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K12 Platform vs. "Best of Breed" Software: Which Is Better?

Red Rover

Insights | April 28, 2021

K12 software platforms often claim their products are efficient and easy to use, but many are unable to provide school districts with the services they need to increase substitute fill rates and reduce teacher absenteeism. 

The abilities of these platforms are often limited by restrictions. A software platform is made up of both hardware and software that serves as the basic foundation on which additional updates, applications, and processes are built upon.

Unfortunately, these platforms have some disadvantages. They often come with unnecessary “bloatware” offering services or functions that may be excessive and irrelevant. Even more frustrating for school administrators, K12 software platforms likely have initial learning curves that can take months to grasp.

Is the promise of an “integrated K12 platform” that can do it all realistic?

No, according to many school administrators and staffing professionals. The push for K12 platform adoption often comes from large vendors owned by private investors, who may have vested interests in pushing K12 software platform sales. These vendors turn profits by convincing districts to purchase outdated software infrastructures equipped with unnecessary features. 

The K12 administrative software platforms used by many districts have numerous disadvantages. They likely: 

  • Offer little benefit to the customer (districts and administrative staff)
  • Are expensive and often charge unexplained additional fees or price increases without warning
  • Are focused on upselling instead of meeting the individual needs of the customer 
  • Offer little to no personalized customer support 
  • Can be slow to integrate new features or products 
  • Rarely evolve or make improvements based on customer feedback
  • Provide no opportunity to establish personal relationships between districts and trusted vendors, as business acquisitions can frequently result in layoffs
  • Leave administrative staff to deal with generalists instead of experienced specialists
  • May be difficult to abandon later, offer little to no flexibility when it comes to contract terms

    Hear why hundreds of leading districts are using modern technology to increase  their substitute fill rates. Sign up for our webinar  >>

What is best of breed software? 

A solution to K12 software platforms has emerged in best of breed technology, which can respond to evolving needs by developing and rolling out updates quickly and seamlessly. This leads to more cost-effective and focused solutions that can be improved with customer feedback. Best of breed technology also has the ability to integrate with school districts’ software systems, which don’t need to be on the same platform to work harmoniously. 

Best of breed refers to a highly-developed system created to solve niche problems within a specific industry. Unlike many K12 software platforms, best of breed software is known for its high-quality performance, integrative potential, and the capacity to learn or adapt quickly. These innovative qualities can work synchronously with other systems. And because they’re developed to solve specific problems that K12 platforms cannot address, they can be tailored to fit the unique needs of different customers.

Best of breed also offers customizable options. Unlike other K12 platforms, districts don’t have to use or purchase tools they won’t need. And long-term commitments may not be required, which allows administrators to change or upgrade their plans over time. This flexibility gives districts more options - they’re not stuck with irrelevant features just so they can have the convenience of working with a single vendor. 


Many K12 software platforms are slow to adapt, expensive, lack customer support, and often require the purchase of unnecessary features that may not fit the unique needs of districts and administrators. However, best of breed organizations like Red Rover are focused on solving specific problems, which allows customers to choose which options work best for them. Learn more about how Red Rover can meet your staffing needs here.

See how you can effectively increase your substitute fill rates  with modern absence management technology.  CLICK HERE  to sign up for our webinar.

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