Success StoriesSt. Pius X Catholic High School
Long-Time Surpass User Tries Another Automation System and Quickly Switches Back.
We originally automated our library with Surpass for DOS in 1993 and had enjoyed an excellent product and support for six years. In 1999 we were ready to move to a Windows product. Although the Surpass Safari Windows-based catalog (OPAC) had been available for over a year, the Surpass Central circulation and administration program wasn’t quite ready. We got impatient and decided to switch to another big-name Windows-based automation system.
That was a big mistake. After just one year, we went back to Surpass and have not regretted it since. Here’s why:
Surpass Safari and Central offer complete customization of reports and other areas. This is a feature I have not seen in any other library automation product. I have the ability to create any kind of report I need. I am in total control. I can specify what fields I want for any particular range or type of patron or material. I can also sort the report by any field I choose. It’s truly amazing how much control and flexibility is built into the program. There are also many built in reports that are included in Surpass so I don’t have to build every report from scratch.
Other areas of Surpass offer customization as well. For example, I can choose which MARC fields I want to appear in the catalog views. For instance, it’s important for me and my patrons to see the contents (505) and series (440) fields in Safari. I can easily set up these fields (or any others I choose) to show in the catalog. I can also choose which MARC fields are indexed, which makes the contents of those fields searchable in standard keyword searches.
The customer support is by far the best that I have experienced with any vendor.
During our interim year with a competing automation program, we missed the excellent customer service we had enjoyed with Surpass. Whenever I called support for our new software, I was greeted with a recording. There was never anyone to speak to right when I needed to. I would have to leave a voice message and then wait two hours or more to get a call back.
With Surpass, my call is almost always answered by a live, friendly voice. They know who I am, and I get immediate answers. On the rare occasion the phone is not answered by a person, I simply leave a message; I get a call within 30 minutes EVERY TIME.
The software developers really listen. The other automation company we used will tell you that they want your suggestions, but nothing ever happens. Or you wait months, even years, for an update.
With Surpass, the programmer is in touch with the users almost every day through the Surpass listserv (email discussion group). Anyone can make a suggestion for an improvement to the system, and we don’t have to wait months for an update. If an improvement is made, we receive email notification and download the latest update right over the Internet. Upgrading is done literally in minutes.
I love Surpass for its simplicity and sophistication. It’s easy to use and powerful. As long as I have something to say about it, I will never again use any other library automation product.