Why SaaS Library Management Platforms Outshine On-Premise Solutions

31st May 2024

Embracing Efficiency: How SaaS Library Management Solutions are Outclassing On-Premise Alternatives

As a passionate librarian (in a previous life) and product manager, I get what librarians want for their borrowers – they want an outstanding library experience that will make their patrons feel heard and looked after, coming back again and again, while telling their friends and family about all the great services available. But how do we achieve this during times of massive technological change when the ways our borrowers want to engage are so varied? My advice - don’t hold back, give them every option they crave.

As technology across our lives impacts how we do everyday transactions, it’s natural for our borrowers to expect similar flexibility in our libraries. Some people like to drop into their local library to check out the latest displays, attend events, or request book recommendations from their favourite librarian, while I personally like to browse for content at my library online. These days though, a fully digital library experience can extend way beyond browsing a catalogue, replicating many of the in-library experiences that were once only the domain of a physical library.

Our libraries are changing, and all the librarians I connect with are fine with that – whether they’re facilitating book groups, teaching new skills, or empowering the sharing economy, they want to accommodate any services their community needs. What librarians are not fine with is being hamstrung by out-of-date technology that’s limiting their dreams and aspirations for their community. On-premise systems that once served us so well are failing to deliver on many fronts. Security and integration issues alone make a strong business case to move library operations to a software as a service (SaaS) model.

Expanding on this need for change, libraries looking to provide a wide array of services - as well as accommodating a rich digital library experience, a proper state of the art SaaS library management platform is the way to go. This same technology will free up librarians from tedious repetitive administrative tasks within a library setting by automating processes. This means that librarians are not stuck in a backroom office, but out on the floor ready for more 1:1 interaction with their patrons and for expanding the scope of their services.

Still not convinced? Here’s a list of reasons why libraries that have surpassed the limitations of their old on-premise systems are making the move to SaaS solutions:

Cost effectiveness: One of the big reasons to opt for a SaaS library management platform is its cost-effectiveness. Unlike on-premise solutions that require a major upfront investment in hardware, software licenses, and maintenance, SaaS platforms operate on a subscription basis, spreading costs over time. This means no more asking for large capital expenditures, making it much easier for libraries with limited budgets.

Accessibility and scalability: SaaS solutions let library staff access their library platform from any location with an internet connection. Such a big win for libraries with multiple branches or remote staff members. SaaS platforms are also scalable, libraries can adjust their subscription plans to accommodate fluctuating usage demands.

Automatic updates and maintenance: Sick of having to schedule patches? SaaS library management platforms push both software updates and maintenance of your system onto the provider – imagine that!

Enhanced security: SaaS providers have amazing security measures in place that keep your library data safe. Encryption, regular security audits, and compliance with industry standards such as GDPR and HIPAA far exceeds what an on-premise solution can provide.

Continuous innovation: How do innovative library management platforms stay ahead of the pack? This is where product managers like me come in. We listen to our customers and based on their feedback make our solution more innovative – it never stops improving. On top of that, SaaS platforms integrate with other cloud-based services, letting libraries add those third-party apps that take their fancy.

Disaster recovery and business continuity: Built-in disaster recovery mechanisms save libraries from all the drama of tech failures. Data backups are performed regularly and stored redundantly in geographically diverse locations – which means you’re always covered – with minimal downtime.

Support and training: Training resources help libraries maximise the value of their platform. Spydus, for example, offers both face-to-face training and a library of online training videos, so your library can choose the best fit for their needs.

Keeping all of this in mind, where to from here? If you’ve been around a while (like me!) you’ve been in this situation before when it comes to the latest technological advancements. And what did we do last time around? We embraced the tools that better served our communities. SaaS is the next chapter in this journey, and if you’re still not convinced, speak to librarians using our platform – Spydus, and find out for yourself.

By Kelly Gibbs Senior Product Manager, Libraries & Education at Civica