Innovative Acquires VTLS
On May 30, 2014 Innovative acquired VTLS, a library automation solutions provider with customers in 44 countries. The combined companies will be led by Innovative CEO Kim Massana.
VTLS’s offerings include well-known and respected library automation products including Virtua, VITAL, Chamo, and FasTrac. The acquisition by Innovative brings together its corporate resources with the special consulting and support expertise that VTLS has established internationally. As part of the transition, VTLS flagship products will be re-branded, incorporating the company name into the product name including VTLS-Virtua, VTLS-VITAL, and VTLS-Chamo Discovery.
The combined company will offer even greater resources to Innovative customers in solving the challenges of library automation, deepening customer support and product development capabilities worldwide.
Innovative now supports an installed base of over 2,400 library systems, totaling 9,500 libraries, in 66 countries. Corporate headquarters will continue to be located in Emeryville, CA, with other major offices in Blacksburg, VA; Syracuse, NY; Dublin, Ireland; Barcelona, Spain; Kuala Lumpur (Selangor), Malaysia; Noida, India; Madrid, Spain; and Taipei City, Taiwan. Innovative now employs more than 500 staff members, including 150 librarians.
A press release announcing the acquisition was issued on June 2, 2014.
Things You Might Want to Know
While we can’t answer all the questions you might have, we’re providing some additional information below.
Why the acquisition?
VTLS was seeking a corporate partner willing to invest in its commitment to creating scalable solutions to library technology challenges. Innovative was appealing because of its strategic commitment to growth and better serving the global library community.
What are the benefits of the acquisition for VTLS customers?
The acquisition will result in enhanced support for VTLS’s established international customer base and diverse product suite.
VTLS customers will also benefit long-term from the pooling of knowledge and expertise of the combined product management and development groups.
What are the benefits of the acquisition for Innovative customers?
Innovative customers will likewise benefit from the pooling of knowledge and expertise.
Bringing the two companies together will allow Innovative to provide a new level of product development and support worldwide that will allow libraries to better serve their users.
What role will current VTLS management have in the new company?
Dr. Vinod Chachra, Founder and former VTLS President and CEO, has accepted a six-month interim role with Innovative as Vice President of Global Expansion. Reporting to Innovative CEO Kim Massana during this time, he will play a key role in ensuring a smooth transition of customers, technology and products globally, after which, he will be leaving Innovative to pursue other interests.
Other members of the VTLS sales and development teams will join the Innovative management group. VTLS’s current offices in Blacksburg, Virginia, Barcelona, Spain, and Selangor, Malaysia will be retained and become Innovative centers for operations, along with Syracuse, New York, Dublin, Ireland, and Noida, India. Emeryville, California will remain the company’s corporate headquarters.
Will customers on the VTLS platform be required to migrate to Innovative products?
No, customers can choose to remain on the VTLS platform. All VTLS products will continue to supported, including Virtua, VITAL, and Chamo.
Who will be providing support to libraries using VTLS products?
Innovative will continue to support to customers on the various VTLS products. Support phone numbers will remain the same for customers using VTLS products for the time being and we’ll keep you informed if and when changes to support practices occur.
Will Innovative continue to sell VTLS products?
Yes, Innovative will continue to sell and support VTLS products.
Will the VTLS name continue?
The combined companies will operate as one “Innovative” company. However, the VTLS name will continue to signify the unique position of the product portfolio. Key product will be rebranded as VTLS-Virtua, VTLS-VITAL, etc..
Will there be a next release of Virtua and other VTLS products?
We plan to deliver a new release of Virtua that incorporates enhancements driven by contractual development and customer feedback related to key areas of functionality. We are currently evaluating the VTLS-Virtua product roadmap and will announce a target release date with preliminary enhancements list after we have a better understanding of the software and outstanding commitments.
Will VITAL continue to be supported?
VTLS-VITAL will continue to be supported for the foreseeable future. Innovative views Digital Asset Management as an important area of library operations. As with Virtua, we are still learning about the VITAL product, and we will announce more specific plans once we have a better understanding.
Will there be a migration path for customers on the VTLS ILS? What will happen to the “Open Skies” initiative and the upcoming release of web circulation for Virtua?
Yes. Innovative and VTLS have a shared vision of a cloud-based computing future and all customers will have a smooth path to a next-generation unified platform.
New products and apps in the pipeline will focus on mobile and web for Sierra, Polaris, and VTLS product lines. Along with new features and functionality, key features from Sierra, the Polaris ILS, and Virtua will merge as a cloud-based unified platform is developed over next few years.
We will be providing web-based circulation to our Sierra and Polaris customers later this year and we’d be pleased to provide similar functionality to VTLS-Virtua users. We will announce our plans once we’ve fully evaluated all of the product roadmap plans.
VTLS is currently performing consulting services for my library. Will these services continue?
Yes. Innovative intends to continue any currently active consulting projects for all our customers, regardless of which company originated the consulting agreement, and we will be reaching out to individual customers regarding those projects in the coming weeks. Beyond currently active projects, we are aware of several outstanding proposals for custom development work and consulting services, and we hope to be able to fulfill those as well. We are taking some time in the coming weeks to evaluate the capacity of the combined company to provide custom development and consulting services for our libraries over the next 12 months to ensure that our commitments to any custom development projects can be honored. We look forward to following up with specific customers regarding those proposed projects.
I am a VTLS library. Who will I be working with going forward?
For most of the VTLS libraries, you won’t see a difference over the next few months. We’re working hard to keep the customer service and sales organization operating smoothly. We’ll proactively keep you informed if there are any changes as we move forward.
How does this move impact the earlier Polaris acquisition?
Our commitment to the Polaris ILS customers remains unchanged. We’re currently working on a consolidated product roadmap that should be available in 60-90 days.
How can I keep informed of the progress the company is making during the transition?
We’ll be updating our customers in several ways. Over the short term, we’ll be updating this web page as we respond to questions and begin the process of integrating the two companies. In addition, Kim Massana will be providing updates in his blog CEO INN-Sights. All Innovative customers (including the new VTLS customers) will receive Innovative’s monthly newsletter, INN-Brief. If you would like to make sure you are on our email list, email us at email@example.com and we’ll be happy to add you.