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Automation Marketplace 2013: The Rush to Innovate

Automation Marketplace

The 2013 edition of the Automation Marketplace feature has been published by Library Journal, both in the April 2013 issue and on Digital Shift. I have authored this feature since 2012, chronicling more than a decade of progress in the library technology industry.

In this time of transition of the library automation industry, stakes are high for the vendors that are creating innovative—or even transformative—products and competing to bring these products first to the market. Establishing momentum early is essential in the library arena, which is attentive to the successes of a vendor’s peers and risk averse.

In the library services platform arena, OCLC’s WorldShare Management Services, Innovative’s Sierra, and Ex Libris’s Alma hit the streets first and have already begun aggressive sales cycles, seeing positive results. Serials Solutions finds itself in the position of urging its customers to wait for Intota, in stark contrast to its early entry into the web-scale discovery arena wit Summon. The Kuali OLE project continues to make great strides but has extended its time line for delivery by a year.

Developers of integrated library systems (ILSes) have executed ambitious development agendas to extend and integrate new services into their products to challenge the notion that innovation can be accomplished only in the newly minted systems. Seamless ebook integration, web-based interfaces for staff and patrons, and built-in social networking capabilities will soon be standard fare for many ILS products.

Recent investment activity also seems to be centered on strengthening product development. The new investors in Innovative Interfaces and Ex Libris show early signs of expanding capacity for creating new technologies with the potential for long-term gains and not slashing costs for short-term gains. Especially among the large companies, the number of personnel allocated to development is on the rise.

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Apr 3, 2013 09:46:53

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