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In last week’s Intota post, we reported on a recent survey of libraries that exposed the shortcomings of their current ILS’s, and desires for a new system.  With this post, we start a series where we examine the issues that libraries responding to the survey said were their reasons for considering a new collection management system.

One overriding concern is the desire for more unified workflows. Libraries know, that as their collections have become more digital, they have developed redundant workflows.  The same information often needs to be entered twice or three times, in places like the approval vendor site, the ILS and the university’s financial system.  Also typical is time spent entering data with a supplier of e-resources, and then having to re-enter the same data into the ILS. These are logically part of the same workflow and the same information shouldn’t have to be entered twice.

Interoperability and unified workflows are intertwined. Interoperability is the ability to share and access data among systems -- and even between functional areas within the same system which are often siloed. A unified workflow is the “operational” side of interoperability. Such a workflow ties inefficient and often redundant steps into a seamless sequence that makes sense.

The survey asked a broad, open-ended question: “What frustrations do you have with your current ILS system?” The number of libraries that specifically mentioned “workflow” indicates this is a top-of-mind pain point. The comments included “lacks the ability to adapt to a workflow”, “not geared toward academic library workflows”, “overly complex workflows”, and “antiquated workflows”.

When asked “What would an ILS/WMS vendor ideally have to do or provide in order to win your business?” one respondent replied “potential for workflow simplification and staff savings” and from another, “prove that they can streamline our workflows and increase our productivity.”

Clearly it is time for a system vendor to take a fresh look at the workflows that modern libraries need. Separate and redundant workflows take valuable time away from library staff. Serials Solutions Intota system provides that fresh look with a system built from ground-up to tackle the holistic problem, span the siloes and enable truly unified workflows.



08 Oct 2012 | Posted by Jane Burke

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