Library spending patterns on resources and systems


In terms of spending most institutions are annually spending over £500,000 on library materials (print and electronic). This may overstate the case a little as the response was somewhat biased towards larger institutions.


Half the library technology budget is spent on the LMS. Most spending is between £50,000 and £250,000. Projecting forward to 2007/08 and then 20012/13 spending is not anticipated to change significantly except with a slight shift to the middle ground with fewer libraries spending less than £50,000 annually on materials, technology or staff.

Unsurprisingly we don’t see the characteristics for significant growth in the market even taking into account the development of new products and services to manage, discover, access, and deliver electronic resources. Only 16 respondents have plans (up to 2012) to purchase an ERM for example and the bulk (10) is planning to do that in 2008. However this may be a response based on the needs of an annual planning cycle rather than long-term intent. ERM figured as one of the elements that librarian saw as ‘missing’ from LMS functionality.

We might expect that an efficiency focus on the core LMS will shift the balance more to products and services to support e-resources. The potential for new ways of delivering applications such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) might reduce costs (including staff costs) over time. In the vendor interview Stephen Abram from SirsiDynix claimed there is potential for a 40% reduction in costs by using a SaaS approach.

SaaS is essentially a more web-centric update of what were known as ‘hosted ‘and then ‘ASP’ (Application Service Provider) solutions. In a strict definition ‘SaaS vendors typically use a ‘multi-tenant architecture’, meaning that multiple customers are running the same software, but with virtually separate data. ASPs by comparison, merely deployed one application instance on a server for each customer…... It's reasonable to assume that multi-tenant architecture simplifies application management for the vendor. The multi-tenant model also simplifies the value for all customers since upgrades are instantaneously available across the entire platform’.
LMS vendors would probably need to substantially re-architect their LMS to take full advantage of this multi-tenant approach and what they may claim to be SaaS, in reality, remains ASP at the moment. Nevertheless libraries should be expecting to get better value for money from their core LMS.

Low growth opportunity will also support the current trend towards vendor consolidation in the market as companies seek achieve efficiencies through scale and elimination of product duplication. We have already seen this with ERM. The former Endeavor Meridian product is being replaced by Ex Libris Verde, following the takeover of Endeavor by Ex Libris. It would be unsurprising to see the same happen with former Endeavor LMS -Voyager.