Tuesday, 13th September 2016
Many information professionals are scrutinising their budgets for content purchasing but what should be considered beyond price? Jinfo's director of research, Robin Neidorf, reports.
The final months of the calendar year are "crunch time" for many information services with responsibility for content purchasing. At Jinfo, we're engaging in many discussions and projects around the variables affecting stakeholder education on ROI, purchasing decisions, and contract negotiations:
Across our entire customer base, Jinfo sees a consistent trend towards declining usage of premium databases and content sets. Whilst there are exceptions to this trend, the overall chatter has been about lowered usage statistics, resulting in deep concern on the part of heads of information services about demonstrating value and securing renewals.
Declining usage rarely has a single contributing factor, and usage in and of itself is not a good proxy for value. But the data presents a dual conundrum: how to get the most value from existing investments in content (on the one hand), and how to work with stakeholders to better define and measure the value content brings into the business regardless of the level of usage (on the other).
And sometimes dropping content is in fact the right decision, but it takes a searching and unbiased evaluation of the needs of today (and tomorrow) to make that decision with confidence.
Feedback about price rises and mismatched expectations of product value emerges in every industry - every content purchasing department faces significant challenges in balancing proposed price increases in the double-digits for some products with budgets that are flat (at best).
Our customers regularly ask about the impact of private equity investment in vendors as a contributing factor to price rises and changing business models. An upcoming article explores this trend, with comment and observations from both the vendor and the buyer side of the commercial relationship.
But any of the big changes in structure can have a similar impact on pricing - mergers, acquisitions, even spin-off of product lines and business units have all contributed to pricing shifts.
For their part, vendors cite the deepened and ongoing investment in features, technology and usability as contributing factors to price rises. No surprises here, certainly, but we encourage vendors to be as transparent as possible with their customers about the product road map, to ensure that those investments are aimed at developments their customers value.
What's coming in your next contract?
When content purchasers plan their next round of discussions, new topics are on their list for discussion with vendors:
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