We’re a different kind of vendor…

A vendor will say: we understand that libraries are dissatisfied by the power-balance in vendor-customer relationships, but we’re different…

These are just words; words that can’t be substantiated in tangible actions. And yet librarians laud these vendors like something has been understood.

But, these are just words. Nothing more.

There’s a reason why the vendor model doesn’t support a balanced relationship between vendor and customer: the vendor is vending and the customer is a customer buying what is being vended. All the good intention in the world cannot change this relationship; vendors have a bottom line and a roadmap and no amount of love-ins with user groups and customers will ever change this. It might buy some small concession, but nothing more (and these concessions are the first to disappear and last to be re-implemented at upgrade time).

If a library wants to change the relationship it has with their software, the only way to do so is to realise that their core business is software-driven and that they have to take control of this part of their business directly. Direct control is the only way to ensure that functionality is available and that the road-map of the product is right.

Participation in open source development (maybe Folio, maybe Koha, maybe something else) is the only real way forward for libraries that don’t want to be vended upon.

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