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We talked earlier this week about 15 Questions to Ask Your Data Integration Vendor. We would like to take the opportunity today to give our answers to those 15 questions.

1. How many industries does your company sell solutions to?

CPSI only works with PK-12 education agencies and State Departments of Education. We understand your unique requirements and needs. We understand the sensitive nature of data for children and have extensive experience with FERPA and HIPPA regulations. We know that you need software that is maintainable by a small IT staff. All of our software is easy-to-use and easy-to-maintain. We know that money doesn’t grow on trees, so we try to keep our costs reasonable. We work with you to implement a solution within your budget.

2. Do you have a strong understanding of FERPA and HIPPA?

At CPSI, we take student privacy very seriously. Since we only work with the education world, we spend a lot of time staying up to date on the latest policies regarding FERPA and HIPPA. All of our software strictly adheres to the regulations stated in these acts.

3. Can I upkeep your solution on my limited number of staff members?

We know that education organzations have limited resources, and that includes staff. All of our software is designed to work efficiently so you rarely have to touch the system once it is in place. We believe that districts should be empowered to care for their own systems if they so choose. We provide all of the training needed and are always here to help. We never nickel and dime, so when you purchase support from us, go ahead and ask us as many questions as you like.

4. How long have you been in business? How long have you been in the PK-12 business? Why are you pursuing the PK-12 business?

CPSI has been in business since 1990 and exclusively serves the PK-12 industry. We have been there through grant periods and periods of no grants. We have stayed here while other companies have come and gone. We are dedicated to education and helping districts make data work for them. Our commitment has and always will be to students and the hard working people who make education possible.

5. Do you charge for integration consulting? What kind of consulting can I get before I agree to a purchase?

At CPSI, we know that there is a lot of work to do in order to learn what solution will best fit your district’s needs. We offer free data integration consulting services so that you can see exactly what you will be buying and how it all works together. We ask a lot of questions up front to eliminate surprises later on. You will receive a proposal (for free) that includes diagrams, timelines, and explanations of exactly what you are buying. We never nickel and dime our clients.
We understand that change is inevitable – both big and small. We never charge extra for the small changes. When a large changes occur, we will discuss that with you and see what options we have so that costs and time are reduced. With CPSI, you don’t have to pay for everything.

6. Does your software meet my integration needs and not just a great dashboard?

CPSI prides itself on its data integration systems. We don’t have snazzy dashboards for your teachers, but we can give you the backbone and foundation you require so that you CAN have snazzy dashboards for your teachers. Once the foundation is in place, there are many different companies that can provide you with dashboards and reports. Without the foundation, you will have snazzy looking dashboards and reports that are inaccurate and out-of-date. We have many partners that we can refer you to or subcontract to complete your system with excellent visual representation.

7. How flexible is the software configuration? Can I make changes to the configuration myself? How do we add data, users, and applications to the system after the initial implementation? What happens if we change our Student Information System?

CPSI’s software is flexible enough to allow you to integrate all or nearly all of your systems. With our solution, you can make configuration changes yourself without incurring consulting service fees. We will train you to add data to the system yourself. The foundation is solid so applications can be changed without affecting the backbone of the system. The flexibility of the CPSI solution set allows your system to stay up-to-date and remain sustainable.

8. Do you offer training so that I can maintain the system myself?

CPSI offers you complete training on the system you purchase. We want you to understand how it works, whether you expect us to maintain it in the future or you plan on maintaining it yourself. We never force our clients to rely on us – we let our clients make that choice. Our support team is an extension of your team, so you can ask as many or few questions as you need.

9. What are the system’s hardware requirements? Does it sit in the cloud? How expensive is the cloud-hosting?

CPSI does not sell hardware or cloud services, although we can work on pretty much any cloud hosted environment. You can choose the cloud of your choice or host your own system on site. Our solutions are flexible and work in nearly any hardware environment – in the cloud or on-site.

10. If the system is cloud hosted, where will amy data be physically located? How secure is your cloud?

CPSI does not sell cloud services, but we do recommend that when choosing a cloud hosted environment, you ask this question of your hosting provider.

11. Is the system scalable? How hard is it to add more horsepower to the system?

The CPSI solution is easy to expand when you need more horsepower. The software is horizontally scalable, which means that you only need to place more hardware on line and connect it to get better performance.

12. How long with the implementation take and what will be my responsibilities?

CPSI works with you during the planning period to understand your current system and your vision. We also work with you to understand how much time you have to spend on the project. Implementations can take weeks to months, depending on the complexity of the system and the time spent on the project. We will let you know when delays are occurring and update the timeline appropriately.

13. How do you handle support after the implementation?

CPSI has multiple support options – from standard telephone support to complete support where we become an extension of your technical team. We take care of nearly all issues within 24 hours, depending on the degree of the problem. For instance, if there is a simple resolution such as a configuration option, that is taken care of immediately. Software bugs can take 24 hours to a few days, depending on the severity of the issue and if it can be replicated or not. We make every effort to solve your problem as quickly as possible.

14. Does your vendor offer ways to collect and validate the data in real time? Is the data stored using data standards or is it a proprietary model?

As data is collected using our model, the data is stored using xDStore.  Our xDStore has the ability to store data using any data standard you choose.  We never use proprietary models for storeing data. CPSI also offers a real-time model for validating data as it is collected through our xDValidator.  The xDValidator lets you take control of validating data without the need for writing code.

15. How can I use my own data once it is collected?

With CPSI, we never charge you to use your own data.  Your data is always yours to use how you need as a district.  Since our software is always hosted at your site or on your own cloud, you are always in control.

If you would like to learn more about how CPSI helps districts with data integration or would like to learn more about our products, please visit our website.  You can also call us at 800-689-8240 or e-mail us at [email protected].

About The Author

Profile photo of Michelle Elia

President, Director of Operations and Project Management Michelle Elia founded CPSI with Aziz Elia over 20 years ago with the idea that technology could be used to help students succeed. Michelle is devoted to the world of education and is currently completing dissertation for her PhD in Education. Michelle also has a Bachelor’s of Science in Aerospace Engineering, MBA in Marketing, and a Master’s Certificate in IT/IS Project Management. Michelle supports many charities and works hard to help children in need whenever she can. She is a strong supporter of Share Our Strength, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, St. Louis Food Bank, and World Wildlife Federation, Sunshine Ministries, and US Fund for UNICEF.

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