2003 Systems Report

2003 Systems Report


CM’s annual in-house fulfillment systems report has found that the 15 suppliers represented in the 2002 and 2003 surveys experienced a slight uptick in total client installations, rising from 2,254 to 2,317, or 2.8 percent. The same supplier group (excluding 5 Fifteen Inc., which was a first-time survey participant in 2002) reported equally small growth last year: 2.4 percent. (One supplier, after a few years’ absence, has been added to the 2003 survey: CSSC, Inc.)

In the past year, total installations for seven of the 15 suppliers increased, three decreased and five held steady.

Among these software vendors, the number of stand-alone PC and stand-alone Macintosh installations rose 1.7 percent, from 902 to 917 – a positive blip, similar in scale to last year’s decline. Stand-alones still account for 40 percent of total reported installations.

Network PC and network Mac installations fell 3.4 percent, from 1,161 to 1,122. This is due, in part, to movement of Sandlot’s PC installations into a system format new to CM’s survey: Windows Client Server. Network PC and network Macintosh installations now represent 48 percent of total installations, compared to 52 percent last year. With 110 installations, Windows client servers have captured 4.8 percent of the market share. (CSSC, Inc. has 10 installations not included in the WCS total.)

After experiencing a slight upturn last year, following many years of declines, mini/mid-range installations dropped again, according to CM’s 2003 survey. Their numbers among the 15 suppliers were down 16.4 percent, from 189 to 158. This is due, in part, to the transfer of some Advantage Computing Systems’ installations to the Windows Client Server category. Now, mini/mid-ranges account for just 6.8 percent of the total reported market.

Mainframe installations were flat this year, still accounting for less than 1 percent of the market.

For system formats included in the 2002 and 2003 surveys, except the mini/mid-range, the largest numbers of records handled for a single title remained the same as last year. The largest number of records for a single title fulfilled on mini/mid-range installations, however, rose from 3 million to 4 million.

Because suppliers know that Internet and electronic features are increasingly important to circulators, 13 out of the 16 systems represented this year, or 81 percent, report that they are now capable of electronically processing Internet orders through the basic system or an add-on module. Another 13 percent are developing such capabilities. In addition, 81 percent report that their systems can handle electronic file transfer and batch processing (another 6 percent are developing this capability), 56 percent provide Internet-based customer service (another 25 percent are developing it), and 75 percent can send renewal and billing notices via the Internet (another 19 percent are developing it).

To bring their products in line with customer requirements, some suppliers have added new features, which CM has incorporated into its survey. Currently, 31 percent of suppliers offer ad management; 88 percent, commissions; 56 percent, royalty management; 81 percent, membership; and 63 percent, telesales.

For system requirements and contact information for survey participants, please see page 35.

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