Review from a Guy "Behind the Scenes"
Updated September 04, 2019
Review from a Guy "Behind the Scenes"
Score 8 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with EMS Software
We use EMS Software primarily for room scheduling across our campus. Our courses are imported into EMS, which gives department heads the ability to see how their rooms are utilized. They can use this information to determine if more sections to a course can be added. It also allows other users across campus to search for and book a room without the worry of conflicting with a course. We started using EMS due to our old method of keeping track of room utilization becoming obsolete and no longer being supported.
- Being able to import our courses from our SIS system makes it really easy to see which rooms are getting used the most.
- The Virtual EMS component makes it really easy for anyone to search for and book a room on campus.
- When setting up new users, there is an option to allow Single Sign-On, which means users have one less password to remember (and log ins are faster).
- A few years ago, the automatic synchronization between EMS and our SIS system stopped working after an update. Support couldn't figure out the problem, so we were forced to use flat files, which is better than nothing but still a little annoying.
- If I recall correctly, you can't really delete bookings in EMS. That may be a good thing in terms of keeping track of room utilization and such, but it'd be nice to be able to delete bookings that are either several years old or were used for testing.
- The primary positive impact is that it gives our department heads an easy way to see how their rooms are utilized, which has an impact on which courses and how many sections of each course to offer.
- I'm not sure how much our previous room management solution cost, so I can't say either way on ROI.
- I think the only "negative" impact was that it required the key users to get acquainted with a new system, which meant a lot of frustration and changes to how they were used to doing things.
I wasn't involved in the selection process when we purchased EMS, so I have no idea which other solutions were considered nor why we chose EMS over others.
Our College and user-base hasn't changed much since we first implemented EMS, so we haven't had to "scale" EMS either up nor down to meet our requirements.
- We know that there is the ability to integrate with digital signage, but we haven't explored that option yet nor determined if it's even worth looking into.
While we haven't had to make too many custom configurations, I do know that there are some that would most likely be very helpful to other organizations.
Using EMS Software
10 - The primary users of EMS are the office assistants for our division deans. They use EMS to print room charts to be placed by each classroom so that everyone can see which classes are being taught and when. They also use it to confirm or deny requests for conference rooms within their area/building, as well as an analytic tool to see how rooms are being utilized.
1 - I am the sole back-end administrator for EMS, but it doesn't require an extensive amount of work to maintain. Our installation runs on a physical Windows Server (as of now it's on 2008 R2), and runs with minimal intervention/maintenance. I am aware that EMS offers a cloud version where all of the hardware and software updates will be handled by EMS instead of the client. The only reason we will not be utilizing that option is the additional cost associated with it.
- Ability to see room utilization, which helps determine when and where more or less courses should be held.
- Ability for staff to request rooms for various functions without conflicting with courses.
- Ability for security to know which rooms on campus should be open and available and which ones should be locked for the day/night.
- We would like to incorporate our campus maintenance and building services into EMS so that staff will no longer have to send a separate email to the work order staff when an event requires their services.
As of now, we have no severe issues with EMS, so we are not looking to replace it anytime soon.
Evaluating EMS Software and Competitors
- Product Features
- Product Usability
I was not on the committee that selected EMS, but I can imagine that our biggest factor was most likely a combination of price and product features.
I would form a committee that would include all logical users of the software, get at least one demo session from each vendor, get at least 2 or 3 business references per vendor, and look up reviews for each vendor online. Then the committee would form a recommendation based on the data.
EMS Software Implementation
I wish we would have had the insight to implement a testing environment as well as make sure everyone that was going to use EMS played a part in getting it configured after it was installed.
Change management was a minor issue with the implementation - Naturally, some people don't like change. Luckily there are some that embrace change. Most of our EMS users were kind of in the middle, not really wanting to change but were okay with doing it if it would be easier on them in the long run. We tried to incorporate our work order system into EMS, but the director of that department was (and still is) very much against change. Because of this, we are not even close to using EMS to it's full potential.
- One of our biggest mistakes was letting one user handle essentially all of the configuration with EMS. Now that person is no longer with our College, so a lot of that knowledge left with them.
- Another mistake was not implementing a testing environment/database for users to use for training and practice.
EMS Software Support
I haven't had any interactions with EMS support for several years. However, we are in the process of migrating our installation from a physical server to a virtual server, and I contacted support for assistance. They responded quickly and gave me an outline of the upgrade/migration process. With their help, it seems like the migration will be smooth and painless.
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
We are looking to migrate our outdated EMS installation from a old physical server to a virtual server. When I contacted support to get some advice, they were quick to respond and even setup a call with me to go over some options. During the call, they described 3 different options that we could go with: upgrade then migrate old data, upgrade and install a clean copy without old data, or go to their cloud platform. They described the steps involved with each option, and provided a breakdown in written form so that I could take it to our Vice President of Finance for review. It made the task of migrating much less daunting.
Using EMS Software
Most new users would greatly benefit from (or possibly require) at least some training on how to use EMS, but the training doesn't need to be extensive for the users to get comfortable with it. Most functions are easy and straightforward, so users tend to not have many issues with it.
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
- I believe adding a new reservation is pretty easy and straightforward.
- Running reports are easy to use and understand.
- Giving users various levels of access is pretty straightforward.