18 November 2011, Chicago. "Invasion of the Customer Snatchers into a Saturated and Content-Driven ILS Marketplace" is the lead-off topic at RMG's 22nd Annual Presidents' Seminar: The View from the Top
Friday January 20, 2012, 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
ALA Midwinter Conference, Dallas
Dallas Convention Center – A201/202
Panelists, and participants – including integrated library system (ILS) company presidents and key industry players – will be announced in December. Additional topics will be addressed at the seminar – including questions from the audience. Some of the trends and topics to be explored in this year's seminar include:
- For a vendor in the saturated North American ILS marketplace, getting a new-name customer can mean snatching a library from somebody else's ILS customer base – or selling it an add-on product or service.
- Content increasingly rules, and cloud services have gathered; this combination challenges legacy library automation systems designed and created before the dominance of e-content and the Internet. Discovering, accessing, and delivering e-content is a compelling alternative (or complement) to a library's investment in a traditional ILS package of standard modules – along with a tug in another strategic direction for the ROI (Return on Investment) in RFID/AMH (Automated Material Handling) systems for gains in customer services and staff performance in managing books and AV materials.
- Industry dynamics in the last three years have been game-changers. Bywater Solutions, Equinox Software, and Liblime/PTFS have successfully commercialized the development and support of Open Source ILSs -- Evergreen and Koha. ILSaaS (Integrated Library System as a Service, including the web-scale offerings) is flattening the costs of open source and proprietary ILSs. Baker & Taylor and 3M now offer e-book lending (circulation control) services. In June 2011 Serials Solutions announced a Web-Scale Management Solution to debut in 4Q 2012. These together with Ex Libris' Alma, Kuali OLE, Innovative's Sierra, and OCLC's WMS offer opportunities for improved library workflows and customer services that overcome the costly inefficiency and awkwardness of differentiated processes for selection, acquisition, discovery, access, and delivery of e- and p-resources.
- The pairing of ILS/Discovery by Ex Libris, Innovative, and OCLC has impacted the academic library sector. Discovery and delivery services that focus on public libraries and the e-resources provided by State Library agencies have yet to emerge in needed force to benefit millions of readers who go about public library use largely unaware of expensive licensed e-content that could be within easy reach for them with the right interfaces and services on laptops, phones, and tablets.
- The biggest slices of library budgets are for people/content: in the extreme, 20/80 for academic libraries; 70/30 for public libraries. Annual expenditures for e-resources may reach 80% of some academic library content budgets. Targeting increased ROI in people and content is a strategic direction for libraries.
- The sheer financial might of Baker & Taylor, OCLC, ProQuest/Serials Solutions, and 3M separates them from the traditional denizens of the ILS marketplace. That, coupled with their ability or potential to deliver e-content, discovery, and ILS services on a subscription basis just might be the forces that re-shape the library technology marketplace. Will 3M expand Cloud Library to include an ILS service; or will Baker & Taylor or EBSCO or Gale take the WMS-plunge? Remember Elsevier and Endeavor/Voyager?
- Will the Invasion of the ILS Customer Snatchers be advanced through mergers and acquisitions (M&A) of library technology and/or content vendors?
- Are we a step away from Amazon or Facebook or Google or Microsoft launching services that one-up Amazon's recently introduced e-book lending services, that could partner and/or compete with libraries to reach individuals, homes, schools, and businesses?
- Will Apple's iCloud and Siri (think out of the single-search box) lead to Internet, Cable, and TV services that make information as easy to find and use, and as much fun and effective, as the iPhone and iPad?
- Will library customers be snatched away by these really big Internet-Age players and irreversible trends that could disrupt – maybe even disintermediate -- the role of libraries in providing information services?
- Libraries, Starbucks, and Barnes and Noble are very different places where customers go with laptops, phones, tablets, and content subscriptions to connect with WiFi and collaborators.
- What will libraries and the ILS marketplace look like in 2 years, and 5 years?
The 2012 Seminar topics build on recent ones from the January 2011 ALA Midwinter Conference in San Diego, "Reformation of the Library Automation Industry: Software as a Service (SaaS) Disrupts Traditional ILS Pricing Models;" and 2010 in Boston: "Forces of Change Sweep Across the Library Automation Landscape: Business and Technology Partnerships, Foundation and Government Funding, Non-profits versus For-profits." Information about these may be found at http://www.rmgconsultants.com/index.html.
Registration for the seminar is not required.
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About RMG Consultants
RMG Consultants is an information technology consulting firm specializing in team-based IT planning and procurement projects (designed as team-based enterprise learning processes) and IT Strategic Planning for libraries and Higher Education institutions.
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