Buying Software Checklist

Do some research and testing. If possible, download a trial software application on a machine that closely matches the typical library computer, so you can see if it’s compatible with your existing hardware and software. For major software purchases, ask librarians and patrons from different departments and backgrounds to help with testing.
Look at TechSoup Stock to see if you qualify for discounted software.TechSoup only charges an administration fee, so you’re only paying between 5 and 20 percent of the retail price. All public libraries in the U.S. and Canada qualify for this program, and almost all Microsoft titles are included.
Pay attention to the software license agreement (sometimes known as the End-User License Agreement or EULA).Some license agreements will actually tell you that by using the software, you’ve agreed to install spyware on your computer. While this is more of a problem with free software, it’s always a good idea to run through the license agreement. Since most of us don’t have time to wade through each EULA, check out EULAlyzer, a utility that examines each agreement for key words and phrases.
For major pieces of software, such as an ILS system, seek expert advice before signing a contract or license agreement.You’re tying your library into this agreement for years to come, and since this is such a large purchase, you may have more leverage to renegotiate some of the terms. Check out How to Make Software Contract Negotiations Work for Your Business and Reviewing Software License Agreements for more suggestions.
Know your vendor.10 Things You Should Ask Before Buying Software has some questions you can pose to your vendor.
If you’re buying a large quantity of a particular software title, investigate volume licenses and site licenses. You can often receive discounts for this type of bulk purchase, and software that comes with a site license is generally easier to install and administer. Usually, volume discounts start somewhere between three and ten copies of an application, but it varies from vendor to vendor. Save Money with Volume Software Licensing has more information. Also take a look at Microsoft’s documentation on volume license keys.
If you have a system for tracking your license agreements and installation keys, be sure to input the information about your new purchase.This is discussed in more detail in Asset Management.
Keep your IT department in the loop from the beginning.They’ll be the ones supporting the software and will probably play a role in training staff. They can also help you test the software.
Centralize software purchases as much as possible to avoid the proliferation of different applications that serve the same purpose and different versions of the same application.For more information, see our section on Standardizing Your IT Infrastructure.