It’s important to have choices in life and information management

When making an investment in library software and information management technology the choices have been limited over the past several years as the market has morphed into a few larger companies that swallow up smaller companies. Soutron remains owned by the same management team now that started the company nearly 30 years ago.

A long history of software development and automation is no guarantee of success but it does bring with it perspective and the ability to take the long view, drawing on a wealth of experience about how to deliver not just software but service. The service element is more critical for the success of any library system implementation than software functionality, which can be quickly replicated across systems and platforms.

Facebook’s CEO’s 5 hours explaining a business model to the USA’s top legislative chambers shows that experience really does pay off in avoiding mistakes. Full alignment to a customer’s needs, providing a complete service is more important than development of cute new software features.

Every year Marshall Breeding’s Library Technology Industry questionnaire to suppliers asks how many systems have been sold.  It is not a qualitative measure. It is not our measure of success. The idea of being” big” does not get our attention at Soutron.

The future of Information Management

In 2007/8, when we started to create our own system, we already had 20 years of experience to draw on, supplying and creating solutions using database software. Flexibility and custom service was our founding philosophy. It has stood us in good stead and our second generation of software is now taking shape and it is built on an inclusive business model. This means each and every client is treated individually, what features to develop specific to particular needs. Those features become part of the system, available to all, with opt in or out easy to apply.

The v4.1 release of Soutron Information Management System continues this tradition and introduces a leaner, more intuitive experience, creative tool for the library. Workflows are elegant, processes streamlined and simple removing steep learning curves.

We have the advantage of being small enough to make decisions quickly. When an idea such as including an archive of Tweets into the library is presented by a client we can address it and include it within a few weeks. We ditched the old ideas of the OPAC and replaced it with a sleek, sexy interface, a portal that’s easy to customise.

It has long been our philosophy to make the software fit the needs of the library. We question existing processes to devise efficient ways of achieving results and enjoy close collaborative relationships where ideas are exchanged, expertise is applied, in an active, participatory way.

Service starts and ends with choice. It’s your choice.

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Author

View more posts by Graham Beastall Graham Beastall – Senior Consultant and Managing Director. Graham’s background is in Accountancy, Public Administration and Organizational Theory with a deep technical understanding of databases and web technologies. More posts by Graham.

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