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You neglect to mention how much it cost in the end: I sincerely doubt that a developer like Mike Fields would take on 2 months of work for less than $10,000.
I think you might be missing something, which is that Matt is already a full time employee at the library – so there was not an incremental increase in cost to the business, and he would have had to deal with solving this problem either way (whether he built or bought a solution). In this case, building gave them more control at less cost in the long term, even though it required him to dedicate more time to it in the short term.
I’m sure giving up an antiquated and broken legacy solution in preference of Twilio is beneficial and totally worth it in the long term, but the article harps on the $10,000 price as a selling point, whereas it’s not as if the trade off was between (a) $10,000 and (b) free custom Twilio app from heaven. You guys are great, I love you, and I love libraries, but developer time has to be factored in when you’re comparing price points.
I’m a developer, though, so I might be biased.
Over the long run, it is still saving us money. It saved us a $10,000 upgrade this year AND it is saving us about $2,000 – $4,000 every year because we no longer have to maintain any equipment, telephone lines, pay annual software maintenance, etc. Mike was able to customize it to meet our libraries specific needs, which we were never able to do with the previous software package.
Plus we are VERY fortunate to have Mike working for us in-house and while this was his main focus for those 2 months, he was still working on other projects as well.
But yes, development time isn’t free. We’re hoping to be able to open source our solution later this year so other libraries can implement the Twilio solution at their organizations without starting from scratch.
Thanks for your comments and for your support of libraries!
Ah I see what you mean and how it might be perceived that way. Definitely don’t want people believing developer hours are free – that leads to all sorts of confusion. As we write more stories about our customers I’ll make sure to keep that in mind and make it a part of the overall cost of ownership rundown. Thanks!
One more thing worth mentioning. The change also means that we no longer have to deal with the oddities of ATT’s billing department. The value of that alone is almost in incalculable ;)
how can i learn to do this for my organization
We implemented this solution against the Polaris ILS using their Restful API service. If you’re using Polaris and would like more details, get in touch with us via the Contact Us section of our website.