Library and information services often come to a point where they will look to either change their Library Management System or if its possible upgrade their existing system. We all know that changing systems will incur costs with the biggest being the implementation of the new system and also the costs involved in migrating data from the old system to the new system, together with costs in relation to training staff on how to use new systems.
As I am currently in charge of upgrading our existing system for the library service where I work in terms of costs it was a clear and sound choice to stay with the provider we currently use and upgrade to the latest version of the software. Although I looked at other systems the implementation costs were too prohibitive and we all know that their can still be a great degree of uncertainty in how any new system will perform when its changed. However, in other services changing to a new system may be the correct route to go down due to other reasons.
To aid anyone who is in a similar situation to in relation to upgrading the system this information might prove to be of some use.
Gather complete information on the upgrade
When you notice that their is an upgrade available for your system you will need to check the benefits of the upgrade and you also need to gather together every cost that will be involved in the upgrade process.
Convince managers and IT staff that upgrading makes sense
Identify relevant staff that need to be involved in this process and convince them initially that it is a good idea to upgrade and get their approval to proceed via formal channels. Remember that you are the person that knows more about this than anyone else and your choices and decisions should always be forward looking for the service you are involved in managing.
Formal process usually required for this type of upgrade
As you will have all the relevant costs and benefits associated with the upgrade you will also most probably need to go through a formal process of submitting a form that requires some type of business case for the upgrade. At this stage whether the form associated with this requires this information or not make sure you gather the following information:
- Service Level Agreement from your provider
- All over documentation. For example, you may need to install software clients on the computers used by library staff so make sure you get documentation on this in advance
- Details of what will be required by your IT staff in relation to the upgrade. For example, will they be the ones responsible for installing the software clients, or will they be responsible for retiring an old server which is currently being used by your current version of the software. Make sure you list all these tasks and identify who will be responsible for them
- Communicate all this information to managers so that they know exactly what will be required and also communicate this information to other staff that will be involved in the upgrade process so that will know exactly what will be required of them
- This whole process could take many months before you can even go ahead with the upgrade so make sure allow plenty of time for this process
- if an upgrade is available for your system if you can wait some time to make sure any initial problems with the upgrade have been ironed out before you decide to instigate the upgrade process