Introducing iSIS - the International School Information System re-imagined

After six years of continuous development, we have re-imagined the school information system and we are proud to announce the first integrated school management suite: ManageBac for planning, assessment & reporting, OpenApply for admissions & enrollment and iSIS for international school information management.

Download iSIS Data Sheet

ManageBac, OpenApply and iSIS in concert provide the first integrated school management system built from the ground up to support international schools with curriculum planning, assessment & reporting, attendance & behavior, parent access and a state-of-the-art billing & finance solution built on top of Xero - the world's leading cloud accounting solution.

Learn more about the IB world school of tomorrow and the systems that power the IB continuum!

The Beginning

When we first set out to build ManageBac six years ago, we were approached by the English Schools Foundation in Hong Kong to participate in a tender for the Teacher's Gateway, which was a system widely used from 2008 onwards by all ESF teachers, students and parents.

The ESF Teacher's Gateway provided us with great insight into the common features that every IB school required, and while we lost the tender to a local competitor eClass, over the following five years, we built-out many of those functions into ManageBac in a sustainable way based on the collective feedback of hundreds of IB coordinators & teachers.

The key difference in our approach was that we standardized functions, so that they could be used globally across all IB schools, rather than blindly customizing for individual schools and saying "Yes" to every request, which would have rendered many of the same functions useless.

The ESF tender was our first exposure to the hodgepodge of information systems, integration challenges, and a complex committee-based decision-making process.

What were some of these core systems common across many IB schools?

In the ideal world, there would be one account for every student, parent and teacher with a centralized identity (e.g. if the home address was changed in one system, it would be reflected across all systems), but the issues were much deeper than just having information synchronized.

These were our observations:

  • Every new system was an additional silo requiring teachers & students to learn a new user interface.
  • New systems necessitated professional development, particularly for less tech-savvy teachers, who had just become comfortable with the old system and saw no reason to switch.
  • Additional systems required IT maintenance & support, requiring the IT department to familiarize themselves within each new system and to provide training & account provisioning support to students, parents and teachers.
  • Fragmentation resulted in greater inconsistency of information across each school's systems without respecting the single-source-of-truth principle.
  • Many systems were locally-hosted resulting in higher maintenance costs, increased a need for continuous monitoring and day-to-day management in applying patches or upgrades.
  • Schools were left with little alternative, but to try to patchwork together and integrate the systems in whichever way they could amongst providers, which frequently did not step back and cooperate in a rational way.

The result of this is that even after six years of working towards this goal, schools have no single integrated school management system that works seamlessly out-of-the-box.

Market Failure

Why weren't these issues addressed over the past 7 years?

These were the reasons from our perspective looking externally at the situation:

  1. Lack of sufficient scale to support the service and absence of stable management.
  2. Conflicting demands and lack of product focus: the international school segment accounted for a minority, 5-15% of each systems provider' overall business. It was not a critical priority.
  3. Failing to adequately reinvest in product development with dated user interfaces from the 1990s.
  4. Promising improvements without delivering anything consistently.
  5. Commitment to the client/server model, which was both difficult to maintain and support, and which resulted in every school having different versions of the same system.
  6. Lack of transparent pricing by vendors made the process highly confusing for schools to navigate without any basis of comparison.
  7. Pushing for extreme customization in an unrealistic timeframe, rather than collaboratively working to build a shared product benefiting all schools.
  8. Extreme risk aversion among IT & Technology Directors to undergo a systems change in the absence of a reliable and trustworthy technology partner (i.e. this would mean serious career risk)

The result of this was that in the span of the past six years, we have seen several major companies go into a run-off scenario (i.e. customer churn of 10%+), where product improvements were not made, where a new owner fails to rectify the issues, where price increases are unreasonable and unwarranted, and schools are left with an unreliable partner with deteriorating support.

Why iSIS and why now?

iSIS provides a single integrated school information system designed for international schools with demographics, behavior, analytics and seamless integration with ManageBac, OpenApply and third party timetables. Together with Xero and Stripe payments, you can manage billing and invoicing online with a state-of-the-art cloud accounting system.

  • Integrated architecture provides a single user account with single sign-on access to all systems.
  • Eliminate multiple redundant systems and improve administrative efficiency.
  • Monitor academics, reporting, attendance & finance in real-time.
  • Automate billing, reduce errors and increase convenience for parents.
  • Accessible anywhere across any device (iPhone, iPad, Mac or PC).
  • Fast & effective implementation with data migration & setup in weeks - not months.
  • Reduced total cost of ownership with a trusted long-term systems partner.

Cloud-Hosted

iSIS is hosted on our secure cloud at the iWeb Montreal data center.

Data Protection & Security

Standard 256-bit SSL encryption, optional two-factor authentication and advanced read & write permissions.

Integrated Family & Student Profile

Core Features


Demographics

Family & student details are synchronized instantly between iSIS, ManageBac and OpenApply ensuring that information remains accurate and up-to-date.

Dashboard

Activity feeds and daily digest notifications allow you to track admissions & enrollment, academics through reports & transcripts, behavior & advisory comments and billing & invoicing in one integrated system.

Academics

Reports & transcripts together with advisory comments provide a timeline of academic achievement across years. Easily export to PDF for printing, or send via e-mail in case of a student transfer.

Behavior & Discipline

Award commendations and log incidents with required actions. Optionally notify parents or the Head of year.

Attendance

Monitor attendance by homeroom & class period, automate attendance notifications via e-mail & SMS, and plan attendance cover in case of sick-leave.

Timetables

Import timetables directly in CSV format allowing you to instantly update attendance schedules. Browse student timetables at a glance and export to PDF.

Analytics

In addition to our powerful Curriculum analytics in ManageBac, you can easily track academics, behavior and attendance by individual student, grade or programme. With a built-in set of dashboards for your IB Coordinator to track predicted grades vs. exam results and for your Leadership team to track overall academic progress, staffing and budgeting.

Billing & Invoicing

Provide parents with greater convenience through online invoicing and payment. iSIS supports a host of billing options and multi-invoice billing with the ability to split invoices across parents, company sponsor, legal guardians, etc.

Xero Cloud Accounting

Built on top of Xero - the world's most advanced, state-of-the-art cloud accounting system. Loved by over 200,000 users worldwide. Automatic two-way syncing with Xero. Import or link & merge existing contacts. Segregate quoting, billing, invoicing and shipping contacts on your Xero invoices. Secure customer portal enables customers to directly updating billing & contact information. Xero is the world's leading cloud accounting system with bank reconciliation, invoicing, financial reporting, expense claims, payroll and inventory.

Why transition to the cloud?

Moving your school information system to the Cloud provides greater accessibility from both school and home, lower total cost of ownership, and greater reliability, redundancy & safety with automated backups and 24/7 monitoring.

iSIS can be hosted on our secure cloud at iWeb Montreal data center, or you can deploy iSIS directly onto your Amazon Web Services account in any global data center with full control over your data and peace-of-mind.

Data Protection & Security

We take data protection seriously. If you are hosted on our cloud, your data is written to multiple disks on RAID storage instantly and backed up daily across multiple locations. Daily incremental file backups are performed via an encrypted SSH connection. Version history enables us to go back in time to retrieve backups at a specific point. Weekly disk image backups are stored securely with encryption on Amazon EC2 servers in Singapore. We maintain three weeks of disk image snapshots.

Complimentary Cloud Backup

If you are using any of the following student information (or management information) systems (SIS/MIS), we can provide a complimentary, no cost backup & migration of your core student & family data, so that you can test-drive iSIS first hand and see how it functions with OpenApply & ManageBac.


  • Advanced Learning Facility (formerly Serco)

  • Rediker AdminPlus

  • WCBS

  • Powerschool

  • Capita SIMS

Migration, data cleansing and export typically take between 1-2 weeks and are done through our partner Groupcall Ltd.

Submit Registration of Interest
Through January 2014

About Faria Systems

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about iSIS. We believe that it brings the community of IB world schools one step closer to having a highly efficient, standardized, and robust information system, which will support your school's continued development well into the future.

We were founded with the goal of ensuring that IB world schools have the best technology infrastructure available to match the IB's high standard of curriculum excellence.

Today our flagship service ManageBac is the leading planning, assessment and reporting system for IB world schools - the trusted choice of 7 in 10 IB Diploma students at over 1,200 leading schools.

  • Angelica Nierras
    Managing Director
  • iHower Chang
    Chief Technology Officer
  • Theodore King
    Co-Founder


  • Integrated Information Systems
    for International Education

  • Office Address

    Faria Systems Inc.
    548 Market St. #40438
    San Francisco, CA 94104
    USA

  • Taipei Branch Office
    2/F, No. 3, Lane 27
    Section 4, Ren'Ai Road
    Da'an District, Taipei 106
    Taiwan (R.O.C.)

  • Telephone

      +1 866 297 7022

      +44 208 133 7489


    E-mail

  •   +852 8175 8152

      +61 02 8006 2335