Is there such a thing as pragmatic approaches to schools' asset management software? Well, when we were approached last year about school asset manager software, we suggested to them that there seemed to be lots around and they should go and have a look at them. We had no intentions of writing a system for this so we offered them the best advice we could at the time.

However, more and more were coming back and telling that they weren’t impressed with what they’d evaluated. Either they were too expensive or too clunky or, even worst, both! Could we do something in this area, they enquired.

So we started to investigate. After all, we’d built much larger systems for Local Authorities for some years. We felt we could do a good job for our customers.

We also found some interesting perspectives on the other packages available. Some were clearly focused on the collection side of asset management and their software supported that. Some were focused on making it look nice when you first saw it but were clunky to use once you got started. For others, it was clear that the software was a bit of an afterthought. We were also told of some ‘interesting’ selling practices.

To get to the point, we started by asking ourselves, what problems schools were trying to solve and what do schools have to do. Once we’d understood that it didn’t take us long to develop, about three months or so with the smartphone app following swiftly after.

For us the problems were simple. Schools are under increasing pressure both in terms of money and in terms of time. The focus on the asset register was growing due, in part, to the academies programme and the explosion in tablets for learning.

Schools had questions too. Should you tag assets? What do you tag them with, a number, barcode or a QR code? What’s a QR code? How do you keep on top of your asset register? These questions and others were discussed at our last set of roadshows and you can download the presentation here…Asset Management: Options for Schools

I can understand why schools may not audit all their assets for a couple of years or more when it’s such a pain to do it in the first place. We’re all a bit guilty of procrastinating on jobs we really don’t look forward to!

Our Asset Management software I’m happy to report takes a suitably sized hammer to this nut. There’s nothing in the software you don’t need and everything that you do. For example, you can use our spreadsheet to load your assets in one go. There’s a very simple way to clean your data once it’s in. You can use a spreadsheet to update your assets or you can use our app if you have a smartphone. Reports are available for things like renewals (when do you need to replace items), disposals and additions (for reporting to governors) and depreciation (if you’re an academy. It doesn’t appear if you’re not).