Things just got more interesting. I love a clever turn of phrase, and no matter what you think of vendors or their software, you gotta give props to VTLS for the “No Roaming” double entendre in this latest entry into library vendor intrigue.
VTLS will be offering a free license to its integrated library system, Virtua, in return for a 3-year service contract (press release). Basically, it’s an alternative to waiting to migrate to another system, but is pointedly in response to SisriDynix’s recent announcement about its new platform, code-named “Rome.” Of course, there are the requisite rules and exceptions, but you can’t say it’s small print. It’s all right there in the program details.
Some highlights from the VTLS program:
If you’re a North American library and your ILS vendor has announced the end-of-life for your product, VTLS wants to offer you a cost-effective way to stay on the leading edge of technology. Specifically:
- VTLS will provide you with a cost-free license to the VIRTUA ILS for the same user count and the same modules (if available from VTLS) as you have licensed from your current vendor.
- Software installation and data conversion from your existing system (acq and serials data conversion may not be available for all products) to VIRTUA will be done by VTLS for our current list price rates.
- ORACLE (embedded) licensing costs must be paid by the customer.
- Training will be offered in a variety of ways to make it as affordable as possible, including:
- Library must sign 3-year maintenance agreement. Early cancellation charges would apply.
- The procurement process has to be on a sole-source basis with no RFI or RFP requirements.
- Customers must sign standard maintenance and license agreements.
- A commitment must be received in the form of a Purchase Order, or a signed maintenance agreement, by June 30, 2007, with implementation to begin by the end of 2007.
- Additional, optional software modules the library may desire can be purchased and bundled with the offer.
- Hardware is not included in this offer and must be supplied by the customer. However, hosted access is available if desired.
- For the first five libraries to sign a commitment, VTLS will offer a 50% discount on the industry-leading VITAL digital repository product.
- VTLS reserves the right to modify the terms of the offer at any time without notice.
This is quite an interesting way for VTLS to counter the recent announcement from SirsiDynix. As I mentioned in my previous post, all other things being equal, the pain of migration is the hardest thing to deal with. The question for libraries is how does Virtua measure up to Unicorn.
Though I am sure there are business reasons that make the idea unattractive, if I were VTLS, I would have sweetened the entire thing by releasing Virtua as open source. Whether this turns out to be an interesting publicity stunt or if it gets real traction, the message is still a poignant reflection of the concern of many SirsiDynix customers who do not think that Unicorn is necessarily the best way forward.
I can’t wait to see what the reaction to this might be.
[This post originally appeared as part of American Libraries’ Hectic Pace Blog and is archived here.]