Planning a migration? Eventually you’ll have to determine when you’re going to unplug your existing maintenance contract, an important factor given the ILS marketplace norm of restricting usage to paying maintenance customers.
Most proprietary software at least gives you some illusion of ownership and control by letting you run the software for years after you paid for it (why pay for support if you don’t need it?). For the growing number of SaaS-based network services (e.g. RefWorks or Ebsco AtoZ), this is not the case, but at least it’s clear up front that customers are entering into what is essentially a car rental type of agreement for software use.
The wonky thing about most ILS EULAs is that you normally don’t think of the SaaS model when you’re running the software locally. You buy the software but that “purchase” should really be understood as a down payment against a lease agreement. You didn’t buy anything that you can keep or share!
When I look at my desktop & server-based applications that we run (excluding the few SaaS providers we use), I can’t identify a single vendor that would unplug me effective termination of our annual support & maintenance (or prevent me from using the software without a paid support contract in place). Not a single one.
In any event, we’re exiting our Unicorn & Millennium systems and moving to a new open source ILS (more on this later), and here’s how the two vendors responded to our request to go month-to-month or quarterly (your results may differ):
- SirsiDynix: not allowed, we must purchase another full year’s annual support and maintenance
- III: accepted our request to go with 2 additional quarterly payments, rather than paying for an unwanted full year’s maintenance.
[BTW, we have two systems in place here as we're in the process of amalgamating several libraries]
Personally, it’s frustrating that we can’t run the software on terms that even Microsoft would permit (i.e. without annual support & maintenace), but ok I get the deal: we rented a car. I also didn’t expect III’s “flexibility” here since they’re arguably the most proprietary of the bunch, so good on them.
And finally, it’s a bit of a shame in that this situation significantly impedes many libraries’ ability to re-direct scarce funds towards any new ILS investment (as well as manage a migration with more flexibility) since you’re not always able to optimize migration scheduling with the end of your maintenace contract.