Magazine article Information Today

Dynix: Baby Bell Ameritech: DataResearch and "The" Network

Magazine article Information Today

Dynix: Baby Bell Ameritech: DataResearch and "The" Network

Article excerpt

A column published here exactly five years ago (May 1987) concentrated on Dynix, Inc., a systems developer based in Utah [151 East 1700 South, Provo, UT, 84606]. At the time, the company was only four years old and as such was considered to be a recent "newcomer" to the library automation marketplace ["Dynix Cuts into Integration Pie," 17, 34, 37].

Even by then, however, Dynix had already clearly captured a leaderhip role in producing streamlined systems particularly attractive to both small and medium-sized libraries. But simply because it was considered a "small system vendor," the company got a lot less valuable attention than it deserved.

Nonetheless, the company has prospered beyond all expectations. According to data collected by Frank R. Bridge and published in Library Journal, Dynix ranks first in the number of systems installed in public libraries worldwide (and first in the number of systems sold to that type of library in 1991). Furthermore, it ranks third in the worldwide academic library installation marketplace overall (and ran a close race in 1991, off just seven sales from the leader).

The figures, based on vendor surveys, include both sales and installations. (This "Automated System Marketplace" roundup which appears annually in LJ's April 1 issue was originated by Bob Walton, now CLSI's president. The survey and analysis is now conducted by Frank Bridge, a former associate of Walton, and current president of Frank R. Bridge Consulting Inc, a library technology and management consulting firm based in Austin, TX.)

Association with a Baby Bell

Although it's clear that Dynix's business didn't actually suffer from having too little attention at first, it is unfortunate that with its recent acquisition by Ameritech Corporation, Dynix may be getting more misdirected, useless, and certainly negative attention than it deserves. [For the record, Ameritech Corporation is a so-called "Baby Bell" and the Chicago-based parent of the regional Bell companies serving the five major Midwestern states Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.]

You think you should worry about this? No way. Dynix's acquisition by Ameritech is a boon for us all.

Library Collection Growth/System

Downsizing

What originally made Dynix a success and the business philosophy that continues its outstanding record [simply my opinion, of course] is its corporate commitment to accommodation. It's simple. Dynix looks to both ends.

On the one hand it develops systems designed to accept a continuum of constant growth in collection size and patron/staff needs. It is equally and increasingly responsive to the library demand for downsized automated systems that will greatly appeal to the lower end of the library marketplace. This demand, according to Bridge's most recent roundup, is the major emerging theme in library automation.

But Dynix was ahead of many other vendors and astutely anticipated this trend. In 1990, the company introduced its Scholar system designed to run on 386-486-based workstations in the K-12 environment. The company has also been at the forefront in developing new types of "modules" for introduction into new "markets."

One example is the rollout in 1987 of a Bookmobile/Backup software package running in conjunction with a battery-operated, handheld Telxon terminal. The module made it possible for many libraries to automate these operations long before they could afford other more sophisticated equipment.

In short, quoting my remarks in the 1987 column, "The company has taken a leadership role in producing streamlined systems--and at a very fast pace--that are highly attractive to libraries.

"Dynix's success also lies in the professional tone it has set with its clients and competitors. That tone is particularly exemplified in its emphasis on openness and honesty and in its strict avoidance of razzle dazzle. …

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