February 25, 2022

5 min

SIS Sync Battle: Little SIS Premium vs. Clever Secure Sync

Google Admins expend time and resources integrating Google Classroom with their student information system (SIS) to create classes and sync them with SIS rosters. The right technology can make this process much easier.

CDW Expert CDW Expert

Student enrollment into classroom rosters is an essential task at the beginning of the school year. Google Admins expend time and resources integrating Google Classroom with their student information system (SIS) to create classes and sync them with SIS rosters. The right technology can make this process much easier.   

Clever is a well-known digital learning platform that has recently released Secure Sync to automate rostering, but Little SIS Premium has proven to more effectively support schools in this feat with its wider range of features.

Choosing a SIS

Community High School District 117 (CHSD117) in Lake County, Illinois engaged with CDW after a Google Midwest Summit a couple of years ago. “I remember seeing the name come up in one of the sessions at that conference, but your Gopher tools had also come across my radar a few times,” recalled Kyle Bush, Education Technology Specialist. 

When Little SIS Premium was introduced to customers, CHSD117, already Little SIS for Classroom and Sync Agent combo users, did not hesitate to adopt it into their Google ecosystem. “When we found out about the new web-based tool that was coming out I said, ‘oh, this is really exciting,’” Kyle said. “I already had enough experience with CDW that I knew the effort put into your products and that it would meet so many of our needs.” 

As a Google Workspace for Education district, Kyle and his team generally apply for all of the beta’s Google offers. He explained, “We decided to demo Clever Secure Sync to get a chance to play with it. It was just another beta we got accepted into and we wanted to compare it to CDW’s old Little SIS Sync Agent.”

Little SIS Premium vs. Clever Secure Sync

Little SIS Premium is a Cloud-based product that enhances Google Classroom management by combining the administrative abilities of Little SIS for Classroom with the add-on functionalities of CDW’s Sync tool. It is a single web application that allows Google Admins to synchronize Classroom classes and rosters, analyze and sync Guardian invitations, and automate roster and Guardian sync jobs. The Teacher Review feature puts teachers in control, letting them review their provisioned SIS classes, link a SIS class to an existing ACTIVE Google Classroom, and accept, decline, and merge their SIS classes.

Clever Secure Sync bridges the roster gap between SIS and online learning applications. It maintains up-to-date roster information in learning applications by securely transferring roster uploads or connecting directly with the SIS through auto syncs and Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) syncs.

In CHSD117’s exploration of sync tools, Little SIS Premium dominates in setup, sync capabilities, and user experience. 

Clever Secure Sync was easy to set up, but CHSD117 discovered that one of the challenges was that it lacked flexibility. Kyle shared, “We don’t know how other schools do it but we assign course numbers to everything: dual credit classes, short-term classes, and even lunch. Secure Sync pulled everything and made a Google Classroom for it. There was no way to tell the software that it was not what we wanted. We couldn’t tell it, ‘DO create a class for this,’ ‘DON’T create a class for that.’”

Unlike Clever Secure Sync, Little SIS Premium is not a “one size fits all” solution and allows institutions to customize automations the way they need them to be done in their environment. Clever lacks in-sync exclusion and inclusion rules available in Little SIS Premium. With Little SIS Premium, you can define the data included and excluded in each sync. Clever also cannot perform guardian sync or sync while paused but Little SIS Premium can. It even equips admin users with more control. “Clever doesn’t have that management side that Little SIS has. That’s huge for us,” Kyle said. “Before we had that, if any teachers had problems I had to ask them to add me to their Classroom and that was a hassle. Now I can just drop myself in.”

Without a sync tool, teachers have to create their Google Classrooms and, on the first day of school, share the join code with students to get them rostered into the classroom. With a sync tool, teachers no longer have to do that. Students only have to open their Chromebooks to find that they are already enrolled in all of their classes. 

While Clever Secure Sync is another option for schools, Kyle believes that, “Little SIS premium is an all around better product than Clever.” CHSD117’s goal is to have teachers start using Google Classroom on day 1, worrying only about communication and content, not about rostering. Little SIS Premium allows them to do that and more. “Google Classroom ties into so many other apps that if we can have everything set up right away, ready to go, and make sure the kids are where they need to be, that eliminates a lot of headaches for teachers,” he added. “We even use it for subs. It’s so easy for our office staff to drop a sub into a classroom for a day and everything is right there.”