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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ladder to the Cloud: WMS Update

The Cloud is puffy and waiting for us...but the ladder to get there is a bit more rickety than expected.


Our go-live date of August 20th proved a bit ambitious. While certain parts of the WMS system are up and running, there are important connections and functionality that we are still working with OCLC to get just right before we can jump ship from our current ILS.


If you're keeping track of us, you'll have read Jason Griffey's "Are We Live?" post from August 30. From there, we were hoping for a mid-September date, now we'll be pushed back a bit beyond that.


Circ is not ready yet to go live - while the check-in and check-out functionality is up and running, there are a few more things that make circ-side "go," and some of those things (like our billing practices and reports) have to be approved by folks like our auditors. The OCLC folks are shucking their buns to get us what we need, and we're currently having cross-departmental meetings declaring what we need immediately for a go-live, what can wait, and what can wait a bit longer. This is helping us all get on the same page about things, as well as realize some of the more finely-tuned interdependencies of our systems, data, and display that we hadn't realized. While it's a bit frustrating (we would *love* to go live yesterday), we want to do it right, and for now, that means waiting on OCLC's fast-paced development cycle to get us what we need. I've found this to be a really fascinating glimpse into the inner guts of the working of library records and systems. Even more interesting has been the division between what a vendor/partner thinks libraries need to function and what librarians think a library needs in order to function.


This is still a system I'm excited we'll be working in. The functionality - once it's all up and running - should prove a boon over our current system. But reality intrudes, in the form of some essential functionality, and in the end, our decisions to postpone our go-live date are based upon our attitude toward service. If it negatively impacts our patrons, whether through delaying our processes, item discoverability, or interface, we'd rather wait.


And such are the results of being a development partner. The system is still developing, and it's great to see how each update chews things off the list of functionalities we are waiting on - even as we're chomping at the bit and looking at the calendar.


And all along the way, we're preparing, altering workflows, debating patron as well as staff-side impact, cleaning data, testing WMS and making lists of needs, wants, and what's ready. There's a ways to go, and since we measure our professional lives in semester-weeks (and the paltry twelve of those that are left in Fall 2010), we don't have time to hold our breath. We're making plans, we're taking action, we're working hard...and we're waiting on the ladder to the cloudware to be complete.

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