Since their announcement in March 2007 of their single-product strategy, SirsiDynix has been hard at work enhancing Unicorn, their strategic ILS product recently re-branded as Symphony. Initial announcements used Rome as the name that would be used temporarily to refer to the company’s new ILS. Now that SirsiDynix adopted Symphony to describe its strategic product, the temporary designation falls away.
SirsiDynix positions Symphony as more than the renaming of its previous system, but a concerted effort to take forward features and functionality from each of its previous ILS products. A key question, however, involves whether Symphony actually represents a major transformation of Unicorn to incorporate the types of change that would normally represent a new product.
The company has assured its Horizon customers that their remaining flagship ILS will be expeditiously enhanced to include the major features that these libraries were expecting to receive in Horizon 8.0. Libraries using any of the SirsiDynix ILS products, including Unicorn, Horizon, and Dynix Classic have a strong interest in what features will be delivered in Symphony and the timeframe in which they will be delivered.
In late August 2007, SirsiDynix announced its progress and plans for the delivery of Symphony.
SirsiDynix indicates that the initial release of the product will be called Symphony 3.2, reflecting its heritage as an incremental extension of Unicorn 3.1, the last version offered under that name. The company has enlisted a diverse group of twenty libraries to assist in beta testing of Symphony 3.2, participating in a process it calls a “community technology preview.” As this preview phase progresses and the software moves into production, time will tell whether Symphony will live up to expectations. Unicorn customers will be looking for features and improvements previously slated for development. Libraries involved with Horizon will gauge whether Symphony meets their requirements.
So far, libraries appear to be taking a wait-and-see approach to Symphony. SirsiDynix has announced a relatively small number of sales announcements for Unicorn/Symphony so far in 2007. These libraries include the San Diego Public Library with its 35 branches, migrating from a DRA Classic system, the TAFE (Technical and Further Education) New South Wales in Australia with 100 library facilities, and three libraries in the UK, including University College for the Creative Arts, St. Helens Council Libraries which includes 12 facilities, and the Warrington Borough Libraries which includes a main facility and 12 branches.