So, in my search for an alternative to Baby’s Days, I questioned as anyone might, whether it was wise to place my data with another EYFS software provider. Since the blog started many readers and Baby’s Days customers have asked me the same question, “could this happen again with a different company? Isn’t it a case of better the devil you know?”
It started to dawn on me that what Baby’s Days / Sys IQ Ltd has done to 3.5 years worth of my data may reflect badly on other EYFS provider, so I thought I would post a blog post to clarify that I truly believe this would never have happened with a different online EYFS provider.
When you read reviews of Baby’s Days the one consistent theme is that customer service is terrible; the man behind the customer service is Mark Kahl as far as I am aware. He is the company director of Sys IQ Ltd. He is also the common denominator in almost every single negative experience a customer of Baby’s Days has had. In the interest of fairness, I’m sure lots of customers also find him very helpful. The point in that he does not work with any other company and so his customer service techniques are isolated to the Baby’s Days brand alone.
I contacted a few different companies and asked them:
…I have a lot of people asking me if they were to leave Baby’s Days for another online software company, how could they be sure the new company wouldn’t withhold their data in the same way Baby’s Days has withheld mine. How can customers be sure their data would be returned?
Most of the companies replied in an extremely shocked tone, they couldn’t believe that Baby’s Days didn’t allow me time to download my data before they terminated the agreement. They were even more shocked when I told them that any attempts to retrieve the data after termination had also been fruitless and that the ICO had found Baby’s Days to be in Breach of The Data Protection Act.
It’s feel it is fair to conclude that that way Baby’s Days has handled my data isn’t the industries standard approach; as such readers of the blog shouldn’t think if they switch providers the same thing might happen with the new provider. It seems to be a customer service issue isolated to Baby’s Days alone.
For those that would like to read more info, here is what each company said about their own policies regarding returning data to their customers after terminating an account:
Minding Matter (Previously Mega Minder): “Your data will ALWAYS be accessible to YOU and the PARENTS of your setting. We will NEVER lock you or the parents of your setting out of your account
Easy Solution 4 Nursery Education: “All data is owned by the provider or [by] the family in the case of our ‘linked up’ (to the provider’s EASYpro) and the stand alone version EASYparent.
We view our role as the guardians fo their data (as per our terms and conditions – 9.1 The Licensee shall own all rights, title and interest in and to all the Licensee Data and shall have sole responsibility for the legality, reliability, integrity, accuracy and quality of the Licensee Data). Our software is applicable for children from birth until their eighth birthday, when the data is deleted.
However, we give the setting, or the family in the case of EASYparent and EASY@home, ample opportunity to download all the information in a report form, before the data is removed. We also offer to return to them, the photographs that have been uploaded in JPEG format, although there is a small charge for this service. These conditions also apply to any setting that may cease to subscribe to EASYpro.
Owl Track: “I have just had my first client leave recently due to financial reasons. As I mentioned before I cant send them data as such but they can access it via their account on [the] site. I have told this client that I will not delete the account for two months in order to give her time to download, save or print any information that her or her parents requires. I will also check with her before finally deleting it. This is good customer service which is vital for business these days.”
Orbit: “We suppose we are slightly different in that Orbit is free, so there is no subscription. We also allow the download of children’s learning journeys at any time (as a pdf document) so you always have access to the data…. In the unlikely event that we were to stop providing the service, we would give our users the maximum amount of warning possible and allow them to download and backup data.”
2simple: “You may access your information (in return for a small fee) and request details of the entities with whom we have shared your information by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org. In most cases we will comply promptly with your request and let you know when we have done so.
However, sometimes you will not be entitled to access your information. For example, where the public interest or your own interests override your rights under the Data Protection Act 1998. We may withhold information where we are legally allowed to do so.”
Target Tracker: “I can advise that we would never withhold a subscribers’ data. In fact we make it very easy to export the data at any point as a file or by exporting whichever reports are useful.
If a subscriber chooses to leave they are able to export their data up to the end of the subscription. After that point a small admin charge may be applicable as we would need to re-enable the subscription in order to export it.
We like to put our subscribers at the heart of what we do and it would not be in anyone’s interest to make things difficult for any customer.”
EYFS Tracker: We have only once been asked by a setting for access to their data after they had let their licence lapse. We re-enabled their account on the same day they requested it to allow them to download their data (as they had an Ofsted inspection the following day), and we did not charge a fee for this.
Connect Childcare: Our viewpoint is very simple – we own the software but you own the data. At any stage you can download/back this up yourself if you wish. We will help you do this as it’s yours.
I also contacted Jeans Database, although the package does not offer an online facility I felt it fair to include the company with the others. Jean replied; “The CM Software database is not an on-line product – it resides 100% on whatever device the customer chooses to store it on. Which means that they also have 100% access and ownership to their data at all times. “
Pop back tomorrow for a post about how many childminders believe simply sing Baby’s Days will result in them achieving an Ofsted Outstanding grade.