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Softlink International Realigns its Forces

Smart Libraries Newsletter [October 2009]

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Softlink International, a global company that produces the Liberty and Oliver library automation systems, has made a number of noteworthy changes over the last year. They have installed a new CEO for the global company and new management at their US subsidiary, and have incorporated a major independent distributor into the parent company. Softlink International reports that its software finds use in over 10,000 libraries spanning 108 countries, making it a key player in the library software world. The company offers library automation products for school, corporate, academic, and public libraries. In the United States Softlink has not gained wide adoption in large public or academic libraries, but has a substantial presence in school and corporate libraries.

Softlink International (the Softlink parent company) came under new management with the appointment of Kim Duffy as CEO in August 2008. Duffy's entry follows the retirement of Bob Dune who had served as CEO since 2000. John Duffy, who founded Softlink in 1983, served as CEO through 2000. John Dunne returned as Chief Information Officer in June 2007 and currently serves the company in a consulting role. Another management change for the global company involves appointment of Nathan Godfrey, who formerly served as the company's Chief Financial Officer, to the position of Chief Operating Officer for Softlink International. In April 2009, Hillary Noye was appointed as Director of Business Development Asia and Pacific for Softlink International. Noye, like Duffy, comes to Softlink from ISS.

The appointment of Duffy represents a transition from 25 years of continuous leadership by the two brothers that founded the company to an era with a chief executive who brings different experience and a new perspective. Duffy comes to Softlink as a seasoned executive of high-tech companies, including Australasia Internet Security Systems (ISS Australasia), where he served as Managing Director. Other previous posts include a stint as CEO of Indus International. Under the administration of Kim Duffy, the company has begun a new business strategy aimed at growing the company.

A Major transition for Softlink Europe

Another recent transition for Softlink involves the acquisition of one of its largest independent distributors, the one that represents its interests in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Effective December 2008, Softlink Europe operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of Softlink International (note: this change was not announced until May 2009). Prior to the acquisition, Softlink International was one of a group of investors in Softlink Europe. Having purchased the shares of outside investors, Softlink International now gains full control. No major operational changes have been announced. Alasdair Darroch, Managing Director since the company's founding in 1992, and Iain Dunbar, Operations Director since 1995, continue their leadership roles for Softlink Europe overseeing the company's EMEA operations. Softlink Europe is based in Oxford, UK.

Softlink Europe has had a history of steady growth since its founding in 1992. It provides its own support and sales operations and works through a number of agents throughout the region.

New Management at Softlink America

Softlink entered the United States market in 1993 with the establishment of Softlink America as a wholly owned subsidiary. Softlink America is headquartered in Denver, CO. Robert Corrao became President of this business unit in May 2004, when its headquarters moved to Los Angles. In September 2008, the division shifted its main office to Seattle, WA.

In the United States, Softlink has its strongest presence in the corporate and special library sector, with about half of the sales of its Liberty software going to US libraries. A small percentage of new sales of Oliver, geared more towards school libraries, have been to American customers.

In June 2009 Robert Corrao resigned from Softlink America to become Chief Operating Officer of Library Associates Companies (LAC), a major recruiting and consulting firm for libraries.

Catherine Leonard, manager of the company's Pacific division in New Zealand, has been appointed as General Manager of Softlink America. She will relocate to manage Softlink America from its Seattle office. This unit had previously been managed from an office in Los Angeles. Softlink America has been especially successful in the special library arena; Leonard will continue to pursue that focus and bring her successful marketing experience into the school libraries of New Zealand to help expand Softlink's presence in the school sector.

Softlink's Products

Softlink has developed a succession of successful library automation products since its founding.

Development of the company's original product, a library automation system called ALARM, began when the company was founded in 1983. ALARM was introduced in 1985. The next-generation of its library automation system, called OASIS, was released in 1988, initially targeting the Australian school library market. Softlink OASIS grew to dominate the Australian school library market and the company soon found success in other countries and regions. This software was marketed under different names in different regions; it was marketed as Alice for DOS in Europe, as Annie in the United States, and by EMBLA in Iceland. Beginning in about 1995, the software was migrated to Microsoft Windows. More recently, Softlink has focused on its new Web-based library automation systems. Oliver, designed for school libraries and resource centers, and Liberty for corporate, special, and public libraries.

Softlink International, one of the venerable companies of the international library automation arena, seems poised to further strengthen its position. New management in both its global operations and its US-based division seem to represent a positioning of the company for expansion and amplified marketing of its products regionally and globally. The acquisition of its European subsidiary ensures alignment of its strategies worldwide. This company has long been an important presence in the library automation economy. Now more than ever, Softlink International is a company to watch as the library automation industry continues to reshape itself.

FranceSoftlink France
IrelandInterleaf Technology
KenyaCoreTech Systems and Solutions
MauritiusLibtech Co Ltd.
NigeriaLibrary and Information Support Services
South Africa (Secondary Schools)Julie Engenrieder
South Africa (Junior and Preparatory Schools)Pam Nicolaides
UgandaPlanet Systems Ltd.
ZimbabweLibrary Support Systems
IsraelYanshuff Knowledge and Libraries Management
View Citation
Publication Year:2009
Type of Material:Article
Language English
Published in: Smart Libraries Newsletter
Publication Info:Volume 29 Number 10
Issue:October 2009
Publisher:ALA TechSource
Place of Publication:Chicago, IL
Company: Softlink Information Centres
Record Number:14587
Last Update:2022-05-19 21:56:16
Date Created:2010-03-02 09:33:14