How is the Studio Organizer different than a online system?

The Studio Organizer is not an online or “cloud” based system.┬áIf you’re investigating computer software for your studio you’ll find all management software of this type will perform the same basis tasks: entering student info, recording attendance, tracking tuition, promotions, invoices, inventory, etc. It’s just a matter of choosing the features, design and price that works best for you.

What follows is a candid discussion I hope will help you decide if the Studio Organizer is the right management software for your school.


A Disclaimer

Let me say right from the start… I make my living as a computer programmer and I’m not a huge fan of “the cloud.”

I’ve had my internet connection go down from time to time, and I’ve had it slow to crawl.

I don’t want to be unable to work because my internet service provider is experiencing technical difficulties. I prefer to keep all of my data on my computer.

But I still use the cloud when it suits me. I love Dropbox. I can backup everything important to their online servers, but I get to choose what gets backed up and when those backups occur.


the Cloud

To use an online management system all you need is a web browser and an internet connection. The biggest advantage of an online database is you can access your data from any computer with an internet connection. Usually you don’t have to download or install anything. Just sign up, get your password and start entering students.

An online database is great for schools that have multiple locations, or need to share their data with many people. All of your data is centralized so managers can check all locations from the home office. Staff members can log in from home and fill out paperwork and check their schedules. Students can log in to check their progress, view schedules, and make appointments for private lessons. And your students can attend classes at different locations.

Also, software updates are automatically performed, which is both good and bad. The good news is you always have the most current version of the software with no effort on your part. The bad news is you don’t have a say in the matter and if you don’t like the changes that were made — you’re stuck.

Since your data is on someone else’s server this means you never have to worry about maintaining that computer or backing up your data. This is great. But you’ll want to know if there’s a way to backup your data to your computer on a regular basis. Or retrieve your data if you discontinue using the online system.

An online database system will usually charge an ongoing monthly fee and some will charge for the number of students you have in their system. It’s also dependent on a fast, reliable internet connection. If you’re in an area where the internet is slow or goes down regularly this isn’t a good option for you.

Finally, online database systems will typically cost more money in the long run.


the Studio Organizer

The Studio Organizer is designed to be an affordable solution for small to medium schools that do not need the features an online database service offers and we’ve done pretty well catering to that market.

Using the Studio Organizer is also significantly less expensive than an online service.

The Studio Organizer is not an online database system. You will need an internet connection to download the software, but once that’s done no internet connection is required. You could load it on your laptop and work on the plane if you like. The Studio Organizer cannot be accessed online, so it’s not the right solution if you have multiple locations or you’re looking for software that your students and staff members can log into from home.

If you’d like to share your data with many users the Studio Organizer is networkable, or you can use the Transferring Files Wizard and a USB flash drive to move your data between computers. This is a very popular free feature that allows you to take your data home for the evening and use the software as you normally would to create reports, do some data entry, etc. then return to school with your changes the next day. Plus, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing you always have a backup of your data in your pocket or purse.

The Studio Organizer was created using FileMaker Pro Advanced 11 which is a pretty powerful database. I don’t think I could have built the same interface if I was limited to the functionality of a web browser. Playing birthday songs, attendance check in, and displaying photos are examples of other areas where the Studio Organizer is only limited by the processing speed of your computer.

It’s “traditional” software in that you download and install directly on your computer. You perform your own backups and updates. This a plus and minus. This puts you in complete control of your data, but it also means at least one person at your school needs to be computer savvy enough to exercise that control.

With the Studio Organizer, updating is optional and undoable. There’s also a Wizard that guides you through the process. It’s not difficult. Click here for step by step instructions.

Backing up is easy. Every time you close the software you’ll be prompted to back up. Or you can select “Backup Snapshot” from the Wizards menu at the top of the screen, then copy the backup folder to a USB flash drive.

You do not need an internet connection at your school, but it wouldn’t hurt. You’ll want to have access to email in order to receive product announcements and email technical support.

But the Studio Organizer is not entirely old school. It’s a 100% digital product. Everything is available online, 24/7.

You can download the free 30 day trial (which is also the full working version) directly from this web site.

All customer service, sales and technical support is provided free of charge via email.


Increase Your Chances of Success

No matter which product you choose, please be sure to read the manuals. This will help you understand what the software can and cannot do, and teach how it was designed to be used. Skipping the manuals is like a student who skips class — he’s not learning anything.

Finally, be sure you have a computer expert available to you. Like cars, computers will need expert care from time to time. If you own a car, you’ll need to know a good mechanic. If you’re managing a business using a computer, you’ll need a computer guru. Without a doubt this is the #1 mistake made by studio owners such as yourself. Sadly, it’s a HUGE, COSTLY, EASILY AVOIDABLE mistake. Click here to read “This is Your Brain.”

Computer software is a tool. Find the tool that works best for you. If that’s the Studio Organizer — great!

If something works better for you — that’s great too! What matters is that you find a product that will empower you to grow your business.