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Library management software blogs 2

What are the benefits of a SaaS library management system?

What do you look for in a library management system? User-friendliness? Time-efficient admin? Seamless access to print and digital resources? 

Cloud library management systems are a huge opportunity for the library management sector. They are simple and efficient to use, save on admin time through automated cataloguing, and are highly customisable. 

If you’re considering a switch, there’s a whole host of information to get to grips with. You might wonder if the benefits of a cloud system are worth the hassle of managing the migration.

We’ve got you! In this post, you’ll get information to help you make an informed choice. You’ll find out how Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) library management systems work, the benefits of a cloud versus a self-hosted system, and hear from Heather Sample, the Librarian at Law Society of Northern Ireland about their experience of making the switch. 

Migrating to a cloud-based system could be the best way to make sure you have access to all the information you need as efficiently as possible, and you as the library and information manager can spend less time on admin and more time helping users. 

Here’s how.

How do SaaS library management system work?

Instead of buying a library system, hosting it on your own server and having your own IT staff maintain it, consider a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product. With a SaaS product, you pay a subscription to access a system that is owned by the SaaS company, hosted on the Cloud, and maintained and developed by their engineers. 

This means you get the functionality of an online catalogue that can be accessed from anywhere using a phone, tablet or other device, without the expense, knowledge and IT infrastructure required for a non-cloud-based system. 

SaaS providers take care of all the IT infrastructure. They provide the necessary expertise, maintain the hardware and software, take back-ups and take care of the security issues associated with running a web-based service. 

What are the specific benefits of using a cloud library system?

As well as being more time-efficient for library administrators and users, cloud-based library systems are often cheaper from an IT perspective too.

  • Subscription pricing enables you to budget for regular annual costs rather than a large capital outlay with a ROI over 5-10 years 
  • As you don’t own the application, you don’t have to buy software, upgrades or pay for development.
  • You don’t need to buy or rent server space, as this is provided within your contract.
  • All maintenance is provided by the SaaS company, so you don’t need dedicated staff.

Pro tip: When comparing the cost of SaaS versus a system hosted on your own servers, make sure you compare like with like, including hidden costs.

Apart from the significant cost savings of a cloud-based library management system, there are other advantages:

  • Flexible access – You can administer the library from any PC.
  • Low maintenance – There’s no need to download any software and updates are applied automatically.
  • The maintenance overheads are also lower as the SaaS company takes care of all upgrades and platform changes.
  • More incentive for the SaaS company to offer good ongoing support, because, in a subscription-based system, keeping existing clients is more important than wooing new ones.

Want to learn more about switching systems? See our article: 5 key questions to ask your library system provider to ensure a hassle-free conversion.

Who owns the data in a cloud library management system?

If you’re only paying for access to a library system rather than buying it outright, you might be worried about who owns the data. 

You should never lose control of your data when purchasing any type of library system. Check your support contract to make sure that you maintain ownership of the data and it can be extracted into a common standard at no extra cost.

You may want to know what happens if you need to integrate it with another application, or consider migrating to a new system. 

Most cloud systems have export options and Application Program Interfaces (APIs) that facilitate integration with other applications or searching by third party search engines.

Switching to a cloud legal library system: The Law Society of Northern Ireland case study

When The Law Society of Northern Ireland switched to a cloud-based IT system, the Librarian, Heather Sample, had to find a suitable hosted legal library management system. 

She chose KnowAll Matrix because the developers, Bailey Solutions, were well established serving the legal sector, and the Managing Director Penny Bailey knew the industry well as a Legal Library Consultant. This industry-specific knowledge was particularly important to Heather because she knew from previous system implementations how important it is for developers to understand the specific requirements of the legal sector.

Heather found the transition process straightforward, despite the challenges of the pandemic. She attributes this to exceptional customer support, project planning, and system development. She found the data cleansing process and system health checks were particularly important for the smooth transition.

“We are delighted to have transitioned our library management system to KnowAll Matrix. It is a modern, clean, intuitive system both from a user’s and cataloguer’s perspective and is easily configurable for the requirements of law libraries in particular.”

KnowAll Matrix is our fully integrated cloud library management system

These days we’re used to having information at our fingertips. Individuals working in any sector are expected to be able to bring up textbooks, journals, legislation,  reports, cases, opinions, precedents on mobiles, tablets or computers at a moment’s notice. Quick and efficient access to information is the norm.

KnowAll Matrix is a fully integrated cloud library management system that will help you effortlessly manage and access your print and digital resources. Try our 30 day free-trial to experience our library software and realise the benefits. Do you have questions about moving to a cloud-based system?

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