When the idea of the tests was mooted several years
back it was to be
'online' test delivered through a browser
and therefore accessible to
all. Why is it now 'onscreen' and proprietary?
Here's my tuppence worth - RM want to make money, as much as possible.
The overheads of a web application (for them) are large (servers,
administration etc.). So someone at RM had the idea of hi-jacking a
school's computing facilities (and admin. etc) to save them a packet,
and as usual it's the schools themselves that suffer, and what's
Why are they allowed to rob us like this?
***Because Schools and charities are in
the main a soft touch, they tend not
to have "worldly" people working for them, and use the "ten billion
method of choosing products and services! I see the most bizarre business
practices that would never happen in the "real world"!
Why are ANY PLC's allowed (let alone promoted by government) to sell to
schools in a limited market? Their hearts are in their wallets!
When Capita redesigned SIMS (and their other products) as SIMS.NET
promised faithfully there would be a web front end - I remember a
meeting with their then boss who said just that. What they have
delivered they have very insultingly called 'thin client' - it's nothing
of the sort. It is a very fat suite of client tools interacting with an
MS SQL Server database. They derive the term 'thin' from the ways that
have tried to minimise network traffic :-)
***During my early meetings with them, they said categorically that there
would be no web front end "it's not the right way to go!" (read -
how to!) now they are half heartedly changing their mind but at the same
time telling us what a wonderful thing it is!
They claimed originally that workstation upgrade requirements were
minimal, then revealed a min spec of 256 Mb memory, and (if I remember)
a 300Mb processor, but my experience is that you need 512 K memory, and
about 1.5 Gb processor to get reasonable speed, and a higher spec if you
want to use other applications at the same time while eliminating
slow-downs. Upgrades to stations have cost a packet. At least we went
into this with our eyes open.
***Too true, the actual cost and the projected capita cost for us to upgrade
bear no relation!
And how they can drop support of a product before they've written the next
is beyond me! We've just learnt that the admissions package is to be totally
One beneficial side effect is that Office application and Suites like
Corel work dramatically faster - but it's always easier to demonstrate
administrative need to money men :-)
Only now (3 years down the road from release) are they delivering web
parts which will allow some web-based data interrogation. It's unclear
whether these will work on anything but IE.
***My discussions have been that ONLY IE will be supported - they are
afterall "microsoft partners" [MP]! even their help desk is IE only! :-(
I have heard one cynical thought on a group a while back: that
Microsoft hold shares in Capita, and this is one reason why they have
adopted the .NET executable approach to development. Can anyone
***Don't know about that (un surprised though. - many MP companies go with
.NET though!), but I've been complaining for years that they must have
friends in powerful positions to keep getting government contracts after
ballsing so many up! And low! they've been "lending" money to the