Perceptions of ILS Vendors from Marshall Breeding

Are you a decision maker for your library’s ILS? Make sure you checkout this report (which has received some great notice, I am late to the party)

Breeding’s observations are useful and concise:

Polaris emerged as the system with the highest positive ratings. Libraries that use Polaris rated their system higher in all categories than any of the competing systems and are the least interested in open source alternatives. Only 1.56% of responding libraries indicated they were considering migrating to a new system.

(I keynoted their User Group meeting in 2006 – what a cool bunch!)

The Library Corporation scored very highly with their Library.Solution customers but not nearly as well with Carl or Carl.X. While the number of responses for Carl/Carl.X were well below the threshold to be included in the main summary tables, the ratings and comments reflected mostly negative perceptions. About 12 percent of the libraries running Library.Solution that responded to the survey indicated interest in migrating to a new system; one third of Carl libraries indicated interest in changing systems.

Innovative Interfaces received strong positive ratings from its libraries, generally about third highest among the companies that produce higher-end automation systems. 327 libraries using Millennium responded to the survey—more than any other product. While the numerical ranking might be characterized as lukewarm, the comments generally reflected satisfaction. Many complimented the functionality of the system; some complained about the cost.

Two products provided by Ex Libris received enough survey responses to be included in the main reports, ALEPH 500 and Voyager. Both of these systems received mediocre satisfaction scores, with Voyager (4.11) ranked a significant notch below that of ALEPH 500 (5.06). Comments about ALEPH included both strongly positive and strongly negative statements. The comments from libraries running Voyager tended to voice uncertainty about the corporate situation, with only a few complaints about the system itself. Libraries running Voyager indicated the strongest interest in migrating to an open source ILS.

The products of SirsiDynix, Unicorn and Horizon, received low satisfaction scores from libraries responding to the survey. Unicorn, the company’s flagship ILS performed somewhat better than Horizon. 14% of libraries running Unicorn and about half of those with Horizon indicate interest in migrating to another system–not surprising considering SirsiDynix’s position not to develop that system into the future. Horizon libraries scored high interest in open source ILS alternatives. The comments provided by libraries running Horizon voiced an extremely high level of frustration with SirsiDynix as a company and its decision to discontinue Horizon. Many indicated distrust toward the company. The comments from libraries running Unicorn, the system which SirsiDynix selected as the basis for its flagship Symphony ILS, also ran strongly negative—some because of issues with the software some because of concerns with the company.

Read the whole report and follow all the data if you are poised to continue or upgrade a contract. I also really appreciate these words from Breeding: I also hope that the companies mentioned in the survey will also find these results to be useful and provide some information on how they can make adjustments to improve the satisfaction of their library customers.

Vendors – how are you responding to these results? How are you improving your customers’ satisfaction?