Several people have called to our attention the fact that DRA sales are lagging. The facts confirm the observation: the vendor, one of the major players in the mid-size and large system markets, has been experiencing lagging sales for the past two years. It made 113 "new name" sales in 1996 and 155 in 1997; however many of those were relatively small school library systems. Only 15 sales were made in 1998. Revenues were approximately $38.5 million in 1996; $35.4 million in 1997; and $32.5 million in 1998.
Several reasons account for the decline in "new name" sales and revenues, including an increasing percentage of software-only sales as more customers (up to half) purchase hardware from other sources; reductions in prices for hardware; and-most important-the effect of anticipation of delivery of the vendor's new Taos system. Almost all vendors experience a drop in sales of both their existing and new products between the time a new product is announced and when it becomes available in general release.
Taos was expected to become available in general release in 1998, but delays common to complex software development projects hit DRA just as they have other vendors. The latest indication is that the full breadth of functionality will not be available until the middle of 1999. Some of the ten customers that have purchased Taos may become operational earlier than mid-year with cataloging, circulation, and patron access catalog modules. These clients do not require acquisitions and serials control, are using Classic acquisitions and serials control in the interim, or have another way of handling these applications for the next several months. Serials control is nearing completion; acquisitions has only recently been started, but is expected to be complete by mid-1999. The "new name" customers are expected to be fully installed by the end of the year. At least ten DRA Classic, INLEX/3000, and MultiLIS sites are expected to migrate to Taos in 1999.
Classic, the mainstay of the DRA product line for more than a decade, continues to be available and to be enhanced. Six "new name" customers chose the product in 1998. The company expects to continue selling Classic and expects that it will be years before it is necessary to limit enhancement to the product.
[Contact: Data Research Associates, 1276 North Warson Road, St. Louis, MO 63132; telephone 800-325-0888; fax 314-993-8927; URL www.dra.com].