Ex Libris, now owned by ProQuest, is well established as the dominant provider of technology solutions for academic and other research libraries. The company's products are used in almost all geographic regions. Ex Libris operates in each region primarily through offices it owns and staffed with its own employees, though in some regions it relies on distributors or other organizations to represent its interests.
Increased Direct Support in Eastern Europe
Ex Libris has made some changes in the way it markets and supports its products in the Eastern European countries of the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Romania. The company has previously worked with three different organizations in the area to promote its products and provide support services. Ex Libris announced in November 2016 that it is shifting to working with current and prospective library customers more directly. Previously, the company's interests were represented primarily through partner organizations, including MULTIDATA Praha, Ex-Lh, and Charles University. The individuals involved with supporting Ex Libris products in these organizations will become Ex Libris employees as part of its EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) division headed by Ofer Mosseri.
MULTIDATA, Praha (multidata.cz), based in Prague, was previously the exclusive distributor of Ex Libris products in the Czech Republic. The company also sold and supported other technology products such as TinWeb, the latest generation of the T Series integrated library system; the MarcMan utility for manipulating bibliographic records; and other technology products used in Czech libraries. The company was founded in 1997. The Computer Center at Charles University in Prague, a long-standing implementer of Aleph, SFX, and other products, also played a role in the region, which will also shift to Ex Libris. In Slovakia, Ex Libris will continue working through its distributor, Tempest A.S.
Ex-Lh Kft (ex-lh.hu) was the distributor for Ex Libris products in Hungary, Romania, and Armenia. The company was established in 1990 and has been representing Ex Libris products since 1994. Beginning on January 1, 2017, technical support personnel working for Ex-Lh will become Ex Libris employees.
This move is consistent with previous changes Ex Libris has made in its international operations. In February 2010, Ex Libris acquired Fujitsu Services A/S, which had previously served as its exclusive distributor in Denmark and Sweden and has since worked with libraries in those countries directly through a newly established Scandinavia office. In July 2009, Ex Libris likewise acquired its distributor for Italy and Slovenia, Atlantis S.R.L. Globally, Ex Libris has established 11 wholly owned subsidiaries and works with as many as 13 distributors.
New Data Center in China
In other international news, Ex Libris announced in November 2016 that it has established a data center in Beijing, China. Ex Libris reports that this data center will support its growing presence in China. The company has been working with libraries in China since about 2000. This data center will be available for its cloud and hosted services to its customers throughout the Asia/Pacific region. Ex Libris also operates data centers in Chicago, Amsterdam (established in 2011), and Singapore (2013).
Ex Libris reported in May 2016 that it achieved the international certification credential (ISO/IEC 27018:2014) for compliance with recommended practices related to the protection of personal identifiable information in cloud services. In April 2013, the company achieved international certification for information security management (ISO/IEC 27001:2005).
Ex Libris has thoroughly embraced software-as-services (SaaS) as the strategic deployment model for its new products. The Alma library services platform is available exclusively through SaaS. Primo is available for local hosting, though most recent implementations have been hosted. Ex Libris also offers hosted services for most of its other established products. This reliance on hosted services demands that the company operate through data centers in each of the geographic regions in which it is active and that it meets the highest standards for reliability, security, and privacy. The expanding number of global data centers and its achievement of multiple ISO standards reflect investments consistent with its strategic reliance on hosted services.
Ex Libris continues to see strong momentum of Alma in many international areas. Announcements of selections or implementations made in recent weeks include:
- The Swedish Library consortium GSLG, including Linnaeus University, University of Borås, and Örebro University, selected Ex Libris Alma and Primo in October 2016 and will migrate from Voyager and Summon.
- Jönköping University Library in Sweden will migrate to Alma from Aleph. The library has been using Primo since 2011.
- Central Queensland University announced that it will migrate to Alma and Primo from its current Virtua ILS implementation.
- Ex Libris saw its first selections of Alma in Denmark with Metropolitan University College and University College Capital.
- The Renouvaud Network in Switzerland, which selected Alma and Primo in December 2016, completed implementation of the system in September 2016, becoming the 500th live implementation of Alma.
- Charles Darwin University in Australia selected Ex Libris Alma and Primo in August 2016 and will migrate from SirsiDynix Symphony.
While Ex Libris can be seen as the leading provider of technology products and services to academic libraries, the competitive context remains intense. Ex Libris Alma has seen production use for over four years since the initial implementation at Boston College in July 2012. It has been adopted by academic libraries in the United States and in a growing number of international regions. Although leading in market share, especially among larger academic and research libraries and consortia, its position does not go unchallenged. OCLC reported in June 2016 that over 500 libraries across six continents had implemented its WorldShare Management Services. Innovative's Sierra continues to be used in a large number of academic libraries, and its selection by the Florida Academic Library Services Cooperative, including 40 public universities and community colleges in the state, announced in May 2016 represents a major win in the academic library sector. SirsiDynix continues to serve many academic libraries and is building the BLUEcloud Campus suite to better serve them. The open source FOLIO project recently launched by EBSCO Information Services also targets academic libraries. With initial implementations not expected until 2018, it remains to be seen how much of an impact this new open source library services platform will make on the competitive landscape.