For this term’s User Group meetings, we changed the format by inviting both passFINANCE and 3sysACADEMIC customers and created an agenda that would hopefully be of interest to everybody. Then, for the breakout sessions, delegates could choose which to attend, depending on their particular field. Did the format work better?

Here are some comments:

  • I thought the mix of finance and academic was brilliant – it allowed us all to share our experiences of each system. Good for networking and references well should anyone be interested in the system they aren’t currently using. For example, it was good for me to speak to someone using the admissions system so I could see if it might be of use to us.
  • I found it useful to hear some of the things that are used for the academic side to consider whether it would be something that we could look into using.
  • I sat with two accounts staff and enjoyed finding out how they used PASS.
  • It was useful and although I’m from finance, I found the talk on the cloud useful.
  • I found the new set up very beneficial. It was good to have more focused sessions, but also to share ideas.

Why do customers attend?

User group meetings are free to attend, but of course our customers’ time is valuable, so we need to ensure the day’s content is worthwhile. Here are some reasons given to us as to what is wanted – spot the theme?

  • It is a useful way to keep up to date with all things to do with WCBS and external issues that need to be incorporated into the system.
  • A very useful day. Always good to catch up with everyone and to get an update from WCBS. I attended the Academic but would like to have attended the Finance also.
  • To hear about new enhancements and to hear about O365.
  • Interested to know how WCBS progressing in respect of new products and enhancements of existing modules.

More feedback from attendees

How do we know all the points above? Those who’ve attended any of our User Group meetings will know that we strongly encourage you to use the link to a feedback form – this helps us plan future meetings. Here are some of the comments we have received this term to show that most attendees feel we are getting the content right.

  • I enjoy the opportunity to meet people from other schools as well as WCBS. It seems to be the best way to find out what new things will be available e.g HUBapply. It gives me a chance to ask direct questions.
  • I attended to get info on finance package changes ahead and ‘Making Tax Digital’.
  • I thought the day overall was very good. I thoroughly enjoyed the talk from Mark Reynolds from Hable. He was entertaining and really knowledgeable. I also really enjoyed the Finance breakout session and in particular Andrea Hare’s presentation – again she was highly knowledgeable and interesting and took a genuine interest in the questions and issues posed to her at the end.
  • It’s good to have speakers making us aware of where IT is heading.
  • I learnt that there could be a report that we should be creating and submitting that we currently are not!

Constructive criticism?

We always welcome all types of feedback, that’s why we encourage you to complete the survey, and although the positive comments were by far in the majority, we take on board remarks such as:

  • The Finance break-out session was most relevant and could have been longer.
  • Breakout session was useful but not really enough time to ask questions.
  • I look after all parts of the MIS system so it would have been useful to attend both workshops.
  • A lot of what was covered wasn’t relevant to me. Not much was covered on payroll.

It does mean, however, that we will still look at timings and maybe the option to submit questions, and perhaps for the last point, our agenda needs to be publicised more clearly.

Whatever the feedback, though, do please try to complete the form – the questions are reasonably easy to answer, especially straight after the event and it really does help us to ensure we fill the meeting with useful content.

The cloud and Office 365

We were so pleased that Mark Reynolds, founder of Hable could join us for all but the last meeting. His presentation was so well received and just about everyone went away with information that they will be able to use back at school.

WCBS Product Director discusses third party partnership programme

Do our customers need to be offered such a variety of apps to run their schools successfully? Product Director Neil Butcher explained that a good MIS will offer 90% of everything a school needs at a high level, the remaining 10% will be filled by applications provided by experts in what they deliver. Neil explained about the third party partnership programme WCBS has established with experts that our customers can rely on.

A question was raised regarding the integration between PASS and HUBapply – how will the records be linked between the two separate products?

“We are building some middle ware that will allow you to create a unique identifier on the first upload – this link will then always exist giving a seamless integration,” replied Neil.

On the rest of the events, Neil commented on how Hable delivered a very professional presentation that was both informative and thought provoking and that both the Finance and Academic break out sessions were well received.

“Guru” time for hints and tips

Finally, on to a review of the two hints and tips sessions provided by our Senior Solutions Specialist, Richard Walling, or as one delegate so aptly put it on her feedback form, “Always good to get the “Guru” time with Richard for hints and tips – always learn something new!” (Thanks, Fo!)

This is what Richard had to say after the final event:

“Our Hints and Tips sessions are always a popular element of WCBS’ User group meetings. The topics selected concentrate on how our customers can make the best use of the software in a variety of real-life situations. This can range from interaction with Microsoft Office applications to use of specific modules within the system or using new features as fully as possible.

The sessions are accompanied by notes that the delegates can take away or download, and always include a Question and Answer session where delegates can raise any topics that they wish. Often this will result in hints and tips being passed on from one delegate to the others, where a user has found a particularly useful feature or has used the system in an imaginative way which has saved time or given improved results.

It’s not unusual for delegates to contact us after an event to say “I went back to school and tried the technique we were shown. It worked a treat and will save me time in the future”. All in all, another good reason to attend the User Group meetings.”

Do look out for our User Group meetings each Autumn and try to come along – if you do make it then complete a feedback form afterwards because you will help us shape the future of these events.