Self-Hosting School Software: Pitfalls and why you should avoid it


Many people still prefer to buy a ready made for their schools than renting one. They point to it being cost effective, being buy once and use forever. Also they point to the fact that they keep their own data so that there is no third-party involved. All these sounds as advantages on the surface, but digging a little deeper shows that you actually incur a lot of cost than what is seen in plain sight.

Before we look into these, let us see available modes of consuming school management system. Note that, this is post for school management but it applies to other kind of business management as well.

There are basically two modes of consuming School management solutions: Either locally hosted or cloud hosted. 

Locally hosted can be simple program running under local database, Excel sheets or web based application hosted in the local area network (LAN). With locally hosted solutions, all information stays on the machine it is stored or in case of LAN on the local server but accessible to all machines in the LAN.

Second mode is cloud based. This means that you host your program on remote hosting and you then access your services via internet. 

Problems with Own System

As said below there are surface advantages to both of these, but do they really outweigh the disadvantages? You are about to find out.

On-Machine Locally hosted solutions
When you host your solution locally on one machine, it tends to limit access to the data to that machine. Let say you are having two people dealing with receiving revenue. One is the Bursar and receives all fees. But there is another who disburses uniforms and other student material from store. Both need access to payment data to understand who have paid and who have not. In this locally hosted in one machine, either they need to be printing and sharing hard-copies. Soon or later you will have a lot of papers around you. Imagine the computer get attacked by virus. All the data is gone. To prevent this, you need to have a dedicated person to make sure that data is backed up on daily basis.

Technology changes a lot. Programs that were created for Windows XP, 7 and 8 are likely not to work with Windows 10. You will need to update your software every time. You either pay they guy to do that or employ someone who will do backup and update the program as needed. While the first task can be done by any of your tech savvy teacher in your school, the second require professional programmer. That means a minimum of 310,000TZS of monthly salary. Or if you opt to pay a consultant, it will depend on how much they charge per upgrade. While choosing upgrade by third party can be cheaper, you have to find someone who knows technology that was used to write your software. Depending on technology used, it can be easier to impossible task.

Throughout this process there should be supervision from your school. Time and money is lost on the way. It forces you either to employ an IT personnel or shift that burden to one of your staffs. Another clear disadvantage is from business intelligence point of view. We do not just collect bunch of data to put them on the computer. We want them to help us in decision making. One parent is asking for time extension, should we grant him? We want to know payment history. If he always pays on time, then we know we can grant, otherwise grant not.The decision might be as huge as should we keep taking EGM combination for example, or why did certain student fail. Data should help us do decisions and most of locally hosted on one machine (mostly simple executables) are not up to the task.

Locally Hosted Web Server
The web application hosted on the local area network comes to rescue in the last problem. They are most of the time comprehensive compared to locally hosted simple executables in one machine. However, they do not resolve the rest of the problems explained in the first type. Moreover, since it adds infrastructure to your organisation, you are going to need dedicated personnel to look after your servers and the network. Moreover the person must be competent enough to upgrade your system or you are going to need two people: a developer and network specialist/DevOps guys. 

With all that cost, you cannot access the data when you are outside your network. That can mean not accessing it from your mobile phone or tablet unless you are connected to the LAN. Of course you can make a VPN and access your data via internet, but that complicates your network requirements as you will need to handle routing to the external internet. Moreover, opening your network to the internet opens you to the world of troubles as now any competent hacker could penetrate your network and harm you systems or stole data. You will need a better protection which can mean some more items like firewall as well as competitive network manager. That means a higher payment to get senior IT Network guy who can handle network so well, and do the DevOps too.

Is all that trouble worthy it?

Now consider why you are getting in ll those trouble. Because you want to have your own system. But isn’t the point of business making profit? Yes it is! Shouldn’t businesses be looking at the way to reduce expenses while maintaining quality of service? Yes they should be doing that.

But here you are doing the opposite. It is quite expensive in terms of running the application, collaborating and securing your data. You are concentrating too much on something that is not core business. Schools should be collecting fees, educating students and improving on the two. So you should look for something that will take these non-core, yet critical tasks off your shoulders and let you do what you should be doing.

Welcome to the world of SaaS. Says (Software as a Service) is a model where someone makes a solution, puts on cloud, does all those chores and all you do is register an account and use it. All upgrades, backup and other maintenance are done for you by SaaS vendor engineers. They employ competent engineers for you because their service requires that. Since SaaS is cloud based, you can access it anywhere. What about security issues? The vendor handles that for you. You just pay subscription fees, for most vendors and you are done.

Most of the time, subscription fees are less than half of what you would be paying, was you to handle all these stuffs. So SaaS saves time, money and let you do what you should be doing.

Selecting SaaS Vendor

Here comes one of the most important part. In selecting vendors, many looks at the cost. That should be looked unto for sure, but it is not the first thing you should be looking. You are about to hand-over a critical part of your business to a third-party. You better be sure they are up to the task. First thing you need to do is ask for Company profile. What is that for? You might ask. But it gives you a broad picture of who you are trusting. Secondly, you need to check how long they have existed. While that is not make-or-break criteria, it gives you further insights on the people you are trusting. Thirdly check what they offer with their SaaS. Schools. Like other businesses, need strong accounting. Make sure that you have an accounting package that comes integrated with the solution. Then look at your operational modules. Great Inventory and store management, managing fleet, and whatever else you need to run your school.

Good news is, we offer such solution. Built by a company with more than ten years of experience in creating digital solutions, Adiuta School is our recommended choice for you. It gives you value for your money. We recently reviewed our pricing so that we can give you better model than we used to provide.

Get data sheet detailing what Adiuta School offers by sending your request to +255767893474 or email

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