Auto-Graphics, Inc. and the Library-Automation Industry-the New Technology Frontier Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

The Auto-Graphics, Inc. ("A-G") case is an example of a small business that has endured over three generations through adaptation to industry and marketplace trends, though still faces challenges as technology continues inexorably to change the business environment. A-G competed in the public, academic, and associations (PAC) section of the library-automation business. It was established in 1950 in Alhambra, CA by Ira C. Cope and in 2011 was led by his grandson, Paul Cope. The case opens with Paul Cope's delight and optimism about the future chances of the library-automation business. His optimism was tempered by the fact that the library marketplace was really mature and libraries in both Canada and the U.S. were confronted with shrinking budgets. Although Paul Cope was hopeful concerning the future possibilities of the library-automation industry, A-G had to find a way to boost sales in its North American business in the face of decreasing library budgets. The case describes the library-automation industry, the market segments served, the products provided by the corporations in the business, the trends affecting the business, as well as the challenges confronted by incumbents in the business. It then describes competition in the PAC segment, which was intense throughout the 2000s.

Competing technologies included SaaS (Software as a Service) and open systems applications. Marketplaces were also changing. Libraries needed to make radical changes to keep up with changes in technologies including eBooks, eJournals and other on-line resources and to redefine their relevancy by using their community of users. The instance subsequently describes A-G itself- it innovates, its product line, and its own financial statements over the past five years. The case ends with the challenges facing Paul Cope and A-G. The case will challenge students to incorporate industry and competitive dynamics with marketplace demands and technological trends and formulate a set of tactical alternatives that are worthy commensurate with its financial resources to help A-G continue to grow later on.


cThis is just an excerpt. This case is about STRATEGY & EXECUTION

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