This is part of a series of posts which is based on a 3-hour hands-on workshop I offer on this topic. Be sure and check out the preceding post:
Technology Solutions Planning in Libraries: Overview
Technology Solutions Planning in Libraries: Part One – Develop the Project Plan
Technology Solutions Planning in Libraries: Part Two – Establish a Planning Committee
Gain Market Intelligence
This research should be done at approximately the same time or slightly before Requirements Gathering so that you have some idea of the possibilities and features available. It will give you a preliminary sketch of the technology landscape.
- Vet Solutions/Vendors
- Contact Vendors and start asking questions
- If you’re researching an Open Source solution without a vendor, join message boards and ask questions
- Discover Pricing Models
- Start to get an idea of how the solution is priced, i.e. based on per seat usage, based on modules purchased, based on yearly licensing fee?
- Discover System Architecture options
- In a traditional, client-server system a client, or software program is installed on the library’s computer and a back-end database is maintained on a server which stores all of the data
- With a hosted solution, a client or software interface (oftentimes a Web browser) is installed on the library’s computer, and an Application Service Provider (ASP) stores all of the data on their server(s). The ASP provider takes care of all of the technical support.
- Compatibility to existing data structure?
- Do you have existing data which you wish to integrate with this solution? Is your data structured in a way that is easily compatible with the possible solution? Will data conversion be necessary? Extra cost?
- Is this a solution which can be installed by your organization or is it so complex that the vendor will need to install it? Extra cost?
- How much training is needed for end-users as well as maintaining the system? Is there online training available or only on-site? Extra cost? Travel expenses?
Using a spreadsheet program, create a matrix comparing the features and prices of various technology solutions
Download this matrix: ils_product_compare
Next: Requirements Gathering