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Sirsi and Dynix Merge

:: Who knows what the implications are with this merger, but it's happened. There is already a new, scary looking website. Details from an e-mail received today, complete with corporate spin:

Today, I have exciting news to share with you and others in the Sirsi family prior to announcing it to the world: Sirsi and Dynix, two long-time library technology leaders, are merging to create a single company focused on developing and delivering information technology for libraries and consortia. Yesterday, we signed an agreement to merge our worldwide operations. But this is just the first step. Next comes the integration of the two companies - a process already begun and the major portion of which should be completed before the end of 2005. I'll mention more about the integration process below.

The new SirsiDynix, created through a "merger of equals," brings together two solid companies with 20+-year track records, impressive customer bases, and rich product and service offerings. The result is a new company positioned more strongly than either company on its own to create and deliver the leading-edge products and dependable services needed by our customers.

No doubt, you're wondering what the SirsiDynix merger means to you and your institution. It means that your technology partner is stronger than ever. With 700+ employees and worldwide operations offering unparalleled R&D resources, the broadest array of products and services for libraries and consortia, and unmatched service and support, we provide our customers with unparalleled resources and expertise for meeting their evermore-demanding needs. And because we're already profitable and financially sound, you can count on us today and down the road.Committed to the products you depend on

We're in an enviable position right now by being able to offer superior products like the Unicorn and Horizon 7.x Library Management Systems - as well as the next-generation Horizon 8.x/Corinthian platform, which SirsiDynix will continue to aggressively develop. With a range of other products that integrate with and complement Unicorn and Horizon 8.x/Corinthian, SirsiDynix offers the strongest suite of library technologies on the market. As part of the integration process, we are taking a look at how we can maximize the value of these technologies.

But several important points are clear now: SirsiDynix will continue to develop and support both the Unicorn and Horizon 8.x/Corinthian platforms. You will not be forced to migrate from one platform to another, and you can continue with the plans you already have in place for moving to another SirsiDynix system or remaining on your current system. It's all up to you.

Unicorn users can depend on SirsiDynix to continue Unicorn development, just as planned prior to the merger. Thousands of libraries, tens of thousands of library staff, and tens of millions of library users around the world have depended on the Unicorn system - some for as long as 20 years. SirsiDynix will continue to invest the R&D in Unicorn required to maintain its reputation as the industry's most comprehensive and evolutionary integrated library system. We are now completing beta testing of the latest version of this product, Unicorn GL3.0, in advance of its general release in August 2005. Development of the next release, Unicorn GL3.1, is already underway.

Users of the DRA Classic and MultiLIS systems will also continue to be supported, as prior to the merger. If you are with one of these sites, we will help you chart out a SirsiDynix upgrade path that works best for you - in terms of both technology and timing.

We will also continue to support the OPAC/user interface products that Unicorn, DRA Classic, and MultiLIS customers are currently using: iBistro, iLink, WebCat, and Web2. As you may know, prior to the merger both Sirsi and Dynix had been developing advanced, industry-standard user interface/portal solutions: the Horizon Information Portal and the Sirsi Enterprise Portal Solution. Development efforts in this critical area will continue, with the stated goal of developing a single standards-based product that will work with both the Unicorn and Horizon 8.x/Corinthian platforms. But, as with Unicorn, you can make your own decisions about when and how to move to a new user interface/portal solution.

Another thing that won't change is our commitment to working with our users' groups, just as we did prior to the merger. We value these independent organizations and look forward to their leadership as they and SirsiDynix strive to make our products and services the best they can be.

The bottom line is that SirsiDynix customers now have more technology choices than ever before. And you can make these choices on your timetable, with the assurance that we will work with you to meet the needs of your library or consortium.

The best of both worlds

I've already alluded to the fact that one of the major benefits of the SirsiDynix merger is the unparalleled technical capabilities that now come together in a single organization. The merged company will have the expertise and resources to do more research and development than either company could have done separately. So our adoption of a dual-platform strategy (Unicorn and Horizon 8.x/Corinthian) is feasible and reasonable given the capacity we will have going forward to serve our customers' evermore demanding and diverse needs.

An important point to remember is that there is a "bigger picture" to what SirsiDynix offers its customers today. While we may be developing two distinct server platforms going forward, there are great opportunities for developing complementary, platform-independent solutions that will not only make for greater efficiencies within the SirsiDynix product development organization but provide customers with a broader range of options than ever before available. Some of these product development opportunities include:

· Creating a single suite of user interface/portal solutions based on today's industry standard technologies, including uPortal and JetSpeed

· Making the company's content offerings, including Rooms content, available for use with all current user interface/portal solutions

· Offering SirsiDynix customers a single suite of add-on products - both SirsiDynix and third-party products - that can be used with either ILS platform; for example, the URSA interlibrary loan solution, the SmartSource bibliographic/authority record service, and third-party solutions for PC/print management, self-service, e-commerce, and more

Moving forward…

So our name is changing. We're expanding our worldwide presence. We'll have more products and services than ever. But there are some things that won't change. The day-to-day contacts you and your staff have for the sales and service organizations will remain unchanged in the new SirsiDynix. You should experience no operational disruptions whatsoever.

The new SirsiDynix management team is beginning to take shape. Be sure to watch for a related announcement within the next few weeks. At this point, I am indeed pleased to tell you that I will be CEO of the new company. It's been rewarding to work with the library community for nearly five years now, and I look forward to working with even more libraries, consortia, and the professionals who lead and staff them.

Regarding the overall integration of Sirsi and Dynix into a single company, I'm very encouraged by the progress we've made thus far. Staffed by management representatives from both companies, we've formed six integration teams to make plans for our merged company. Addressing the Product and Technology, Operations, Marketing/Communications, Sales/International/Third-Party, Finance, and Human Resources functional areas, these teams have been working for weeks to establish best practices, optimal organizational schemes, and effective strategies for the future of SirsiDynix.

As we progress with the integration, we will update you regularly via the Web and newsletters. Of course, SirsiDynix account managers are always available to answer clients more specific questions. Of course, you may also have important questions that we've not provided answers for. To help in asking and answering these questions, SirsiDynix has set up an anonymous Web form, accessible on the Sirsi Client Care Web site at www.sirsi.com, where customers can submit questions. Answers to those questions will be provided in an online list of customer FAQs, which will be updated as the SirsiDynix integration proceeds.

We're committed to keeping you informed and involved throughout the integration of the two companies. Please never hesitate to contact us if you have questions or concerns.

Better. Together.

In short, two industry leaders are now together. And we're better and stronger for it. Thanks for letting the new SirsiDynix be your technology partner. I'm confident that you will be pleased with what we all can do together.


Patrick Sommers

P.S.: In the coming days and weeks, a member of SirsiDynix management and/or your account manager will be contacting you to answer any specific questions you may have. If you're going to be in Chicago for the ALA Annual Conference, we look forward to the opportunity to talk with you there.

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