Future-ready culture accelerates positive change
Wisconsin school district embraces role as business office trailblazer
Change is uncomfortable and oftentimes intimidating. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that most school districts are apprehensive about changing the technology they use every day. That simply isn't the case at Menasha Joint School District (MJSD), where innovation and change is ingrained in the culture.
Under the leadership of Brian Adesso, director of business services, MJSD's business office has developed an enthusiasm for improving efficiencies and strengthening culture. That same excitement is why MJSD's business office readily bought in to the latest financial and human resources technology.
"WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT QMLATIV IS THAT IT'S SO CUSTOMIZABLE. EVERYONE LEARNS IN A DIFFERENT WAY AND LOOKS AT THINGS IN A DIFFERENT WAY."
Unlike most districts looking to upgrade business office solutions, MJSD enjoyed its current enterprise resource planning technology and wanted to stay with its current provider. The district, which used Skyward's web-based platform SMS 2.0 and PaC, a Point-and-Click system, wanted to upgrade to Skyward's latest solution to position itself for the future and provide the best overall experience for business office personnel.
As Adesso described, the district enjoyed many of SMS 2.0's benefits. "We loved that employees could use the check estimator to make informed decisions, our business office enjoyed running our training through an online form and being able to record everything, and we were able to turn all of our human resources and vendor files paperless in Skyward."
Still, MJSD knew that upgrading to Skyward's latest solution would offer new enhancements such as customization, consolidated systems, greater accessibility, deeper reporting, and a more enjoyable user interface.
"Our business office staff saw that Qmlativ was the future and gave us total buy-in and commitment," explained Adesso. "They are the type of staff that wants to take full advantage of the solution to make everything more efficient."
"I WANT TO CREATE MORE TRANSPARENCY AND EASIER-TO-READ REPORTS, MORE APPEALING REPORTS."
MJSD is making the move to Skyward's Qmlativ School Business Suite.
"While Qmlativ is developed by programmers, you can tell right away they are doing what the end-user wants by looking at the interface," stated Adesso. "They are asking districts for input on what it should look like and what they should call things, and that's been apparent in our first experiences."
As MJSD prepares their team for the transition to Qmlativ, that enthusiasm will be important to the learning process. The district's goal is to give staff as much hands-on experience as possible using the system before it's fully implemented. So far, MJSD's team has attended user-group sessions, experimented in Qmlativ's testing environment to learn how certain features work, and will soon be diving into the Professional Development Center (PDC) a training and development portal. In the PDC, staff will take courses on the solutions they'll be using most often, earn badges, and celebrate their accomplishments together.
"WE ARE EXCITED TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO PAVE THE WAY FOR MORE WISCONSIN DISTRICTS TO MAKE THIS TRANSITION."
Early in the learning process, MJSD's team is already finding out how valuable Qmlativ's flexible architecture and user-friendly design is. With workflow-based solutions, the district's new hires and current staff are finding that the transition to Qmlativ will be smooth. As an added benefit, Qmlativ will continue to grow and develop with the needs of MJSD's staff.
"What we love about Qmlativ is that it's so customizable. Everyone learns in a different way and looks at things in a different way," Adesso said. "It's great that the software can be configured for specific people based on the way they like to think and work, and then other staff can have it set up totally different based on their needs."
Adesso personally finds the mobility and accessibility of Qmlativ to be the most useful feature. In MJSD's past experiences, the business office used PaC for some of their business operations. While it was an enjoyable experience, this meant
that configuration needed to be done on local machines, which prohibited the district from using multiple work stations.
Therefore, when the district wanted to provide mobile access, everything needed to be downloaded ahead of time before PaC could be operational. Once Qmlativ is fully adopted at MJSD, that will be consolidated into one solution.
"In the past, our business office needed to use both Pac and Skyward's SMS 2.0 web solution to process our payroll," said Adesso. "Now, we will be more productive and efficient because all of our payroll tools will be consolidated in Qmlativ."
Another feature MJSD's business office looks forward to using is Qmlativ's reporting tool. "I'm really excited about the detailed and deep reporting and data gathering you can do with Qmlativ," explained Adesso. Tie in the product's high level of accessibility and staff will more easily share data and reports directly from Skyward.
Even better, MJSD's team will enjoy taking full advantage of the built-in report writer. This means that staff will be able to customize easy-to-read reports for their stakeholders. "I really want to create better reports for the community," said Adesso. "I want to create more transparency and easier-to-read reports, more appealing reports, and I know that Qmlativ will help us accomplish that goal."
MJSD's future-ready journey is already off to an exciting start, and if all goes as planned, soon they'll be joined by their neighbors. In fact, at least six districts surrounding MJSD are waiting to make the transition to Qmlativ according to Adesso. But that doesn't come with any added pressure. "We are excited to have the opportunity to pave the way for more Wisconsin districts to make this transition," explained Adesso.
And when those districts do change over to Qmlativ, Adesso has some welcoming words of advice. "Expect an easier to use, more intuitive experience."
To learn more about how Skyward’s unmatched combination of thought leadership, best practices and advanced technologies can help your district and staff get the most out of its SIS or ERP solution, visit www.skyward.com
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