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Bibliotheca Swallows 3M Library Systems Whole: Do They Know What They've Got?
Posted by Lori Ayre on October 6, 2015
The recent acquisition of 3M Library Systems by Bibliotheca could be great or it could be awful. If it goes like their acquisition of ITG, it would be awful. Why? Because in the ITG acquisition, they kept the customers and a couple products and pretty much beheaded the company and made it disappear. There's a couple employees on the Bibliotheca staff but that's about it. Now, I'm not saying that that was a bad thing when it comes to the ITG acquisition. Bibliotheca acquired a very large number of US customers with that acquisition and that's really what they wanted and that was also where the value of ITG was.
However, with the 3M acquisition, they need to do a whole lot more than acquire customers in order for this to turn out well. Bibliotheca needs to recognize the areas that 3M has superior products and more importantly superior processes in place - the 3M attention to detail, their human factors team, quality control, staff development, project management, and of course 3M support - these are the things that they need to ingest and make part of the new Bibliotheca brand. If they don't, this is going to be a mess.
So, I'm looking for announcements about who will lead key areas of the newly merged company for signs about how this is going to go. If the leadership team starts looking more like 3M, in terms of personnel, I think this is a good thing. Yes, the 3M customer base is huge. Yes, 3M has great products. But what 3M has that Bibliotheca really needs is an infrastructure that works with employees, supports and develops them and let's them thrive. The 3M corporate culture has produced the high quality products that Bibliotheca just acquired. The 3M corporate culture built up that large customer base. The Harvard Review did a nice article on this. See The Innovative Mindset in Action: 3M Corporation.
I hope Bibliotheca focuses on the most valuable component of their latest acquisition, the 3M corporate culture and innovative mindset not just the output of that corporate culture.