Client and vendor engagements are all about creating connections, and technology makes it easier for people to piece together ideas and identify shared goals. As technology evolves, vendors find themselves collaborating rather than competing with each other in order to advance their creations and form stronger relationships. Collaborative vendor-client relationships are often based on how the parties interact with each other and what they believe they can accomplish together.
Most librarians work with multiple vendors, including print book and ebook aggregators, library service vendors, and subscription agents. Law librarians work with organizations such as Bloomberg Law, LexisNexis, Thomson Reuters, the American Association of Law Libraries, and in my case, the Oregon State Bar (OSB).
These days, vendors are compelling libraries more and more to move toward econtent licensing, and law librarians are seeing more than a 10%–20% price increase year after year just to maintain their electronic subscriptions. The problem is that many, if not most, law libraries have limited budgets, and they have to take into account factors such as whether or not to license ebooks and e-serials. Nowadays, law librarians and other information professionals have to be able to determine the value of their existing subscriptions and be ready to weigh the feasibility of walking away from a vendor.
All too often, information professionals say that they have been unhappy with a negotiation at one time or another. In fact, many of them renewed or even purchased a product despite their concerns. But why? After all, the goal is for both parties to walk away from a negotiation with a better feeling than when they entered into it.
Librarians must refrain from giving the vendor all of the power. After all, vendors have been trained and are skilled in the art of persuasion. They know how to successfully negotiate a license with a library. Also, it is never a wise idea to enter into a negotiation with a vendor without prior preparation. Most likely, the vendor has done research on your library and has defined a set of objectives before the conversation even begins.
Tough Decisions Based on Budget
There are specific databases that are necessary for librarians to acquire, and there’s information they are expected to have available for patrons. However, just because librarians have to buy resources related to specific data doesn’t mean they have to put up with an unfavorable deal with a vendor.
My law library recently canceled its subscription to Bloomberg BNA’s Tax Management Portfolios, and it was a difficult decision to make. Several law libraries that I know of either subscribe or subscribed to this resource, which produces news and publications on a broad array of topics, as well as tax guidance resources for accounting, corporate, and legal professionals. Bloomberg BNA used to offer libraries Tax Management Portfolios in print, however, it has since moved its content from print to online. The problem? Libraries can no longer subscribe to just the Estates, Gifts and Trusts Portfolios. They are now available through an all-in-one cloud-based platform, which is too expensive for small, rural law libraries like mine.
Content Management With cSubs
My law library subscribes to Westlaw, Lexis Advance, OSB, and Fastcase, among other resources. Each is great, but some of them come with a high price tag, and each has its own license agreements and renewal terms. Rather than tracking all of this information, wouldn’t it be easier if there was technology out there to help librarians like me manage licenses, econtent, subscriptions, contracts, and user access all in one place?
cSubs offers the perfect solution, since bringing content and people together is exactly what the company is all about. cSubs is a knowledge resource management provider that supplies content management services to both corporate and institutional customers.
Specifically, cSubs provides subscription management software that businesses can use to reduce the burden of managing multiple vendors. It can be considered a one-stop shop. It offers a multitude of services that tie into one platform, which works from the cloud and can engage with any procurement system.
cSubs’ clients are located throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, and they include large pharmaceutical companies, banks, law firms, accounting firms, advertising agencies, and some smaller organizations. Some educational facilities such as the University of Notre Dame have also signed a contract with cSubs to help reduce costs and save time for the ordering of periodicals, professional and educational journals, newspapers, and online content. cSubs also works with contractors who are information scientists, including librarians and knowledge managers.
Since 1989, cSubs, short for Corporate Subscription Management Service, has been providing subscription, econtent, book, and license management services to corporate and professional services clients. It is a woman-owned and disabled-owned business certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and Disability:IN. cSubs has been the recipient of several awards from the Women Presidents’ Organization, Inc. (WPO), DiversityBusiness.com, and others. cSubs and its employees are active members of the Special Libraries Association (SLA), XYZ Association of Publishers and Subscription Agents, and the Fulfillment Management Association (FMA), just to name a few. It has been identified as one of Inc. magazine’s 5,000 fastest-growing companies.