Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Parlons d'EPS

Continuing this belated superconference blogging, it is high time I talk about EPS, Sirsidynix's Entreprise Portal Solution. It was definitely the most talked about product, with many many sessions, by sales staff, libraries and software development alike. It was also the product that conjured the most passion, both on the "excited to have all these features" side and the "this is not what I want" side.
Je m'explique:
Great dissatisfaction was expressed from many academic (and other) sites that this portal solution was clearly the next generationopac and came with so much "other duties assigned" add-on features. Many customer, academics in particular, complained about the out of the box, cookie cutter, seemingly public library focus. On the other hand, EPS customers seemed very pleased with their experience implementing the product, excited about the 2.2 version that should deliver both most fixes to theoriginal implementation bugs AND add the features that were not delivered in the 1st version. SD SD (sirsidynix software development ;) staff sounded very roud of the product and its great improvements for 2.2. (note some of these may not impress you but were long time wished of a number of sirsi customers...)
RSS feeds, CGI forms, spellcheck, the use of Central Search for federated searching and of Fast Search for faceted searching were at the top of the bragging lists. Especially exciting to me was the ability to "assume the quotes" to facilitate keyword search (eliminate the use of Boolean in quick search.) and the ability for users to a-view their accounts and renew their materials in the same page (!) and b-to modify their own holds pick up branch. I will post more about this product as we will implement at MPOW as soon as 2.2 has been in the real world for a little while. (hey, we had webcat 1st, we were the 1st unix install of iBistro, I'd like to give someone else a chance at pioneering this time...)

THIS JUST IN (unrelated to EPS) :
from a SD press release: "...Peter Gethin, SirsiDynix managing director for Europe, Middle East & Africa, has decided to retire..." I guess Peter wouldn't mind me referring to him as part of the old guard (the good old guard). Hoping everyone will know he was not only famous for the traditional joke and the Gethin report at superconference, he was a force, a smart, original, free thinker. I hope to hear from him again.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

finally back...

Sirsidynix Superconference blogging, take II.

There has been a lot of talk about the latest announcement from Sirsidynix. I promise I will update and comment a little later, after getting caught up on the session blogging . Note the certain irony of any the "coming in GL3.2" announcements, keep in mind they all are very likely to still materialize, but that these days, I wouldn't swear to anything.

Superconference, day 1:

Opening night, Steven Abram boldly "flies without slides" which is pretty damn brave in a big dark conference room full of people whispering about the surprise announcement of SD's CEO leaving the company. Stephen continues to rightfully preach "Go where your users are!" and to point us all in the right direction to discover where that is. He saved a few minutes in the end to mention Pat Sommers and how much good he did at Sirsi. How much he would be missed and to point out that "He never told me not to say something." It was a heartfelt moment, touching.

The whole conference felt a little awkward to me, everyone was very positive, looking forward etc. etc. but you could tell most SD personnel was somewhat tired and tense. I got offended when some customer would ask SD staff it WE should be nervous about the change of ownership. It is obviously so much for them to deal with, and all the while they were all very focused on us as customers and how were doing and what we needed. I have known some of the Sirsi staff for many many years, they are a smart, classy, dedicated bunch.

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