Ying and Yang

ying and yangNever before have I put some much thought into the balance between customization and closed systems. Tweakability versus completed structure. Open source vs. full commercial product.

One might think that solid funding would allow one to choose from the best of both, but it isn’t that easy. A fully closed system isn’t going to fit a strong percentage of the processing and workflow needs of a school. Lower Schools, for example, are remarkably diverse in their needs to track even the daily plans of each and every student. I’ve never seen a closed, commercial student information system that can handle that complexity.

At the other extreme is the business and development offices, for whom reliability and formal structures are paramount. The last thing they want are budget reports that are constantly tweaked, or accounting systems that are increasingly creative.

There are schools that struggle with a closed system that puts remarkable restraints on how information can be processed. There are schools with constantly customized systems that grow weekly in complexity and are sometimes increasingly unstable or difficult/almost impossible to upgrade.

Somewhere, there is equilibrium. A balance of stability, growth and customization that is sustainable.

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