. Stay tuned!