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Online vs Offline school management software

Until a certain point, the determinant factor of any school system was the ability to produce beautiful report cards for students and parents. Previously, many software developers focused on developing report-making software; some diversified to include accounting and communication packages however, many gaps were left out in their typically offline products. Luckily, we are way past that time, modern technology is nothing like its predecessors with internet-based school software options.

But given the many software programs in the market, how do you find the best?

What attributes define an ideal software for your school? If you were to choose between online and offline software, what would you choose?

These are some of the questions we will attempt to answer in the following sections. If you want to know which software takes the lion’s share when it comes to online vs offline, here’s a brief insight.

What is online software?

Online software is that which runs on the internet and requires two things to operate: 1) a Web browser like Chrome/Firefox/safari, and 2) an internet connection. Common examples of online software include Gmail and Yahoo.

In education, dotShule is a typical example of online school software. These software systems can operate on gadgets such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops.

What is offline software?

Offline software is any software that doesn't connect to a network. Offline software is installed on a computer from a CD or a flash drive. After installation, it resides on the computer/laptop. Examples of offline software include MS Office (older versions), Tally, Quickbooks etc. Most of the school management software fall in this category

You might be wondering how the two software categories contend against each other in schools; now that you have an idea about online and offline school software. The table below highlights some of the differences between the two to know how they fare against each other.

Online school software

Offline school software

1. Internet Connection

​Requires internet to be operated

Does not require internet

2. Storage

Storage is automatic and backed up each time changes are made in records.

There is no room for backing up information with changes. It would require external storage components.

3. Information access

Information can be accessed from anywhere on a smartphone, tablet or computer.

Information is accessed from a specific computer where the software is installed.

4. Scalability

Its capacity can be increased to manage large volumes of information

It is not scalable enough to manage large volumes of information.

5. Software updates

No efforts needed from the user

A lot of effort is needed by a user.

6. Information loss and security

​Information is regularly backed up automatically and is very safe if stored on servers in data centres with international security certifications.

Risk of data loss on hardware issues, disk crash etc.

7. Virus threats

Sturdy and safe from virus threats.

Can be affected by viruses.

Schools fall under the service industry, and like any service industry, they rely on their information to make decisions to remain competitive. The guiding principles in information management are that information should readily be available in the prerequisite time and the form it is needed. Aware that school information accumulates very fast, schools deploy software systems to contend with the fast-growing information.

So, which one takes the crown?

Online school management software takes the lead as it is entirely safe and stable. The most important thing for any school is to secure its records and information.

It is much safer to store your school records in a secure online system than to keep them offline on a computer. Such information may get lost due to disasters, for example, hacking, computer crash, theft or viruses etc. This is the primary benefit of using a standard online school management software with multiple secure servers at your service located in separate physical locations, implying that if one server crashes or fails, the other will continue to function and keep your usage session active. The best thing is that this transition between the two servers is seamless and consistently operates at the same time.

Some people, however, remain sceptical of online school software systems because they tend to keep their data where they can see it. We are not saying that it is wrong, after reading this article, you'll see why using online software rather than storing your school information on a local computer is safer and more reliable.

This article is to share some light on the relevant aspects so that YOU decide on choosing an appropriate school software system for your school. Your preferences, objectives, circumstances and considerations are unique to you. A software vendor should not decide for you!

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