A Dialog with Dan Wagner: The Dialog Corp.'s Chief Addresses the Future

By Poynder, Richard | Information Today, March 1998 | Go to article overview

A Dialog with Dan Wagner: The Dialog Corp.'s Chief Addresses the Future


Poynder, Richard, Information Today


Dan Wagner made headlines and quite a name for himself when he pulled off MAID's acquisition of Knight-Ridder Information and its DIALOG and Data Star products. Wagner, now president and CEO of the Dialog Corporation, spoke with Richard Poynder recently.

Q Was the Dialog acquisition the only way forward for MAID?

A No. MAID had not reached the end of its way as a stand-alone business--we were growing extremely fast and making considerable headway. However, I felt that the market was consolidating and that we were likely to be destined to form part of a larger group; over the last 12 years, for instance, we have been approached by a variety of suitors. So when KRI [Knight-Ridder Information] was put up for sale, it was an opportunity I couldn't resist.

Q To do the deal, though, you have incurred debts of around 180[pounds sterling] million (approximately $292 million). You're going to have to grow fast, aren't you?

A No. All we would need to do is manage on a more cost-effective basis, although obviously we anticipate growing. MAID was growing at 55 percent compound annual growth over the last few years; KRI was growing at about 4 percent. If we maintain these rates we can certainly cover all our debt and have plenty of headroom to spare. Q And in order to manage more cost-effectively you have reduced staff numbers, haven't you--shedding around 25 percent of the work force?

A Yes, although in fact 120 were lost through attrition prior to the deal going through, and we have subsequently shed a further 330. So the payroll for the combined group is now just over 1,000.

Q In circumstances like this it is important to maintain the morale of those employees that stay. In Mountain View, for instance, around half the workforce were laid off, weren't they?

A You're right. And we are doing everything we can to encourage members of the company. It has to be borne in mind, though, that in 1994 KRI had a staff of 688, and sales of $265 million. Between 1994 and 1997 employee numbers grew to 1, 100 on sales of $289 million. It is difficult to justify that growth in human resources.

Q The acquisition of KRI was sold to the City [the London financial markets] as a synergy of MAID's software expertise--its InfoSort technology--and KRI's content warehouse. Is that accurate?

A Is That was a simplistic way of putting it--the City wouldn't understand the complexity of the information business. IT readers clearly do, so I'll clarify: The professional environments of DIALOG and DataStar suit and meet the needs of the professional searchers. They do not require InfoSort. But InfoSort does have considerable value to the end user because it organizes material from diverse databases into a common format.

A What will the acquisition mean for users?

A Users can expect the same level of quality customer service and product offering that they have grown to expect from KRI over the years. The DIALOG and DataStar classic services will remain, and be enhanced, and there will be new end-user products introduced over time. So we hope to tap into the growth area of the market, while at the same time maintaining our core information professional customer base.

Q So there is a definite commitment to keep both the DIALOG and DataStar proprietary services?

A Yes. They may not be located in the same place. But users will still be able to use the services they know and love.

Q How will DIALOG, DataStar, and MAID be integrated?

A Our salespeople will be selling two product groups. The first is the interactive products, consisting of Profound and Dialog Select. The second is intranets and groupware.

Q Where do DIALOG and Data-Star fit in here?

A In order to use these services you really need to be a qualified information professional. These people are trained on the services in the library schools, so we don't feel we need to sell to them. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

A Dialog with Dan Wagner: The Dialog Corp.'s Chief Addresses the Future
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.