Ex Libris buys Innovative – consolidation in library software market intensifies

Consolidation continues in the library software marketplace as Ex Libris announces purchase of Innovative.

Not a surprise given the reality that the library marketplace for managing physical materials, even combined with managing growing digital content, is shrinking and jobs/roles are disappearing and morphing – including in academia. With budgets also tightening with more senior executives and management wondering why such systems are needed as library physical requirements are shrinking (in their minds) the library marketplace continues to be more challenging for software providers to be able to make money and stay in business.

I have been following and analyzing these kind of agreements and mergers for many years. This official announcement is big picture and very sparse in what it all means. My assessment is that they will probably indicate Innovative teams and location will remain at this point. But I bet they will shrink quickly after the first year, if not totally disappear. I believe in 3 to 5 years maximum the Innovative ‘brand’ will be gone as the next versions of the software are melded into the overall Ex Libris architecture. This is not necessarily a bad thing for customers from a functionality standpoint depending upon how that all is implemented. Pricing is a whole other issue.

I agree that this looks more and more like a monopolistic environment — OCLC offerings as one of the few other large system competitors available notwithstanding. Let’s see what happens and how they spin this at ALA Midwinter and other major meetings.

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