If your school district is considering an upgraded information technology system, Adkisson recommends that you:

• Ask yourself if you can afford it. “Once you buy the server and all that goes with it, it can get expensive,” he says. Some outside vendors offer an all-in-one system. In-house expertise on the data can help make the conversion process go more smoothly.

• Research your options. “We formed a committee that wanted to be sure we got the best system for the district. Many of the financial systems out there aren’t as complete as we needed them to be,” he says.

• Look for something that is user-friendly, easy to use, and comprehensive. “All essential modules must be included,” he says. “They should fit with your specific needs and should be able to adapt to state laws. Obviously, laws are different from state to state, but any system you buy should be able to work with each one.”

• Find a reliable, supportive IT partner. “The implementation support from SCI was a big plus for us. Other vendors had separate implementation partners,” he said. “We would have had to deal with two different companies. This approach appealed to us more because it makes communication easier.”