Strong system working on getting even better
Updated August 04, 2020
Strong system working on getting even better
Score 9 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Blackbaud Education Management Solutions (formerly Blackbaud K–12 ON Solutions)
- LMS: flexible, integrates, fairly easy for faculty to use.
- Support: Outstanding support. Their front end is truly exceptional
- Responsive: As we moved to distance learning spring of 2020, they focused on development/enhancements on aspects of the product that supported distance learning based on suggestions in the community.
- Cross-divisional course enrollment: A total nightmare having a middle school student enrolled in an upper school course. The enrollment is easy enough but good luck creating a report card, tracking conflicts in scheduling, etc.
- Analytics: Getting better but attempting to get data out of the system to analyze is not intuitive. The new Insights feature is moving in the right direction but mostly focused on admissions and not academics at this point
- Update releases: Blackbaud updates regularly which is great except their timing of releases can be lousy. For example, updating how the scheduling system works at the beginning of the new semester when students are attempting course changes, revamping the report card builder at the end of a marking period. Everything may be working fine Monday when you leave but then it is "changed" Tuesday morning. Also, when enhancements are released, they should explain how to use the new enhancements, not just announce they have been released.
- SIS/LMS integration is excellent.
- LMS strength has made distance learning during the pandemic much easier for teachers and students.
- More time spent running analytics, much more time.
- Operational efficiency
- Improved insights
- Improved internal and external communications
- A connected school solution
Faculty/student interaction via LMS has definitely improved with EMS. We are also able to produce professional communications with all constituents with the system. Integrating with Raiser's Edge NXT has not been seamless but the bugs seem to have been worked out of our integration. Admissions have benefitted from the insights the software offers, but the software is not as robust in providing insights to academic performance.
Initial integration with Raiser's Edge NXT was extremely buggy causing issues in the NXT database. After about 18 months of fine-tuning, I believe the issues have been resolved after some very fine-tuning. This is not a single database solution. There are multiple databases that update each other. Be sure you understand what data is set to overwrite what data.
Thes best front end in the business. The Blackbaud support team is exceptional. Navigating the Knowledgebase is little cumbersome, but this has improved in recent years. Blackbaud University has some excellent instructors and provides a strong program to help educate users on to maximize the system. If you do not subscribe to the highest level of support, these courses can be pricey. Also, understand their tiered support system so you know whether or not you only have chat support or phone-in support.
Interfaces with prospective families well. Has some very strong features—scheduling events and appointments, committee review, etc.
Very intuitive so even less tech-savvy teachers can make use of its features. Supports a robust variety of content. Teachers may import content from previous years, across class sections, and across courses.
Very cumbersome to set up. You must really plan and understand the subtleties of the system prior to actually engaging the setup. As an Academic Dean, I feel Education Edge was a stronger and more flexible SIS, but Education Edge lacked the exceptional LMS and user interface EMS has. Blackbaud has been working diligently over the last 4 years to get EMS up to speed with Education Edge in terms of flexibility and data access.
Clean, intuitive, excellent integration—we are very pleased with our website since moving to Blackbaud.
LMS aspect is extremely strong. The user interface is intuitive and pretty easy to learn even for less tech-oriented teachers and families. Initial set up is extremely cumbersome and needs to be thoroughly planned prior to beginning—there are nuances that will sneak up on you and cause issues if not considered well in advance. An example is setting up your grade plans correctly so you can have report cards appear as you want. Be sure you speak in-depth with your product manager about importing data from your previous SIS and understand what will and will not be imported. It is very difficult to harvest data for analytics and Blackbaud's current analytics package is not as robust as I would like at this point.