Suggestions for Justifying a Subscription

You may want to purchase a subscription, but those who control the money or write the checks may balk at the idea.  Here are some suggestions on how to help justify buying a subscription:

The Cost Per Report Can Be Rather Small - there are almost 200 premium reports on the site and if you divide the annual cost by 200, the price per report may be rather small.  For example, if the subscription cost $1,000, that's only $5 per report!  If you contracted with someone to build a report, they'll probably charge a minimum of $100 per hour.  Some reports may only take an hour but some may take several hours.  For the same $1,000 you could have used on a subscription, you'll be getting 10 or fewer reports, maybe even only a couple reports that take 5 hours apiece to build.  Of course, the reports you're after may not be on the site, but the reports on the site feature a wide range of topics, so there may be one that is close and you still have almost 200 other reports to use.  Using the $100 an hour rate, I can tell you all the reports took at least an hour apiece for me to make and some took several hours.  But just figuring at one hour per report, a site subscription is getting you around $20,000 worth of reports.

The Reports Can Save the District Money - if you're not familiar with sql or the data layout of PowerSchool, creating a sqlReport can be time consuming and mistakes can happen.   You may want a certain report or someone in your district has requested one and it turns out you found what you wanted on the site.  Without a subscription, you could try building the report yourself, but that means you're spending time on it rather than on other things which need to be done.  You could ask your boss how much an hour of your time is worth (pay + benefits) and then take that times the number of hours you think the report will take.   For example, if your boss says you're worth $60 an hour and you figure the report is going to take 10 hours, that means they're basically paying you $600 to create one report, plus expecting you to do what you were going to use those 10 hours for in the first place.  If it turns out the site subscription was $500, it's actually better for them to spend the money on it, because instead of just getting one report, they're getting close to 200.  If the subscription cost $1000, it's still better for them to put the $600 toward it, especially if they expect you to spend time on building more reports.

The Reports Can Save You Time - in addition to saving the district money by not having to spend money for your time or money for just one report, a site subscription saves you time and allows you to do other things.  The site subscription actually started because participants in one of my conference sessions on Creating Reports Using sqlReports suggested it.  I had shown them how to create reports and even though it was easy to do, they had ideas for several reports they wanted but realized they didn't have time to build them all.  One participant said it would be nice if there was a site with a wide range of reports and they would be willing to pay for a subscription.  Several others agreed and so I started the site.  Since then I've heard from several people how it has saved them valuable time because they just had to import the reports rather than spend the time to build the reports themselves.

The Reports Are Updated and New Ones Added All the Time - all of the reports on the site are monitored and updated if something changes in PowerSchool.  The site and sqlReports are my job and sole source of income, so I make sure everything is up-to-date and works as expected and test things every time there is a new update to PS.  A good example is the difference in tables and fields between the gradebooks.  Reports that work for PTG won't work with PT Pro because assignments and other gradebook items are kept in different tables, so I added several reports for PT Pro once it came out.  By using reports from the site, you'll know that if something changes with an update, the reports on the site should work fine and you can update them as needed, rather than being caught by surprise one day because one of the reports you created no longer works because a recent PS update made them unusable.  New reports are added on a regular basis, so in addition to the report you see initially with a subscription, you'll have access to several new ones over the length of the subscription.

There's a Wide Variety of Reports - some customers have bought a subscription mainly for the Health reports, but soon realized there were several other reports that they could use for attendance, grades, standards, etc.  Several customers use the reports in the Enrollments area to help with state reporting, such as easily finding students who were enrolled in a certain course that receives extra state funding.  They could have paid several hundred dollars for the same reports to be created by someone else, but they got the reports they needed, plus reports for other things, such as live scheduling and course recommendations.

sqlExports Makes Exports Easy - the items above relate mainly to the site subscriptions, but there's also a subscription for sqlExports support.  Unlike the site subscriptions, sqlExports isn't for everyone.  In fact, I don't recommend it if you're hosted.  But if you're self-hosted and need to automate exports to other servers in your district or just need to have some data files on a daily basis, sqlExports is a great add-on for sqlReports.  Rather than trying to build a PowerQuery and using Data Export Manager, one can create a sqlReport and easily test the output first, and then schedule it with sqlExports. 


Hopefully the above helps if you're needing some ideas on how to persuade others that a subscription is worth it.  Feel free to have them contact me too if needed if they have any questions -

Thanks,

Matt