Monday, 3 December 2012

Beginning the P2 replacement project

The "One Card" project, requires us to convert approximately 80 databases onto the new system. however it doesn't stop there. It also includes a 2nd sub-project; developing a selection/acquisition system to replace P2.  Why are we doing this?  There are a number of answers to this question. 

Part of the answer is that P2 is now over 14 years old & despite some cosmetic tweaks it is showing its age! Also the library supply chain has been transformed over the last 10 years & we need to provide libraries with the best & most flexible system of selection while also maximising access & discounts , and also ensuring speedy delivery.

There are so many workflows and assumptions about the way to supply library materials embedded in P2 based on when the system was developed in the 90's that PLS has to go back to basics & re-examine every assumption embedded in our current systems.  

The original "OneCard" business case stated that once we'd got the LMS project underway we'd start with the "P2 replacement". So as 2012 closes out & over 50% of the State's population has access to the "One Card" system PLS needs to actively investigate an effective post P2  selection/acquisition solution on behalf of the network. 

To this end PLS staff have been thinking about what the future procurement environment may look like. Our primary focus is "How do we effectively procure library materials that meet the needs of libraries & their customers - at the best price?"  This question has so many components that it will take us some time to totally de-construct each issue & assumption before we begin to consider what the future system may look like. 

Like any issue, the best place to start is with information & analysis. And that is where we are at right now -gathering information. We will need to find out what is possible from suppliers, talk to library staff to test out some options & look at what software we may need to achieve what we think is the best way forward. 

I see these three areas of exploration as being so inter-related that our investigation will need to be iterative. That is we will need to know what libraries need, then talk to supplies and software people to s what is possible & at what cost. From there we will go back to library staff and consult some more etc. 

We have started our process along this road.  Jo Freeman called a forum of staff to provide us with information how libraries use P2 and what they value in the current P2 arrangement.  We have also talked to suppliers and looked at how libraries elsewhere manage their selection through to payment process.

We have also looked at the Symphony Acquisitions module to see how much of the functionality it has can meet our needs. We have talked to SirsiDynix about who is using the Acquisitions module effectively & in a complex environment such as we will need.  They told us that the LA County Public Library is one location & the other is Stanford University.  So we've decided that we need to look at how these libraries use the system, as well as meeting with SirisDynix staff to look at possible changes to the Symphony Acquisitions module to meet our needs.

Jo Freeman & I are therefore in the US meeting with the two libraries and also the SD staff.  I will say more about these visits in a future post.

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