Home' Belonging Early Years Journal : Vol 5 No 2 Contents regulatory requirements, and looking to technology to
effectively and efficiently document the learning and
development journey of each child.
Experts remain divided in their views – can
software truly support the requirements of a
complex pedagogy without compromising
The solution lies in efficiency. We need our educators
to work smarter, not harder, and with the right online
documentation information system to support
them, so that we can achieve significant efficiency
goals. By putting the educator back in control of the
documentation process, we can achieve quality
improvement, increase employee satisfaction, drive
professional development and reduce costs overall.
What is an information system?
An information system is any organised system
for the collection, organisation, storage and
communication of information. More specifically, it
is the study of complementary networks that people
and organisations use to collect, filter, process,
create and distribute data.
We have entered an era whereby new quality
‘enterprise-grade’ information systems are emerging,
which are worthy of consideration.
Why spend the money on an information
system when an app is a fraction of the cost?
Apps are very limiting, and often perform only a
few functions – a fragment of a business’s needs.
Information systems, however, tend to cater for a large
part of the business – if not all of its needs.
Put simply, it might be the difference between a
car and a truck – it’s bigger, does more and is far
Choose carefully, and you’ll get your return
on investment (ROI) – maybe not in the first year,
but perhaps in the second or third. Unlike current
paper processes, a good-quality information system
can significantly improve, among other things, the
collaboration and engagement between
management, staff, parents/guardians, healthcare
professionals and, of course, children using a real-
time, centralised system
workflow automation – create, review, approve,
disseminate and engage
tracking and monitoring – provide tools to allow
efficiency and empower staff to make more
documentation – revitalise and enhance
educators’ connection to, and passion for, the
documentation cycle by making it fun and
1. What the software needs to do (for instance,
Is the solution flexible and powerful enough to meet
your needs and culture? This probably varies from
room to room (age group to age group), or for larger
chains, from service to service, or region to region.
2. Build or buy? (custom-built or off-the-shelf?)
Custom solutions provide the best fit if a business is truly
unique, but a pre-written solution that allows a great
deal of customisation offers the best of both worlds.
3. Intuitive design
Don’t underestimate this one. Remember that
acceptance will be low, and you will have a significant
challenge ahead of you if you have very busy staff
members who have conflicting priorities (such as
those in an environment that can be difficult to
concentrate in), and need a 200-page user manual,
or get frustrated using software that is difficult to use.
4. Budget (cost)
The total cost of ownership (TCO) for enterprise software
is the sum of all direct and indirect costs incurred by that
software, and is a critical part of the ROI calculation;
however, it is often ignored or woefully underestimated.
The TCO of a shift to electronic equals start-up
costs plus operational costs.
Start-up costs are the costs incurred when getting
new software into action – these can include:
Software – the software pricing model. Will you
choose a one-off fee or annual licence?
Hardware – devices such as tablets,
phablets, laptops and PCs. In my experience,
room leaders or anyone creating lengthy
documentation prefer an external keyboard,
and those staff members who might be
capturing photos/jottings/routine information
prefer the mobility and portability of a tablet or
Internet – wi-fi points and internet plan
upgrades are probably required. From
consumers of data, you shift towards being
publishers (if the product is cloud-based).
Hundreds of high-definition photos uploading
technology + software
48 • BELONGING EARLY YEARS JOURNAL • VOLUME 5 NUMBER 2 • 2016
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