Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Dialogue with Xamcor's Paul Carman on Lexmark-Kofax Deal

The following is a correspondence between Ralph Gammon, the editor of the Document Imaging Report, and Paul Carman, President and CEO of Xamcor, discussing what this deal means to the companies involved, as well as the industry as a whole.
Ralph Gammon of DIR: So, no surprise that an MFP vendor has announced plans to acquire Kofax. What is surprising is that it was Lexmark, instead of Xerox.

Paul Carman of Xamcor: I agree. Of course, it’s no surprise that Lexmark made another software acquisition , as they have been very active in building their software capabilities. However, Kofax does come as a bit of a surprise. With Brainware an earlier acquisition and then ReadSoft closing some months ago, the capture space didn’t seem to be the next logical area of opportunity.

To read the rest, please click through to the Xamcor site.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lexmark Attempting To Corner the Market on Capture

Wow. That really caught me by surprise. About 4:30 today it was announced that Lexmark was acquiring Kofax for $1B net of cash. I was just finishing up my Kofax Transform conference story and about to start writing my piece about how Xerox was going to integrate the Kofax technology into its organization. It really made a compelling story. And the rumor circulating around AIIM last week, was the the Xerox-Kofax deal was going to close any day...Then I heard something about Kofax asking for too much, and the next thing I know Lexmark announced it had made a bid of $11 per share, or about a 47% premium over what the Kofax stock was trading at today. It's also more than 3x Kofax's 2014 reported non-GAAP reported revenue of $297M -so from that perspective it's not a bad deal.

There is a lot to like about this deal from Perceptive's standpoint. It's latest and most aggressive move in an already aggressive ECM software strategy. That said, there is certainly some overlap with the recent ReadSoft acquisition, as well as its previous Brainware acquisition. But, if you are going to transition from a hardware to a software vendor, you might as well go hard.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Xerox make a counter offer, but if $1B was already too rich for their blood. But still, if I was Xerox, I would be looking to find some money somewhere, because they really were planning on investing a lot in this partnership and now Kofax is in danger of being taken off the market by a competitor. Exciting times.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ephesoft's Vision for the Future of IDR

Coming out of AIIM last year I had come up with a vision on the potential future of the document imaging industry. I've repeated the mantra several times since - and it goes like this: "Capture it all and let the technology sort it out."

In fact, I recently completed a piece for Quality Associates' upcoming Insights newsletter detailing what I see as some of the driving forces behind this vision. They include trends like increased multi-channel capture and increasing intelligence in capture driven by emerging technology like natural language processing.

This year I attended the Ephesoft Innovate conference  prior to heading down to San Diego for AIIM 2015. At Innovate, Ephesoft founder and CTO Ike Kavas presented on his vision for the future - which I thought dovetailed nicely with mine. Kavas and his team at Ephesoft have even gone so far as to developing a brand new product - Ephesoft Universe - designed to enable organizations to mine their documents.

Due for release later this year, Universe leverages Big Data tools like Hadoop. According to Kavas, Universe is able to leverage 16 different characteristics to classify a document and recognize a field. Ephesoft is developing machine learning algorithms to consider these characteristics. The bottom line is that this is a lot of data being put through a process that requires a lot of computing power - hence the need for the Big Data tools, especially if a user is throwing a high-volume of documents at it.

The end game for Universe is trying to reduce the time it takes to implement a classification and extraction application from months to minutes. Also, the idea is to enable individual users (not system admins) to set up personalized auto-classification and extraction applications.

Kavas was brave enough to show a demo of Universe, which he expects to be released, in Version 1.0, later this spring. Basically, a user creates their own document classes, feeds it examples, and chooses and labels which fields it wants to extract based on the highlighted fields that Universe was able to recognize. Once the data is extracted, it is fed into an analytics application that is also built into Universe. An example Kavas showed utilized hot/cold zone graphing to show the average price of houses in different states in the country.

Other potential application ideas tossed about included mining medical records for various reasons including enforcing records retention policies, mining expense reports to enable more informed negotiations with vendors, and examining financial documents for at-risk loans or security risks.

There is a lot here, and I'll have more detail in my next premium issue of DIR. Ephesoft's current goal is to find some customers and partners to help it determine what needs to be done next on the road to productizing Universe. But, there is clearly a lot of potential, mainly because it offers to make accessible what has historically been very high-end technology, whose adoption has been slowed somewhat I feel by paralysis by overanalysis.  If Ephesoft can really make Universe a universal tool, I think we'll start to see a slew of new IDR applications developed on top of it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Recent Quarterly Financials Show Signs of Maturing Market

As I mentioned in the latest issue of our premium publication, over the past two weeks, a number of document imaging software vendors released their numbers for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2014. I would have liked to cover some of these numbers in the newsletter, but since all the information is publicly available anyhow, I bumped it for some original content. Anyhow, here are some of the highlights I pulled off of news releases, presentations, and transcripts of analyst calls:

Lemark/Perceptive Software
  • For Q4, Lexmark reported Perceptive Software revenue of $99M, which represented 37% YoY growth. 
  • For FY14, Lexmark reported Perceptive Software revenue of $313M or 31% growth. 
  • That sounds great, until you get to the fine print where it says, "Perceptive Software organic growth of -10% for Q4, excludes acquisitions completed in the past four quarters. Perceptive Software organic growth of -3% for the full year 2014. (ReadSoft and its $100M of annual revenue was the big acquisition).
  • In the analyst conference call, CFO and VP David Reeder said Perceptive revenue was negatively affected by "large deal timing and a shift from perpetual license to subscription sales."
  • Perceptive did, however, manage an operating income of $11M in Q4, up considerably from 2013's $2M income for Q4, and up $3M from Q3. The fourth quarter boosted Perceptive's operating income for the year to $14M - a $16M improvement from the previous year.
  • Commented CEO Paul Rooke, "We also expect continued growth and margin expansion in Perceptive Software as we strengthen our solutions offerings, factor in a full year of the cost and expense reductions taken in the second half of 2014, optimize maintenance pricing, and execute the expected cost synergies with the integration of ReadSoft."
  • Rooke also commented that he felt Perceptive was on target for hitting Lexmark's 2016 goals of $500M in annual revenue and 25% operating margins. "Perceptive Software revenue and operating income continued to make steady progress to our 2016 revenue and operating margin targets. We are quite pleased with the trajectory of the business as revenue and operating margin grew year-over-year and sequentially."
  • As pre-reported, Kofax showed growth in both its software license sales and total revenue for its FY15 Q2.
  • However, the net total revenue growth was only $4M, the bulk of which could theoretically be attributed last fall's acquisition of SoftPro last fall, which had reported $13M of revenue for 2013. So, like Perceptive, Kofax really didn't see much organic growth in the quarter.
  • Unlike Lexmark, Kofax can't blame the slowed growth on a switch to more subscription sales. When asked about recurring revenue during the analyst conference call, Bish estimated that 90% of Kofax's was coming from maintenance and only 10%, from what he called "term" licenses, which I assume means subscriptions, with most of the term licenses coming from Kapow, which primarily followed a subscription model when Kofax acquired it.
  • Bish also said that going forward, Kofax will no longer differentiate between "core capture" sales and sales from "mobile and new or acquired products." In the call with analysts, he explained, "Software license revenue from core capture products declined year-over-year in both the second quarter and six months ended Dec. 31, 2014, but at a lower rate in the second quarter than the first quarter. These declines were primarily driven by customers increasingly choosing to purchase Kofax TotalAgility and solutions built on that platform as well as our mobile capture, Web capture, and electronic content transformation products rather than our legacy Kofax Capture and Kofax Transformation Modules products.

    "The capture market is not in a state of decline nor is Kofax losing market share. Rather, we are undergoing a rather dramatic shift in buying preferences from our legacy capture software products to our mobile and new or acquired products.

    "As a result of the complexity of these issues discussed above and the challenges associated with accurately calculating Kofax's multi-channel capture revenues, we will no longer report core capture revenues or attempt to report multi-channel capture revenues. Instead, we will only report total software license revenue.
  • Kofax's profitability was way up compared to its FY15 Q1 with its operating margins coming in at 17.7% for Q2, compared to just 6.3% in Q1.
  • Subsequent to its earnings release, Kofax announced that its shareholders voted in favor of a plan to delist the company's shares from the LSE, so they would be listed exclusively on the Nasdaq. Plans to carry out that motion are underway.
  • The deslisting was one of four matters voted on by the shareholders, with all being approved except for a call to change the company by-laws to make them more "customary for a Bermudian company with shares only listed on NASDAQ." It sounds like the Kofax board would still like to get that proposal passed.
  • Nuance reported Document Imaging revenue for its FY15 Q1 of $60.1M, a slight increase over its FY14 Q1 revenue of $58.3M, but it's important to note that the previous year's Nuance's revenue did not include Notable Solutions, Inc. which was acquired this summer.
  • Most likely buoyed by NSi sales, had had a very strong FY14 Q4.
  • EMC's reported its 2014 Q4 revenue for its Information Intelligence Group (IIG), which includes Documentum and Captiva, as $174M, which represented an 8% YOY drop. For the year, IIG's revenue was $640M, which represented only a 1% drop.
  • Also, at its recent sales meeting for the group, EMC announced it has changed the name from IIG to the Enterprise Content Division (ECD).
So there you have it. A brief analysis would tell you that there wasn't a lot of organic growth in the past quarter among these market leaders, which is not a good sign. Profitability on the other hand was up. Add these two trends together, and it seems like we now have a fairly mature market.

All quotes from analyst calls were transcripts compiled by Seeking Alpha.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Xerox Signs on As Kofax Reseller

Today Kofax announced that it has signed a global partnership with Xerox. Under the terms of the agreement, "Xerox will sell, market, deploy and support Kofax TotalAgility," with support from Kofax sales and services staff. Kofax TA represents its integrated line of products including capture, BPM, analytics, e-signature and data integration technologies.

Couple interesting points about this:
  • The Xerox executive quoted in the press release talks about Kofax TA being part of Xerox' next-generation MPS offering. The concept of MFP/printer vendors moving more deeply into ECM was factored into our recent 2015 DIR prediction that there will be a major ECM/Capture acquisition by any MFP vendor in 2015.
  • Somewhat along those lines, Hyland Software also recently announced a new global partnership with Xerox. Can we connect some dots here?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

TIS Meets 4th Quarter Expectations

A day after Kofax reported a rebound for its fiscal '15 Q2, capture competitor Top Image Systems (TIS) has reported that it met its guidance for the fourth quarter - at least in terms of local currencies. Like Kofax, TIS does quite a bit of business outside the U.S. but reports its financials in U.S. Dollars, as its stock is traded on the Nasdaq. According to the TIS press release, "The Company anticipates the significant devaluation of the Euro, as well as of the British Pound and leading Asia Pacific and Latin American currencies, to impact its reporting in U.S. dollars."

For those of you keeping score, when TIS announced its Q3 results, which were impacted by its recent acquisition of eGistics, it projected its Q4 "revenues will range between $10.5 million and $11.5 million and expenses will range between $9.3 million to $9.7 million."

TIS also announced today that it expects to be profitable in all four quarters of 2015.

TIS plans to announce full, audited Q4 and year-end results in early March.

Kofax Q2 Numbers Look Strong

Kofax appears to have had a fairly strong second fiscal quarter for 2015 (ended Dec. 31), based on the selected preliminary results it reported yesterday. Kofax pre-reported non-GAAP software license revenue of $34M-$35M, total revenue of $80-82 and an adjusted EBITDA of $13.7 to $14.7M.  This represents about a 6% growth in software license revenue over the numbers Kofax reported for its fiscal Q2 2014, and about a 5% growth in total revenue. EBITDA, which had been down severely in Kofax's Q1, increased YOY by 7-8%, to $13.7M-$14.7M, which represented about a 3x sequential quarter increase.

Kofax CEO Reynolds Bish said the numbers could have been better if not for worldwide currency exchange decline vs. the U.S. Dollar. In the press release he said, "Given the large amount of our software license revenue and total revenues arising in Euros, British Pounds, Swiss Francs and other currencies that have weakened against the U.S. dollar, this effect was substantial. On a constant currency basis - using exchange rate levels in the prior year period - software license revenue would have been approximately $1.1 million and total revenues $2.7 million higher."

In the press release, Bish noted that sales of "new of acquired products" showed strong growth and that core capture software sales also improved - as we noted previously, Kofax reported a number of significant capture software deals in November and December. Bish noted that the number of six-figure software deals, an area of focus for the company, also continued to increase.

Full results are due out Jan. 29.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

EPM Sells Service Business to Kodak Alaris

Just about a year after acquiring Imaging 411 in order to launch its own service business Eastman Park Micrographics (EPM) is selling its service business to Kodak Alaris, its biggest competitor. From what I heard, EPM was not entirely happy with the way its court case against Kodak Alaris was going. EPM had sought to bar Kodak Alaris Document Imaging from marketing its service to EPM ImageLink micrographics customers - but after originally receiving a court order that supported this position, that order was reversed.

Previous to EPM's acquisition of Long Island-based imaging service specialist Imaging 411 in December 2013, Kodak Alaris had been the official service provider for ImageLink equipment through a contract with EPM. After EPM acquired Imaging 411, it took over the ImageLink service contracts and attempted to bar Kodak Alaris from competing for them. From what we understand, this strategy was not entirely working out, which prompted EPM to sell its service business to Kodak Alaris.

EPM had previously signed on Kodak Alaris to provide support for its hardware customers in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. EPM Service and Kodak Alaris were competing in North America.

With the acquisition, Kodak Alaris also picks up a competitor for scanner service. Imaging 411, and then EPM, employed several ex-Kodak DI technicians and had aggressively pursued document scanner service contracts.

EPM will now focus on hardware manufacturing, with Crowley doing the sales and marketing, as well as media distribution.