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Purchasing an ILS (Parts 8, 9 & 10): Select your system, negotiate and sign the deal

You’ve done a lot of homework! Now, it’s time to select your system. Doing so can be challenging, unless you were fortunate to find one system that outshone the rest. If you didn’t, try to avoid getting stuck in a “what if” or waffling mode. If you find that you’re struggling with the selection process and you still have some time to make your decision, consider repeating one or more of the previous steps. Don’t be concerned if a vendor is expressing frustration; they want to make the sale, but you need to live with your purchase. If you don’t have the time, review your matrix again, think about your library and select the system that best fits your library at that time.

The negotiation process can include negotiating the cost of the system and your contract. In our instance, the vendor wasn’t open to negotiating the cost of the system. That doesn’t mean you don’t give it a try. You can suss this out by asking if they will provide you with a free add-on, a discount on an aspect of the system (e.g., a module, an add-on, hosting fees, etc.), or a discount on the system. If they don’t seem receptive, you’ve got your answer. If you have limited experience in this area, see if someone else in your organization can provide you with tips or assistance during the negotiation process. Also, consider posting to a listserv for ideas.

Negotiating the contract is a very important piece. The contract is a legally binding document. Contracts tend to be both wordy and technical. If possible, have a lawyer review it, as well as your technical staff. Both will be able to provide you with advice and recommendations.

We requested a number of changes to our contract. Our vendor was open to these changes and they were subsequently made. I would recommend that you don’t sign the contract until you’ve reached terms that are reasonable to both parties. If you need to continue negotiating, do so. It is in the best interest of your organization.

You’ve signed the deal! Congratulations! Now comes the fun stuff…ILS implementation! Enjoy!

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