Why Plan Carefully for Major Purchases

There are five good reasons why you should think through and carefully plan for the technology you bring into the library. Here’s a quick summary:

  • Save money. Any time you buy in bulk, by yourself or in cooperation with other organizations, you’ll probably save money.
  • Save time. Buying technology takes a lot of effort, especially when you have to cope with local government paperwork and the never-­ending process of applying for e-­rate discounts. If you cooperate with other players at the state, regional and local level, you might be able to bypass the paperwork or get someone else to help you with it.
  • Limit ongoing costs. As we discussed in the Total Cost of Ownership section, all technologies have ongoing costs, and you want to control these as much as possible.
  • Get the best support. If you buy technology from an unreliable, unresponsive company, you might wait forever for fixes, upgrades and improvements. Or they might stop supporting your product altogether. On the other hand, quality training and responsive tech support can make your life a lot easier.
  • Avoid vendor lock-­in. Some companies are better than others at allowing their technology to work with other products. For example, you’d like to integrate your ILS and your PC reservation software, but the ILS database won’t allow this, and the vendor won’t work with you to develop a solution. Or if you want the systems to work together, you have to buy the PC Reservation system approved by your vendor. Or you want to buy a new firewall, but it doesn’t work well with your existing networking equipment. This situation is known as vendor lock-­in.