Child Care Seer® Better Than Brightwheel
Update Feb 2023
Due to my recent interactions with Brightwheel, I received an email notification of their latest software update. Why would I share these improvements in an article comparing Child Care Seer® to Brightwheel? Let me explain.
Because Seer was created by childcare center owners and directors specifically for owners and directors, we've known all along how important billing & payments are to our customers and the families they serve! While we pride ourselves on improving Child Care Seer based on customer feedback, we did not need to "wait for feedback”, as Brightwheel did, on this subject because we knew how important it was to get it right! Every item in the Brightwheel list shown below has been in Child Care Seer for over two years, long before our official release to customers one year ago.
Because I like to know what innovations are coming in other products, I followed the learn more link in the email. In addition to a short video of changes to expect, I found an extensive list of items that were "pain points" with Brightwheel but were now "solved" with this update. I found myself wondering, if these very important things were broken in Brightwheel, what else in the software cannot be trusted to behave correctly when needed?
What are we working on at Child Care Seer this month?
While we released a small update in mid-February, detailed in the latest Release Spotlight, we have mostly been hard-at-work designing and developing several brand new features to release soon. Over the next few months, look for our new Multi-center Dashboard (where you can see critical information about ALL your centers in real-time in one place!), a brand new Transportation Schedule (keep track of which children are on which bus in real-time and make last minute changes when Mom calls the center), extensive Food Reporting to support participation in CACFP, a comprehensive display of everything (documents, tags, immunizations, certifications, etc.) that is expired or expiring soon, and much, much more!
Because we have childcare owners and directors on staff, we understand the business of childcare! We are always developing new features you won’t find in other software to help you run your center with more efficiency, lower cost, and higher parent and staff satisfaction. “Automating everything with child care except your love of children” remains our top priority!
What Makes Child Care Seer® Better Than…
No less than fifteen viable software products are available for child care centers, and I am often asked, “What makes Child Care Seer® better than xxx?” Throughout this blog series, I will attempt to answer exactly that question. Today, we take on
About once a year, I sign up for a Brightwheel demo. Because Child Care Seer® has directors and owners on staff, I am able to use information that makes me appear to be a child care center staff member, and I generally invite one of my coworkers with center director experience to join me on the call. I say this only to suggest that the Brightwheel representative has no reason to think I am anything other than a potential customer, and given the size of my two centers, should be very interested in my business.
Brightwheel does not present a live-action, interactive demo, rather the representative uses a prepared script with a slide show of screenshots and a designated response for the most frequently asked questions. If you ask for more details or further information about what something looks like that is not in the slides, they generally aren’t well prepared or able to provide answers. During my first demo, I was frustrated by this.
But after further research, time spent in the product, and discussions with actual users, I discovered that Brightwheel was actually giving me the perfect demo that represents their product well. Brightwheel, in general, is a product that looks pretty. While the app is simple and easy to use, actual functionality is superficial and lightweight. Modules of the product that should integrate with one another--such as scheduling and child check-in, or billing and subsidy--don’t. Depth and detail are difficult to find if they are there at all. Just like the demo slide show, what you see is exactly what you get, don’t go looking for anything more.
Like many things, I find it best to begin at the beginning. In this case, let’s compare the homescreens of Child Care Seer and Brightwheel. As Brightwheel believes their mobile app to be their premier feature, I’ll give them the easy win. Or not. These are the screens admin staff members start at when logging into the mobile app.
Brightwheel Administrator Mobile Home Screen
Child Care Seer Mobile Dashboard
Child Care Seer shows all the information needed to see how my center is performing right now, with live action updates. In just one glance, I can see how many messages I haven’t read, and more importantly how many messages have not yet had a reply from my fellow staff members. I can see how many staff and children are present, as well as how many are scheduled for today. I can see how much outstanding money is owed by my families (and with just one click, see details of exactly which children owe exactly how much, and pay the bill!). I can see the ratio in each classroom, and if I expand the detail arrow, I can see which staff and children are in the class without ever leaving this screen. I can see immediately when there is an issue I need to address (denoted by the pink 1 in the top right corner). In addition, I can check children and staff in or out of my center, view a child’s detailed profile, or view my other center with just two clicks on my Seer Dashboard.