Can I develop a Student Information System from Scratch

Dear experts,

The cost of SIS can be very high, including the yearly subscription.  Therefore, I was informed by the management to build a Student Information System in house from scratch.   I am left with no choice except to provide a good reason to avoid such idea, because I know the result will not come easy, especially I you have only a single web developer.

The question is what are the reasons to convince the management that is not possible, relative to Cost, Security, Time, man power...etc?

If you know an article that would help please share it with me.

Thanks in advance.
Rawand AminAsked:
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Dirk StraussSenior Full Stack DeveloperCommented:
Hi Rawand

This is a very open-ended question, without a perfect answer. The problem is really that we have no metric to compare the cost of a single developer developing the system as opposed to paying for a yearly subscription. The question you need to ask yourself is actually, what the requirements are of such a system. Obviously, you have a fantastic "prototype" to work from which is the existing system. You can also see that as an opportunity to improve on areas where the existing system falls short.

Management will need to keep in mind that writing such a system will need to be well researched, well scoped and well managed. There also needs to be a proper budget for such a project. If you are looking for reasons not to do this project, then look there. If management will not give you the budget to do it in, then that could be it.

On the flip side, if management does give you ample budget for scoping, research and development then there is no good reason not to write such a system. If anything, it is a sign as to how management views you as a developer. That they believe in you as capable and the right person for the job. You should pat yourself on the shoulder.

Personally, I would see this as an opportunity to develop something better and make a "name" for myself as a developer.
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
This probably should not be done as a web project.  Student Information is a prime target for hackers, especially students who want to show that they are smarter than you are.  And Student Information is Personal information so security is very important.  While it may not have credit card info, it may have Social Security numbers and that brings legal requirements to protect the information including physically securing the server and databases.  Any leaks make you subject to lawsuits.
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Rawand AminAuthor Commented:
As Dave highlighted, Students always try to find ways to hack the University system and find their way through.  
We can go a head and start with small project then grow gradually.  However, any leak or hack may compromise all data. including student grades and so.  A student could change his own grade through database or hacking the system.

Yes we have one developer and could be able to higher another one.  However, the difficult task would be debugging the system and checking how secure the system is.  which we don't have any experience in that area whatsoever.

Our developer suggested to use Drupal to design the who thing.  What is your though about that, can such system handle 1000 students and be very secure?  

Thanks
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Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloper & EE ModeratorCommented:
You might want to look at an open source project like http://www.opensis.com/opensis-surge/, https://www.openemis.org/, http://projectfedena.org/, https://www.openemis.org/.  There may be addons in https://www.odoo.com/ I only quickly found these but it would be a good jump start and worth looking at some of these in more depth.

I think first thing is to decide on the features you must have and the different types of users and how you expect they will want to interact.  That can help formulate your decision.  I do believe it is the type of thing that sounds simple at first until you start planning and you realize how big the project can be.  I am a proponent of custom. It can be more expensive in the short term, but done right you can save by getting exactly what you need. On the other hand, you may be able to find major pieces from multiple 3rd parties and piece something good together that way as well.  

Going on your own you have a solid 6 month minimum project for 1 or 2 people for the core items. The other part is who is going to support internal and external?
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
Before you even attempt this project, I would contact others who have such systems and see what they have and are doing.  Large systems like you are talking about require almost constant maintenance.  They are never perfect.
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Rawand AminAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your comments:
Scott can you please be more specific what you mean by "Going on your own you have a solid 6 month minimum project for 1 or 2 people for the core items. The other part is who is going to support internal and external?"
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Rawand AminAuthor Commented:
Thanks
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