SirsiDynix, one of the largest library automation companies, made a number of recent announcements relating to both its products and personnel. December 2009 saw the release of new versions of its major products and the departure of a key executive.
Stephen Abram Departs
Stephen Abram, appointed as the Vice President for Innovation in March 2004, has left the company to join Gale Cengage as its new Vice President for Strategic Partnerships and Markets. During his tenure at SirsiDynix, Abram took on a highly visible role through his numerous presentations at library conferences and meetings. He served as the Chief Strategist of the SirsiDynix Institute, an educational program of Webinars offered to the broader library community. These Webinars do not focus on SirsiDynix products, but draw on experts from a variety of organizations to address current trends and topics. This program was created by Dynix Corporation before it became part of SirsiDynix. The SirsiDynix Institute is expected to continue.
SirsiDynix indicates that it will not appoint a direct replacement for Abram. Rather, it will tap other individuals in the company to such as Talin Bingham, Chief Technical Officer, and Berit Nelson, Vice President of Strategic Library Development, to take a more visible role in articulating the company's technology and product strategies.
In his new position at Gale Cengage, Abram will rejoin Pat Sommers, who led SirsiDynix from January 2001 through February 2007 as its President and CEO. Sommers became the President of Gale Cengage in Oct 2007.
SirsiDynix Symphony Gains Microsoft SQL Server Support
One of the major internal components of an integrated library system involves its underlying database technology. A business application like an ILS relies extensively on its database, and is often programmed to work only with a specific database product. The ability to support multiple database platforms extends a program's ability to integrate well in a wider range of organizations. The IT departments of many organizations prefer to work with specific operating system and database platforms. Oracle stands as one of the most widely used commercial database platforms, and is very widely used in academic institutions. Other major database management systems include IBM's DB2 and Microsoft SQL Server. Many libraries rely on institutional data centers that have based their technical infrastructure on Microsoft products and have expertise with Microsoft SQL Server. SirsiDynix has completed a new release of its flagship ILS product, SirsiDynix Symphony (3.3.1) that adds support for Microsoft SQL Server as one of the options for its database component. The original database for the product was C-ISAM from Informix. Support for Oracle was implemented in 2005.
The ability for Symphony to make use of Microsoft SQL Server will be a positive move for these organizations tied to Microsoft-oriented data centers. The ability to support multiple database platforms also expands sales opportunities since some ILS procurement projects may include specific requirements for Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server.
SirsiDynix Symphony 3.3.1 also includes a number of additional enhancements typical of a routine incremental release. Some of the changes focus on the e-Library online catalog interface with improved authentication options as well as a new administration module for configuration and customization. Enhancements to the circulation module include new reporting options for fines and fees to accommodate more complex consortial implementations. Many of the recent enhancements to Symphony involve improved support for consortia.