Posted by Lori Ayre on August 30, 2010

Two online tidbits led me to check in with the folks at SirsiDynix about what they are telling their customers about the viability of moving to an open source ILS. Officially, SirsiDynix states that "we believe that competition is good...Two online tidbits led me to check in with the folks at SirsiDynix about what they are telling their customers about the viability of moving to an open source ILS.  Officially, SirsiDynix states that "we believe that competition is good. It challenges all vendors who are invested in the success of libraries to continuously improve our products and services, and fuels innovation that make libraries better for users around the world. Open source solutions, either independently or commercially developed and maintained, can be the right solution for a library for a number of reasons."

But privately, they are telling people that some unspecified number of SirsiDynix customers "who have left SirsiDynix solutions for an open source solution [ ] have since returned to SirsiDynix."

So the burning question is this...what is that unspecified number?  According to Arcadia Library, their SirsiDynix Field Sales Consultant stated this number was 30% as in "30% of the libraries that left SirsiDynix for open source software ended up with SirsiDynix again." (Source: http://koha4arcadialibrary.blogspot.com/)

In other parts of the world (Washington), Kitsap Sun reporter Chris Henry interviewed SirsiDynix Global Marketing and Communications Manager, Julianne Hancock, who stated that "most of their customers who migrated to open-source software have since returned because they found managing the systems a drain on scarce resources." (Source: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2010/aug/30/kitsap-regional-library-catalog-system-ailing/)

I decided to pursue the matter further.  A PDF of my communications with Julianne is here.

Besides, the one library that Julianne mentions in our email exchange (McMaster University)....do you know of a SirsiDynix customer that tried Koha or Evergreen and then decided to go back to SirsiDynix????  If most, or even just 30% switched back, there should be a whole bunch of you out there!  I mean they have 4,000 clients!  (Source: http://www.sirsidynix.com/mission).