Friday, December 09, 2005

Xmas thought

Holiday Musings
For the past couple years Captiva has sent out this animated Christmas card depicting Reynolds Claus alleviating the sufferings of poor Bob Cratchit by delivering forms processing software to help him catch up on his paperwork and make it home in time for Xmas. We are eagerly awaiting this year’s rendition. Based on the timing of the EMC acquisition, is there a chance it will feature Tucci-Claus delivering a bag of $ 275 million in cash to Reynolds and all the other shareholders that have apparently been good this year?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Captiva EMC Proxy

Here's an interesting link to Captiva's proxy discussing EMC's intent to aquire Captiva. It seems Captiva had been actively looking to sell the company since early 2004, but at that time could only get a $14 per share offer.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Open Source

Aside from Web services - the other big IT buzzword floating around the document imaging industry seems to be Open Source. Here's a great article on the Open Source - Open Office movement.

So, what does all this mean. Potentially it means the death of the desktop OS as we know it. Imagine an Open Sourced browser connected to open source applicaitons through a Web services environment...

RG

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Web services

So, I've had quite a few conversations lately about Web serivces and what they are going to mean to the document imaging industry. Web services seem to be the next generation of this whole ASP thing that started a few years back. I think ASP - as it was defined then, may have been a miserable failure, but as that market has reinvented itself as SOA - it seems to be gaining some success. This article discussed the tremndous success Salesforce.com has made at the expense of traditional software developer Siebel. (plus, you have to sensationalistic headlines stolen from psychadelic rock songs.)

The major difference between ASP and SOA seems to be that because SOA is bases on standards, the rented software can be more easily deployed. And if you go down to Rent-Way to pick up a stereo, you don't want to have to hire a technician to hook it up. It also enables people to rent best-of-breed components and piece together their own applications. Here's a great white paper written by industry consultant Bud Porter-Roth that is easy to read, but gives some pretty comprehensive background on SOA.

We'd probably be remiss is we didn't mention that Porter-Roth was contracted by Westbrook Technologies, which has been working on a brand new applicaiton for the past year and half - totally based on SOA. CEO Paul Lord probably sees the opportunity for someone like Westbrook to emerge as the Salesforce.com of the ECM industry. In fact, Digitech's HK Bain made this comparison when discussing the potential of this company's hosted document repository model.

Is Web services another case of smoke and mirrors, like ASP turned out to be. It doesn't seem to be as there seems to be a lot more support around them - mainly becuase of the standards being developed by groups like OASIS. Check it out for yourselves. SOA may be a bit technology daunting at first, but it's ulitimate goal is to make software easier to use and deploy - which should make software deployments less technically daunting and increase the market size.

RG

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Microsoft Desktop Search

Here's an interesting article discussing Microsoft's plans to enter the enterprise desktop search market. It seems Micrsofot is really embracing this whole ECM concept. There is not mention of OCR and document images in this article, but I'm sure that is addressed - if even through the Office OCR/ScanSoft stuff. Basically, this is a direct response to Google's desktop serach success, which Dean Tang of ABBYY has called the "killer app for OCR." However, while Google charges for enteprise search, Microsoft is offering it for free. How weill it will work and how practical it is remain to be seen. Also, while this may be a direct attack on Google, the soon-to-be merged Vertiy/Autonomy entity may get caught in the crossfire!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Microsoft Web services

This is a "memo" that was reportedly leaked from Micrsoft to the press. Of course, it reads more like a press release. Do you have any thoughts on this. Like, what exactly is Microsoft doing in terms of Web services. I found this memo and its direction very unclear and full of buzzwords.

On another point, Microsoft seems to be announcing recent partnerships with an inordinate number of ECM companies. Is all that related to the info in this memo? Don't know but I've seen stuff from Open Text, Interwoven, and some others lately talking about how they are getting closer to Microsoft. A lot of this seems based on SharePoint 12, which actually seems like a pretty decent ECM-lite system in its own right. So, what is Microsoft going to do for all these partners?
Please post, I'm looking for some insights. If you happen to have experience with Eastman Software, feel free to post as well, as some historical Microsoft ECM perspective would be helpful as well.

Thanks.

RG

Monday, November 07, 2005

Database Wars

In case you're tracking these things for ECM purposes - and if you following the ECM market, you probably should be, here's a story on Microsoft's upcoming new version of SQL, along with some commentary on database market share.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Digital Paper

Some more good stuff on one of our favorite technologies. I saw some of this digital paper in its early states at Xerox in Rochester a couple years ago. This is the medium for digital books that I want.

RG

Konica Minolta

This kind of sounds similar to what is happening at Kodak... Konica Minolta seens to be doing fairly well everywhere but being sunk by its film business.

Automy Verity

Apparently, Autonomy is buying Verity

Tucci in Forbes

From Joe Tucci's recent interview on Forbes.comPosted in the "Infoimaging" section no less. Perhaps Document Imaging Report is too narrow of a name. Seriously, does InfoImaging Report turn you on? I kind of like it.
Hmmm.

Anyways, here's Tucci's quote on Captiva from the Forbes story. (preceded by the question.)

FDC: Speaking of which, why did you decide to pay $375 million for Captiva?

JT: Captiva is clearly a big worldwide leader in image and image-capture management. In round numbers, Captiva brings in about $100 million in revenue. But still no company has a 20% share of this market. It's very fragmented. So we're adding beef to our market share. We'll capture the images, and then we'll make sure all these images are properly archived. This is critical to us.

First off we love the way the question says $375 million. I mean what's an extra $100 million (we assume this was a typo, as the announced price of the deal was $275 million) when you are talking to EMC. Heck, three years ago, they could have bought InputAccel for like $10 million probably, but they really didn't seem to bat an eyelash when we asked about that. These guys netted over $300 million in income last quarter.

We also like the 20% market share part. Where's that coming from? Did they pick it up from DIR, from Harvey Spencer Assocaites perhaps? Just cuious as to what Mr. Tucci is reading these days.

RG

Thursday, November 03, 2005

ECM Mergers

So, we've all heard the FileNET/Oracle rumor. Reason I don't like it was because FileNET just announced some sort of integration to SharePoint. How about Oracle/EMC? Now, that's something that might make sense. It would definitely set up well as an IBM competitor and then that would leave only Microsoft to gets its ECM act together and we'd have our three major database competitors all moved over into the ECM space.

Thoughts?

RG

Thursday, October 27, 2005

More on Yahoo! book scanning

Here's an interesting report on the Internet Archive-hosted book scanning party held this week in San Francisco. Apparently, Microsoft has gotten involved -- anything to counteract Google. Also, if you just want to cut to the chase, here's an excerpt into how the book scanning is apparently being handled,

"While Google has released few details of its scanning project (the search company has nondisclosure agreements with its library partners), the Internet Archive had a display of its technology at the Tuesday night event.

The Internet Archive built a specialized scanning machine and written open-source software called Scribe for the specific purpose of digitizing books. The "machine" is an assembly of a standard PC with the Scribe software installed, two Cannon EOS cameras, a pedal-operated glass and metal stand to hold and secure books at an angle, along with a table and chair. The machine looks much like a photo or voting booth, with black cloth covering a box frame and shielding the books and computer gear from ambient light.

The chair seats one person, who operates the computer program and turns book pages by hand. During the scanning process, the book sits at a 90-degree angle under glass, which protects it from the camera light and causes the least amount of damage to its pages, according to the Internet Archive. The operator pushes a pedal under the table to release the book from under the glass, and turns the page before it's ready to take another picture.

Once a picture is taken, both pages of the book appear on a computer screen in their original form. The Scribe software then finds the center of the page and makes adjustments of the picture's angle or ensures that it's cropped properly. It will also clean up any poor coloring and make it uniform.

The operator enters some metadata about the book--its author, title and publication date. And once the book is scanned, it's then saved to the system and catalogued. Scribe takes the metadata from the book and matches it with data from existing card catalogs in order to prevent duplication. The work is then added to the digital record.

It takes roughly one hour to scan two 300-page books. And it costs an estimated 10 cents a page, split among data storage, labor and equipment and administration fees, according to Brewster Kahle, the project's leader. The cost does not take into account libraries' fees for getting the book to the scanners.

Daniel Greenstein of the University of California's archive project said that his group has donated $500,000 to assess the ultimate costs of scanning from the libraries' perspective.

The Internet Archive currently has 10 scanning machines, but it is ramping up to build 10 more in the next year."

I guess our quesiton is, with all the cool book scanning technology out there that we saw at AIIM, why? I guess we'll need to call Brewster Kahle to find out.

RG

Friday, October 21, 2005

New Yorker project

If you're interested in magazine scanning, you might want to give this a listen. It's an NPR interview (5 minutes) with the project leader for the New Yorker's DjVu 8 DVD set.

RG

Other imaging stocks

Oh yeah,related to the EMC deal, I love this post on Captiva's Yahoo! message board. This sector is heating up. I just talked to a financial analyst who was all bummed because now that Captiva is off the market he needs to find someone else to cover. The problem with ScanSoft, of course, which is now known as Nuance, is that the majority of its revenue is from voice recognition. So, unless that poster is talking about the company spinning and selling off it's imaging business... to raise money for the speech business, guess it could happen, but wouldn't cause a huge jump in stock I don't think.

Anyhow, also got a couple odd press releases - maybe just the timing one was. One is that eCopy will be showing at Documentum's Momentum event. Remember that article I wrote about the ideal capture company commanding both ad hoc and batch product lines - could EMC buy eCopy.

Also, Datacap just announced it was integrating with the latest version of AIX - the old OTG document imaging application. Announced it today of all days. What's up?

Finally, looks like imaging-related stocks like FileNET,Dicom, Plasmon, and even Stellent and Xerox a little are up today. ACS is way up too but for different reasons.

Reynolds role at EMC

Of course the big news in the industry is that EMC has announced its intention to acquire Captiva for $275 million cash. Internestingly, a day following that announcement, Joe Tucci, EMC's president and CEO was appointed Chairman of EMC's board. I had understood that under SOX, the sort of single-person triumvirate was frowned upon. Not that EMC has traditionally cared what anybody has thought...

But here's the thing - even though Reynolds got cash and would seem to have every reason to step out - wouldn't he be the perfect guy to help turn EMC around. Look what he did at Captiva. We're talking less than a dollar per share just a few years ago - now he sells it for 22.25 per share. Great work. Reynolds made Captiva into a money making machine. Could he do the same thing at EMC? It's obviously a much larger business... Anyway, I'm all in favor of it - after all, we did award him our DIR Man of the Year back at AIIM.

Carry on,

RG

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Kodak Digital Assets

This is an interesting story on the state of things at Eastman Kodak. It discussed the struggles the company has had in making its transition to digital. Of course, the document imaging part of the business, which we cover, was years ahead of the rest of the company in going digital with its scanners, but still has struggled to wean itself of microfilm revenue. And there has been some disastrous software activity as well.

Anyhow, the most intersting part of this story appears at the end when they discuss the four distinct reporting units for Kodak starting next year. That will give us a clear picture of who is making money and who is not at Kodak - setting the table for potential spin-offs and acquistions. Kodak has assembled quite an interesting portfolio of printing businesses to surround its document scanning technology. It will be great to see how the business model pans out. It's my guess that it will be the most successful of Kodak's four business units. Then, what do you do with it?

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Microsoft PDF

It seems like after all the huffing and puffing about Metro, aka .XPS, Microsoft has come out in support of PDF. Speculation that we've seen is that the move is beibng driven by the State of Massachusetts reent announcement to go to non-proprietary document formats in all its state offices by the year 2007. According to eWeek. "As part of this new policy, the state will support the newly ratified Open Document Format for Office Applications, or OpenDocument, and PDFs (portable document format) as the standards for its office documents." That would seem like a bit of rash and quick decision to us - but perhaps Microsoft is scared getting dumped by other state offices in favor of Open Source and PDF.

One thing is for sure, we were a bit surprised when Microsoft announced Metro because we thought they would just leverage ScanSoft's rapidly improving PDF tools to create PDF in Office and really put some crunch on Acrobat. Don't know if they've leveraged ScanSoft, but they've definitely put PDF creation in Office.

RG

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

New Yorker Archives

Here's a link to the New Yorker back issue demo site. Maybe the best use of DjVu technology we've seen so far.


RG

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

World of PDF

Two interesting posts on our Web site over the past two days regarding what has been heretofore known as the World of PDF. First, the PDF/A standard was finalized by ISO.Second, as foreshadowed in a recent edition of DIR, ScanSoft has announced support of XPS - Microsoft's alternative for PDF. From what we understand there are currently about 1,000 developers that have software that can create PDF - Microsoft, of course being the notable exception. We wonder how long it will take XPS to reach that same level - if it ever does?

Also, as far as imaging goes, we've had quite a bit of dicussion recently on highly compressed PDF documents - employing segmentation and JBIG-2 technologies. We're not even sure XPS supports JBIG2 - but nonetheless, it is a Microsoft driven stnadard.


Cheers.

RG

Friday, September 09, 2005

HSA Capture Follow-up

Just returning from Harvey Spencer's capture conference held up in Glen Cove on Long Island. Had a really nice time. There were about 40 attendees - with the likes of Adobe, Kodak, Fujitsu, Ricoh, AnyDoc, Datacap, Captaris, Cranel, PDI (the people that bought VisionShape), ISIS Papyrus, ABBYY, A2iA, IBM, Kofax, Captiva and a few others all attending. The conference covered several topics, including Java programming, check image quality (with a great presention from Frank Jaffe. Probably the most interesting session to me, perhaps because I was moderating it, was a racous panel discussion on when to use a digital copier for scanning and when to use a dedcated scanner. It seems most people in the traditional imaging industry still look down on the abilities of digital copier dealers to effectively sell document imaging technology - not to mention the capabilities of the hardware itself. Well, there were certainly a lot of opinions in the room. About the best conclusion I came to is that digital copiers seem to be posiioned for ad hoc scanning of a few pages at a time and no more - but with the trend toward distributed capture vs. centralized - this ad hoc stuff is making up a growing percentage of the market.

Speaking of ad hoc, Oracle had some fairly interesting collaboration and records management stuff they just came out with. They are positioned it as "content mangement for the masses" and have some starting price at like $60 per seat. Going after SharePoint it appears. And then Adobe's John Hoye was there marketing the companies' scanning toolkit for PDF creation. Just thought those are a couple more signs that this ad hoc market is going to start growing - and may and maybe already is taking business away from traditional imaging vendors. I'll leave it at that as I think I am starting to have a flashback to some of the shouting I heard at yesterday's panel.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Hurricane Can't stop ReadSoft

ReadSoft's U.S. headquarters are in Metairie, Louisiana, just outside of New Orleans, but it turns out the company seems to have a better hurricane plan in place than the government, as it has continued operaitons without missing a beat, accoridng to Bob Fresneda, president of the Swedish forms processing vendors' U.S. operations. Fresneda, who was behind the transition of the company's North American headquarters from San Diego to Metairie a few years back, said the company set up a specific plan for evacuation in case of a hurricane like the one that hit last week. That has included relocating several of its 25 U.S. employees to its Chicago office. ReadSoft also moved it's e-mail server software to Sweden and has maintained its 800 support line without much a break. Fresneda said that all of ReadSoft employees are safe and that the damage to the Meatrie area was not nearly as bad as some of the other stuff in the area.

"From a personal standpoint, this has been a large distraction to say the least," Fresneda told DIR. "But from a business standpoint, thankfully we had a good backup and insurance plan that has allowed us to keep running smoothly. Our U.S. operations have grown 60% in the first half of the year, and our pipeline for the rest of the year looks good."

This week's issue features a story on ReadSoft and the success it's had in the ERP image-enablement market.

HP Kodak

This is an interesting analysis of the rumored HP/Kodak acquisition/merger. It pretty much dismisses it for a variety of reasons-incluidng the fact that Kodak's legacy film business is pretty much akin to Compaq's PC business- and of course, we all know how well that turned out for HP. (On a side note, has there ever been an investigation into that merger? In many ways it reminds me of the current disaster situation in New Orleans. Every seemed to see what was coming - but didn't do anything about it. In fact, in HP's situation, Walter Hewlett I believe seemed to call the whole thing on the nose - but was ignored. Why? If you have an explantion please post!)

Anyhow, the interesting thing about the HP/Kodak story is the discussion - although it is not named as such, of HP's Graphics Communications business, of which is Document Imaging business is now a part. It really just throws some more kudos on that part of the company. If you remember, Kodak Document Imaging really helped lead Kodak's charge - albeit when something as large as Kodak moves, it's not always at light brigade speed - into the digital age.

What would be kind of neat would be taking Kodak's Graphics Communications business and pairing it with HP's imaging stuff. In fact, here's a fairly intriguing archiving and imaigng announcement out of HP today. HP/Kodak would truly make a digital imaging powerhouse - of course, dealing with the dead weight between the two companies may make the merger impossible.

Cheers.

Traveling to Harvey's Capture Conference in Long Island this week. Will try and post from there.

RG

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Corporate Weblogs

There is a comapany out there called Traction Software that has added WebDAV controls to its corporate blogging tools and it marketing them as "ECM lite" or an ECM solution for the mid-market company. The company was founded by some SGML experts and the software - which I received a demo of, is pretty neat. Kind of a next-generation collaboration tool, dare I say. It's also of course got all the linking capabilities so popular in Blogs. Depsite Traction's efforts, however, this article proposes that Blogs are still bascially entertainment vehicles. This may hold true for now, but if you look at the history of search, that also started as primarily an entertainment thing. The great thing about consumer-driven technology that gets adopted commerically, is there is very little training needed to ramp up use.

Cheers.

RG

Monday, August 08, 2005

SOX Ramifications

This guy might be a nutjob, but he is one of my favorite columnists. Check out what he has to say about the potential impact of SOX and other content management-based regulations. If any shard of this turns about to be true -- and Cringely did (in a very unpopular move) accurately predict the limited effect of Y2K on the nation's IT infrastructure -- it could further turn the ECM industry on it's ear. Under this scenario, ECM/records management suddenly becomes a company-saving application, and the stakes suddenly get a lot higher.

What do you think?

RG

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

BroadVision acquired

How nuts were people during the Web boom? Well, I found a Wired Magazine article from June 2000 that listed BroadVision with a market cap of $6.7 billion. And I'm not even sure that was the height of the Web boom. You probably saw the company was recently sold for $45 million. What happened?

Monday, July 18, 2005

"Like a Rocket"

This article is kind of fun to read. It's from the Spet. 17, 1997 issue of DIR, about six months before I took it over. I looked it up after I heard that Captiva was closing its Waltham, MA, offices - which represented the headquarters of recognition specialist Symbus. I believe this was Reynolds' Bish first forms processing-related M&A activity.

This article discusses the FormWare/Symbus merger. Recognition industry guru Arthur Gingrande actually co-founded Symbus but doesn't receive any credit in this particular piece. We do get great stuff however, like Jim Woodruff of Wheb Systems estimating the potential of the forms processing market to be $5 billion. And Reynolds with the great "The market is going to take off like a rocket." There's also something in here from Dan Elam about saying everyone is going to sell out or go public in two years.

Anyhow, it's some pretty fun reading - just please nobody go pulling out any of my old columns...

Cheers.

RG
FROM DIR - Spect. 17, 1997

CONSOLIDA TION BOOSTS FORM PROCESSING GROWTH Recent Deals Only A Start, Analysts Predict

The desire to pool resources and wrest greater market share has led to a spate of mergers and acquisitions in the document capture market. The business dealings of the past month such as the one that created FormWare Corp. through the merger of Park City, Utah-based TextWare Corp. and Symbus Technology Inc. of Waltham, Mass. - are only a start.
"We're on the threshold of the industry starting to congeal," says Herb Schantz, president of Sterling, Va.-based HLS Consulting. "Good little guys are going to bond together to form good big guys."
Analysts and vendors believe there is huge market potential for software that collects data from scanned forms and delivers it to another application.
Creating user-friendly applications is the key, vendors say. Consolidation will give smaller vendors the financial muscle to develop easy-to-use products. "Virtually all the independent market either have plans to be bought or go public within 24 months," says Dan Richmond, Va.-based analyst with IMERGE Consulting."

Small Players, Big Market
Jim Woodruff, vice president of marketing at Wheb Systems, estimates the potential market for forms processing software is $10 billion, even though systems being sold today equal about 5 percent of that - or $500 million.
Such predictions cause TextWare President Reynolds Bish to declare, "The market is about to take off like a rocket."
But Schantz advises the market won't grow without continued consolidation. Merging allows companies to assign engineers to more diverse projects, which results in greater product offerings and the ability to purse more vertical markets.
Look for continued consolidation among companies selling products such as scanners, optical character recognition engines, preprocessing or postprocessing software. Even small system integrators will be active, Schantz says.
For instance, in addition to the TextWare/Symbus merger, the Sterling, Va.-based Star Technologies last month bought the assets and products of the Potomac, Md.-based postprocessing software developer Intrafed (DIR, August 6, p. 8). Last week, Xionics Document Technologies [XION] of Burlington, Mass., bought Seaport Imaging of San Jose, Calif.
"It is a huge market with dozens of players competing in regional markets, Schantz says. "If nothing is happening in a region in a year, [the regional companies] almost dry up."

Matching Strengths
"The combined company has greater resources - people, products and capital - to better execute its business plan and respond to the needs of the marketplace," Bish says. "Historically, forms processing is a lot of little companies and no one has been able to get large enough to get 'critical mass.'"
For example, by expanding its number of executives, a company's officers can focus on areas of expertise. Similarly, the company has doubled its software development arm.
"At TextWare we always focused on providing usable applications as opposed to providing tool kits or technology that requires integration services. Symbus focused on technology," Bish says. "Their technology with our usability focus - you end up with powerful and competitive products in the marketplace."

Of the TextWare/Symbus teaming, Elam notes, "Textware has only recently emerged as a strong enough player to challenge for significant market share, so Symbus will help bolster them ... for more complex systems."
"In a year or so, [TextWare] is probably the only company that has a
realistic chance of going public and doing well," he adds.
The heads of the small companies also are anxious to see a return on their
years of effort, Elam says.
With the exception of a few larger vendors that sell shrink-wrapped, prepackaged systems, most companies bring in less than $10 million a year in revenues, he says.
"Most of these are entrepreneurial companies with guys ready to get their money out," Elam says. Also, larger companies can draw more attention to a brand name - which in turn can give vendors more leverage with system integrators, he says.

Simple Solutions
To grow, companies must focus on creating systems that are easy to install and use.
There are few differences in the performance of recognition
technologies, Bish says. The competitive advantage now lies in added value a firm packages with the recognition technology.
"Forms processing still requires a great deal of customization on an installationto-installation basis," Bish says.
"Over time, we need to not only make the technology more affordable, but focus on making it easier to use, reducing the need for customization. [The market] is not to that point yet."

Focusing On Benefits
Woodruff suggests growing the forms processing market is largely a matter
of promoting the practical benefits of the technology.
"The imaging market is way too technology-centric," he says. Vendors need to go from talking about how many characters a minute their products handle to describing how much money customers can save by using the software. "I expect packaged products to prevail over component approaches," he adds.
A consolidation trend would be good for the forms processing market, Woodruff says. Although he considers San Diego-based Wheb Systems a large business, he agrees many of the players are small. While, bigger companies would attract big clients, a Citibank-sized company would have a hard time doing business with a small, regional operation, he says. Major players will focus on different types of users by creating industry-specific products for markets.
(Reynolds Bish, TextWare, 801/645-9600, http://www.textware.com; Dan Elam, IMERGE Consulting, 804/342-7400; Mary Beth Poggi, Unterberg Harris, 212/5728078; Herb Schantz, HLS Consulting, 703/444-7037; Jim Woodruff, Wheb Systems, 619/586-7885, http://whebsys.com.) 8






.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Enterprise Input Management

Captiva’s Digital Mailroom application was probably the first example of the company’s future direction. At the company’s recent Capture ’05 conference, the maturing and growing input management vendor further detailed its efforts at becoming an enterprise aplication players. More on this in our next issue, which should be out early next week.

For subscription info, please contact me at ralphg@documentimagingreport.com

Thx,
RG

Thursday, July 07, 2005

SourceCorp

Hope your Independance day celebrations went well. Just saw this piece of news regarding SourceCorp. A bit disturbing as SourceCorp is one of the few pure-imaging service bureau roll-ups from the late 1990s that has had some success. Granted, there have been a few bumps, but nothing like those encountered by competitors ImageMax and Lason. And right now a lot of people are trying to get into the business that SourceCorp is in. Of course, this might mean that somebody big wants to buy them, which may be the reason why all this posturing is going on. Anyways, here's hoping they can pull through this without too much of a mess.

Cheers.

RG

Friday, June 24, 2005

Importance of text-based documents

I’m reading this book called Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond, which provides a detailed explanation on why peoples of Euroasian descent came to dominate the earth and wipe out most of the people indigenous to other lands. A lot of it has to do with more advanced technology.

I got to thinking about this evolution in terms of my own newsletter and skill set and whether or not video communication will kill out text-based communication. I guess, since text is the reason most paper document exists, this conundrum could possibly be applied to the entire document imaging industry at large.

One of the reasons, I always give to people for paper sticking around as long as it has, is inertia. And I guess text-based communication has built up quite a bit of inertia in its thousands of years of use. Diamond points out that literacy has historically been very important to dominant societies. The ability to communicate experiences and provide written analysis is important for repeating successful processes, as well as learning about your enemies. (Which I hope you all consider when it comes time to re-up your subs to DIR.)

Theoretically, video can also be used for this type of important communication and is in some corners. However, it seems to me, in its early incarnations at least, video has been mainly hijacked for entertainment purposes. I still don’t see a lot of thought going into how to make video a more valuable means of important communication—although I guess the 8 million cable channels available today, and even more when Internet video technology ramps up—create some potential. But it still seems the majority of all that broadcasting will focus on entertainment.

And that is why text-based communication continues to live on and is very relevant. It is the basis of most serious communication. And related to this, Google should be applauded for its efforts to put all the text-based information buried in books online, because the majority of World Wide Web content is also developed for entertainment purposes.

Anyways, those are my thoughts for today. As always, feel more than free to comment.

Cheers.

RG

Monday, June 20, 2005

Fujitsu fingerprint ID for scanner access

The possiblity for this type of thing are endless. It's a device Fujitsu has introduced for fingerprint ID to control document scanner access. If a user only scanned a certain type of document, it could potentially be set up to give a whole new meaning to the term "one touch scanning."

Here's the official European press release
. Wonder why this hasn't been marketed over hear yet?
RG

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

More AIIM show

Here's Mike Hurley's (of GreenSquare Consulting) take on the AIIM show. Mike makes some very perceptive comments. My favorite possibly being - "Workflow and BPM continue to defy a coherent trade show demo." A concept I've been arguing for years. EMC in general, in fact, is very hard to demo at a trade show.

As I said previously, on Tuesday, when traffic on the AIIM side seemed dead, the On Demand side looked fairly lively. Both sides, I thought looked good on Wed. But I got to thinking, why was the On Demand side bigger? Big iron, of course. It's a lot more fun to watch something print, scan, and copyu documents at 200 dpi, than it is to here Open Text discuss the advantages of collaboration and records management. I mean, what was the most popular exhibit on the AIIM side? It might have been the 4Digital Books thing that scanned books at an incredible rate using some sort of vacuum page-turning mechanism.

Hyland might have the right idea, by setting up a carnival atmosphere. The fact is trade shows have not adapted well to the Internet age. Somehow we need to merge virtual stuff with these trade shows to get them out of the 1970s mode they are stuck in. I'm not sure how to do it, but we have a lot of bright software people in the industry, can somebody think of someway to make this show more relevant by incoporating technology into the show's presentation?

Let me know. Or let Kerry Gumas of Questex know. Please.

RG

JSR 170, Linux drivers, and Captiva

I guess you probably saw that the content repository standard JSR 170 passed.We're not exactly sure what this means and how it will be utilized in the real world, but it seems like a great concept. This is the kind of stuff the Workflow Management Coalition, I believe has been trying to do for years, except this adds search and retrieval capablities. And it's all a java-based standard, which could I guess lead us down some interesting Web servies-paved paths.

A random thought that came up in conversation last week and maybe remotely related to JSR 170. But, is anyone familiar with Linux-based document scanner drivers?

Finally, you may have seen the Captiva landed another InputAccel for Invoices deal, this one with Novartis UK - a big drug company. We find the fact the deal was in the U.K. as particularly significant, because that means the company was likely facing competition from BancTec and ReadSoft. As we've said before, Captiva, which entered the invoices game late, is really making some noise now. Also, interesting to note that Daniel Vaniche, who help a high position at SWT - is the spokesperson in the press release. That happened pretty fast. It's also worth noting that Captiva's stock is over $14 per share as I write this. Good work guys.

Cheers.

RG

Monday, June 06, 2005

AIIM On Demand follow-up

So, now that the does has settled, and we've done the majority of our AIIM follow-ups, the question is what did you all think of the show?

Please post on this, as I've heard mixed reactions and definitely have my own viewpoints, which I will share:

I thought from a gross attendance standpoint, it was awful. That is every day except for Wednesday. Wednesday, the floor really appeared to be hopping, like it was for most of two days last year. So, what was the problem? I don't know. Could have been the Monday hotel jam up due to Penn's graduation, slowed down the first day of the show. The last day always stinks, so we'll just discount that. Kerry Gumans, of Questex swore up and down (well, not literally, he just insisted very politely - as he's really a nice guy, so we're rooting for the show to succeed), that in the end, hotels were not an issue and that in the end everyone was accomodated, but just my visuials would seem to indicate differently. I wish I could say next year, we'd have a chance to validate this theory, but the fact is, Penn's graducation is once again schduled for the Monday before the show, Monday, May 15. Well, at least this year, everyone, including Questex, will know what they're getting into ahead of time. Hopefully, this knowledge will help push up Tuesday's attendance.

Then, of course, there is the whole issue of regional traffic. I think New York defintely offers better regional traffic. The question revolves around how valuable that regional traffic is. Does a location like New York present more tire kickers, which are a waste of vendors time? It's my thought that tire kickers eventually turn into buyers, so all traffic is good. But I did receive feedback from some vendors that because Philadelphia was more of a distination site for many of the attendees, that the quality of attendees was up despite the overall drop in numbers. The increase in conference attendees would seem to reinforce this.

And when you take out the tire kickers and factor in that Philly is less expensive in most regards than New York, even cheaper beer, than is it a better payback on your trade show investment?

More on my thoughts on a future format for the AIIM show in particular later.

Out. - RG

Monday, May 23, 2005

e-mail management and Morgan Stanley

John Mancini gave an interesting keynote speech at the recent AIIM On Demand Expo. His talk was entitled the State of the ECM Industry and covered a broad range of topics including the state of ECM adoption in various parts of the world. One of the topics he addressed was e-mail management, which we at DIR have made known is one of our favorite topics. We are very much against the save everything policy and think users must have some sort of selective policy or severly curtail their use of e-mail. As digital phone conversations replace analog ones, however, safe havens for private conversations are becoming few and far between. Anyhow, here a link to an article that pretty much says the "save everything" technique is going to be prevelent in all public companies.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

AIIM Awards

Heard a funny story from former Imaging Magazine Editor Mark Young at the AIIM show this week in Phildelphia. The esteemed Mr. Young, who is now with a group called Buyers Lab, was sipping on an ice water outside the ballroom of the Ritz Carlton where Canon was holding its annual press reception. The reception is always a gala affair, (to borrow the tone of Vanity Fair diarist Dominick Dunne, and the atmosphere brought to mind tales I had heard about the Imaging Magazine parties of years gone by. Unfortunately, at the time the last of these were taking place, I was a cub reporter cutting my teeth with Imaging rival Business Solutions (then Business Systems) and not on the invite list.

The official reason for these parties were Imaging Magazine “Product of the Year or Best of AIIM” or whatever they were called awards, which Young indicated were only half-serious. “One year, we named a pen the best analog input device,” Young recalled. The real reason for the parties and the awards was to service Imaging Magazine’s customers, aka. its advertisers. Eventually, under the guidance of Doug Henschen and Miller-Freeman and eventually CMP, the Best of AIIM awards took on a more serious tone – but we’re not sure if that was so good for the industry or for Imaging, for that matter…

So, without further adieu (and about an hour of time to kill as I sit on a runway in Philadelphia) in the spirit of the old Imaging Magazine Product of the Year awards—in other words don’t take these too seriously—here are the first even DIR AIIM Awards. I only wish I had a drink to offer you before you read on:

1. Man of the Year: This one goes to Captiva President and CEO Reynolds Bish because he be da’ man. After completing the acquisition of SWT this month, he will be on target for more than $100 million in profitable revenue next year. Bish even boasted he plans to surpass more than $200 million in revenue in three years. You go Reynolds! As I sat with him at AIIM, we recalled AIIM 2002 in S.F., just three years earlier when his company merged with InputAccel (aka ActionPoint) in what looked like a marriage of floundering companies. Who knew all Reynolds needed was a little cash in the bank and a listing on the Nasdaq to become a true ECM heavyweight? During the first six months following the merger, we saw Captiva’s stock drop all the way below a dollar a share. How many companies have ever recovered successfully from that type of devaluation? Well, check the boards, Captiva certainly has and how. And as we wrote in the last issue of DIR, the SWT merger really makes sense.

2. Product of the Year: Indicius 5.0. Did you see this thing? Great stuff. Kofax has finally figured out how to leverage the Mohomine technology they bought a couple of years ago. They’ve taken SWT what SWT does for Captiva and have gone a step further. Their killer app is currently automatic document separation without separator sheets. Really cool stuff -- to paraphrase Kofax PR guru Michael Troncale.

3. Newcomer of the Year: Peladon Software – Yes, the Mitek renegades were out in force. Got to love their technology for eliminating high-confidence character mistakes.

4. Robot of the Year: You all saw it. I know you were talking about it. That 4DigitalBooks thing from Sweden sure made some interesting entertainment. They should have been charging people to see it. (Wouldn’t that be an interesting marketing ploy? Do you think it would drive up booth traffic if you charged like a quarter or something just to give people the feeling that they were going to a show?)

5. Company of the Year: Hyland Software. What can you say? They show up every year with that huge stadium booth – give away cool gifts like real baseballs and staff their area what seems like 200 people. Always a good buzz around that booth. Hats off to A.J. for setting the tone for the whole spirit of the company.

That’s about it for now. Once again, I’m sorry for not having a party to throw with my awards. Something we’ll have to work on for the future.

Cheers.

RG

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Tagging

Does anyone think this could be useful in ECM/document imaging applications?

Monday, May 02, 2005

Microsoft's PDF alternative

We've often said Microsoft needs to recognize PDF. It appears they have, but instead of embracing it (and then attempting to extinguish), they have come up with their own version. I don't know. Don't think it will work, but here we go...

Pentagon Redaction screw-up

Check this out. Pretty bad document mis-managment by the Pentagon.

Here's an updated version of that story - This one actually recommends using magic marker and scanning as a replacement for electronic document redaction!

On more opinion on this. This one seems slightly saner and recommends a specific PDF redaction tool. You would think the Pentagon would be aware of such things. You would think...

Cheers.

RG

Friday, April 29, 2005

Doug H. survey piece

In case you're interested in what Doug Henschen's up to.

AIIM Hotel Rooms

So, you're going to see an article in next week's edition about how well the sign-ups for AIIM/On Demand are going. However, don't be completely surprised if the attendance numbers don't come out as expected after this early momentum. Apparently, there are some serious lodging problems afoot. It just so happens the University of Pennsylvania's graduation ceremony is scheduled for Monday, May 16. So, perhaps only Tuesday will be slow - but that could affect the whole show.

We've pinged Kerry Gumas as Advanstar about this... but we really think Brian Randall, who should have known better, dropped the ballhere. From what I understand, lodging was going to be tight in Philly to begin with. Now, of course, Brian is gone - I'm not saying the two things are connected, but it really doesn't look good. In Brian's defense, I know he had a heckuva time finding a place for the show in 2005, but this seems like this could be a major screw-up.

Cheers.
RG

European digital libraries

No details with this story, except that some big names are on board.

Cheers.

RG

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Captiva e-Scan

Did you see Captiva's recent announcement about it's first eScan implemenation?. Interesting thing about it, is that it doesn't even include any paper capture. Here's the explanation that we got from Rob Jensen, Captiva's PR chief:

"CIC is using Kodak Digital Cameras (various models) and Sony Digital Recorders (various models). To clarify, they are not scanning paper claims. These are generated electronically via CIC's central claims management facility; the field agents are adding the supplementary documentation (the photos and recordings) to these via eScan. CIC currently has 800 users of this application. There are some trailing paper documents that are still being mailed, but CIC is looking at scanning these in the future."

Very interesting implemenation. Really speaks volumes about the potential of true content management and even digital asset management. We expect this multi-media capture to continue to become more important in the future.

Cheers.

RG

Monday, April 25, 2005

Longhorn

Here's an interesting article dealign with Microsoft's next generation OS, code-named, or really named, I can't tel which, Longhorn. Couple things worth noting here. First, is that Microsoft still thinks it can knock out PDF. Were people saying the same thing about WordPerfect 15 years ago? If they were, please stop me, but I still don't get why Microsoft doesn't just embrace PDF and attempt to extinguish it that way. I don't know that their "alternative" is going to get the job done. Seoncd, is seems Microsoft is introducing improved search and some sort of thumbnailing, which could be very helpful when working with images perhaps. Let's see. I for one can't wait to get my hands on Longhorn, just to see what it does.

Cheers.

RG

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Analyst on Open Text

This guy doesn't seem to like Open Text very much...

Mitek settles royalty dispute

It seems Mitek has settled its litigation was item processing software developer BSM. Unfortunately, we're not sure of the outcome of this litigation. If you know, please fill us in. Regardless, its settlement has enabled Mitek to receive its final $1 million payment from John Harland for last summer's acquisiton of Mitek's check and document image capture product lines.

Mitek has since refocused itself on developing fraud prevention technology utilizing its character recognition tools. Harland has also made an equity investment in Mitek and is working with them in this area.


Here's a brief summary of the litigation which appeared in Mitek's annual report:
[Mitek] is currently in litigation with BSM regarding a certain license agreement pursuant to which we licensed certain of BSM’s technology. BSM has claimed over $400,000 in unpaid royalties and [Mitek] has counterclaimed for over $1,000,000 with respect to interference with business relations, breach of confidentiality and unfair competition. At this time, the matter is in binding arbitration and we cannot make a reasonable determination regarding the outcome of this matter.

Apparently Harland wanted to make sure the applications were getting were free and clear of royalty concerns.

Cheers.

RG

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

VoteFiler

So, how about these guys? Have you seen this yet. They're a company with document imaging roots out of Manhatten, yes, they are a group of forms Sigma guys. And at FOSE last week they introduced this really cool vote tabulation system that includes a paper trail. It involves bar coded documents and apparently they have patents on the concept of filling data into an e-form, then capturing that data and printing a sheet with a bar code that refers back to that data. I talked with them about they didn't want to dicuss it much, but me thinks a whole lot of people are potentially in violation of this thing.

Anyhow, this VoteFiler appliation won best of FOSE. More on it in next issue of DIR. But I remember suggesting that someone in this industy jump into the vote counting market after the 2000 election. Glad to see someone is trying to tackle it.

Cheers.

Ralph

Monday, April 11, 2005

dakota execs in deep...

You may remember as one of those deals that seemed too good to be true...It seems the Goel brothers of dakota imaging fame are in a bit of hot water with WebMD. I for one, remember being startled at how attractive the sale of dakota to WebMD looked on paper. Yes, Sandeep Goel was a gentleman and a pleasure to interview, but I also remember classifying him as an unreliable source after some revenue projections he gave me turned out to be completely off base and then he later denied ever making such projections.

I don't think there is any quesiton that dakota has some pretty good forms processing software. However, it was pretty much only installed in customized one-off type solutions and dakota's plans for expansion seemed to run into snags. I remember a joint-marketing deal with Top Image Systems early in my career, where after I interviewed both parties, it was apparent the thing was never going to work, as they each saw the deal in completely different ways. Then, there was dakota's big jump into the ASP space, which reportedly cost them a bundle - and well, you all know what happened to first generation ASPs.

This ASP move, however, seemed to actually work out, when Web MD appeared as a white night and bought the company for a pretty attractive price last year... Lo and behold, it may not turn out so nicely after all. The Goels, are of course denying the whole thing..., but I have to wonder why would somebody the size of WebMD be worried about paying a couple millions dollars out them if they indeed got what they thought they were getting.

Cheers.

RG

Thursday, April 07, 2005

EMC ILM

Yes, EMC has been pushing its ILM stragegy ever since it bought Documentum. In fact, Legato (Lou Cole is originally from Erie, PA, you know) starting talking about it even before they did, at least in concept when they bought OTG in 2002 (I think.) Don't have time to fact check, as I'm waiting for my ride to the airport. Just finishing up at eCopy PaperConnection. What a turnout. I think they pulled this thing together in two months. Had the like of Rioch, Toshiba, HP, and Sharp announcing support for them on the hardware sde and there were like 25 ISV vendors. Just a good buzz at the event. Like people have been waiting for this to happen...

Anyhow, getting back to EMC, just had a pretty good briefing with Mike Ball. A few years back I thought I understood the ILM message, but then as the storage people started working with it, I lost it somewhere. Anyhow, Mike (who has a document background) brought it back home nicely. His analogy was that scanning paper eliminated a paper, or line of business problem, but created a new problem on the network. It really moved the problem to IT, which is EMC's domain...

So, that's where ILM comes in. Pretty interesting concept.

Cheers.

RG

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

PaperConnection

Currently at eCopy's "groundbreaking" PaperConnection event listening to Randy Kahn do his compliance spiet. Intereting insight or advice he provides, It's not longer only about better, faster, cheaper. It's also about the allowing the CEO to sleep more soundly at night" by expanding document management systems to include compliance.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Digital Copiers and more...

Sorry about the length between posting, was busy trying to scrap together a newsletter last week. Ended with with some pretty relevent stuff about the forms processng industry, the FAST search engine and some other stuff that may or may not interest you. I did one story about an enterprise software company acquiring a document output management vendor that also does imaging - because archiving is hot. Just more evidence that this technology as really hit its stride. ASG told me they compete with Computer Assocaites and BMC and were "falling down" against them becuase they didn't offer imaging. So they bought this company called Cypress, who I first wrote about like five years ago. I hadn't heard much from them since, but apparently, they've done pretty well as a repository vendor and Kofax reseller. Best wishes to them in the post-acquisition world.

I just got done posting several press releases. Go the home page to see them. A few of them involve the eCopy PaperConnection event I'll be attending this week. eCopy of course is one of the great success stories in the document imaaging market, going from minisule revenue to somewhere north of $30 million and claimed end-user total of more than $80 million per year - all within the last 7-8 years. I remember meeting CEO Ed Schmid and marketing manager Noel Colletti in the press room at AIIM in like 1998 when they were known as simplify. I had no idea what they were talking about - trying to do scanning on digital copiers. Sure, Xerox was talking about it then, but nobody was doing it.

Well, it so happened someone at Canon shared Ed and Noel's vision and away they went. The two got together in a partnership that has set the standard for scanning from digital copiers over the years. First, it was scan-to-email, now it's scan for ECM, but eCopy keeps growing and as other vendors enter the space, they keep evolving.

The big news at PaperConnection of course is that their software is being opened up to run on platforms other than Canon. I believe four vendors will be there to announce they have joined eCopy's hardware developer's program. These include Ricoh, Toshiba, HP, and Sharp. Ricoh of course is the big one. Canon's main competitor and we understand Canon is none to happy about it. Canon has gone on the record as saying, however, that it doesn't see any need to work with eCopy copetitors. We'll see.

Why is this market so important. Well, for one, it seems to be growing faster than the overall document capture market. It feeds beautifully in to the trend toward distribtued scanning, and digital copiers, which people already have, can do this stuff anyhow.

Will digital copiers kill dedicated document scanners? They haven't yet, in fact the market for workgroup scanners continues to grow. Scanning from a digital copier is nice because it can be added into the lease of the machine and it enables the end user to work with the same interface their used to, but in the end it might be more expensive than buying a $1,000 dedicated document scanner and a $500 capture program. For now, both markets appear healthy. We'll see where they go?

Hope to log in from Miami.

Cheers.

RG

Friday, March 25, 2005

SourceCorp

Does anyone have any more information on this SourceCorp stuff? You've probably read about this as it has unfolded, but it seems that one of its subsidiaries overstated their earnings for a period of time in 2003 and 2004. What makes this intriguing is that apparently this subsidiary was a company SourceCorp had required and its earnouts were based on its revenue. So, the company inflated the revenue and increased their earnout payments. Needless to say, now that all of this has come to light, SourceCorp execs are a bit upset and they are trying to collect like $10 millino worth of earnout payments they've made to these guys.

My quesiton is who are these guys? Does anyone know. SourceCorp doesn't seem to name names in its SEC filings, but I'm sure somewhat out there knows.

To SoruceCorp's credit, they seem to have handled the whole situation rather well, and here's hoping they get their money back. Of course, that is assuming they are in the right... Anyways, here's a link to the transcript of a recent conference call they did discussing their business model and the revenue restatements. Sounds like their going to do pretty well despite the recent financial restatements.

Of course, looking at the history of SourceCorp competitors like Lason and ImageMax, service bureau financial restatements have proven disastrous for service bureaus in the past, but once again to SourceCorp's credit, it appears they have nipped this thing in the bud early enough, where there won't be any more ramifications. Also, of course, unlike the Lason problems, which started at the top, these problems appear to be more of a rogue happenstance.

Cheers.
RG

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Pixel Answers

Here is Pixel's response to our comments about Mark's Esdon's leaving the company

"Over the years we have created a strong team to support our ISIS and Pixel Translations customers. After many years in this field, Mark Edson has left Captiva to pursue his interests in a completely different field. Despite Mark’s departure, we remain on track with our development plans, and look forward to continuing to provide outstanding support to our customers going forward."

After chatting with a few VARs about it at the recent Kofax reseller conference, ISIS remains a very relevent standard especially in higher-speed applications. We don't think it will be going away any time soon...

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Don't forget about Pixel

Our apologies to the hardworking people at Pixel Translations for forgetting about you when we listed leaders in the toolkit market last issue...

On a related note, we understand that Mark Edson has resigned as the CTO of Pixel and at lesat one scanner vendor we talked with seems concerned. Mark was apparently a major part of the braintrust behind the ISIS drivers which have made Pixel tools' so popular over the years. A few years ago, after Pixel co-founder Steve Francis got out (for the first time), there were a lot of complaints about the service the company was providing regarding ISIS drivers. Scanner vendors were having problems getting their drivers done time - this was a major reason the TWAIN high-speed scanning initiative was launched. TWAIN of course had been primiarily a photo-imaging driver before that. TWAIN has evolved considerably over the years, and many people, especially in the workgroup segment of the market swear by it. However, ISIS still remains a popular driver in higher speed applications. We wonder how service will hold up now that Edson, Francis, and Pixel co-founder Johannes Schmidt have all left the company.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

This week's news

Posted a number of press releases today.
The most interesting of which is probably Sony's and Intradyn's e-mail archiving system that starts at just over 10 grand. This is the type of thing we've been calling for for the SMB market. I hope to catch up with them later in the week and discuss the details. Like, how do you determine what to archive and what not to with as little disruption to the work process as possible.

Another interesting release invovles Top Image Systems', which had a huge fourth quarter.. Things seem to have turned around for TiS, once they started focusing on the invoice market. And make not mistake about it, automated invoice procesisng it hot right now. Take a look at recent wins by Captiva and Anydoc that are evidence of this. ReadSoft also finished 2005 strong both in North America and worldwide and most of that was driven by Invoices sales. More on that in our next issue.

Finally, eCopy officially announced its VAR program. We plan on having more on eCopy's growing channels when we visit their partner confernece in April.

Tuesday's always a busy day for news.

Cheers.

RG

Friday, March 11, 2005

Final analysis on Verity/Dataintro

I had to cut this excerpt out of this week's newsletter to make room for the late breaking Scan-Optics news. Seemed like a shame to waste it, so here is my final analysis on why the Verity/Data intro deal was such a good fit:

Adobe, which competes with Verity in the e-forms market, introduced its own PDF417 technology for PDF forms last year at AIIM/On Demand. The Dataintro/Verity deal comes two months after Adobe announced that Kofax, which competes with Verity in the document and data capture market, would begin marketing LiveCycle Barcoded Forms, through its reseller channel. As 2D bar coded forms are often described as a transition technology between paper and electronic forms, both the Adobe and Verity camps now offer a complete spectrum of technology for capturing data from forms.

Thanks.

RG

Mavel resigns from Scan-Optics

Don't read too much into Jim Mavel's surprise resignation from Scan-Optics yesterday The official reason being given is "personal reasons," which is usually not a good sign. Throw on top of that the fact that the resignation came in only a couple weeks before the comapny's scheduled earnings release and it ocurred on a Thursday night after business hours, and we smelled trouble.

Scan-Optics execs however, did a good job at damage control and Mavel close friend and long-time co-worker, Scan-Optics, VP of Sales Dick Goyette called us to assure us things are going well as the long-time scanner vendor. Goyette, in fact, told us the company had just completed one of the most successful quarters in the company's history, including landing a $2.7 million deal with the South Carolina Department of Revenue and signing up UK distributor Headway and Beltway-based Promark to distribute its SO Series of scanners.

Fourth quarter numbers are due out March 31, which may or may not shed some light on the reasons behind Mavel's resignation. We will say we always enjoyed working with Jim over the years and found him an interesting interview with an engaging personality. We will miss having him at Scan-Optics.

He is being replaced on a temporary basis by a long-time board member andt he company has also hired a new COO to replace Michael Villano who died last year.


RG

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Pitney Bowes CEO Discusses Mail

Here's an interesting article where Pitney Bowes' CEO seems to be saying that the increasing use of e-mail is actually going to increase the use of traditional mail. That's great news for document imaging vendors if it's true. For some reason, I have a hard reason believing this, as I think once people really figure out how to best use digital documents, there will be no turning back. For example, I have probably written one or two checks in the past year and have no intention of going back to paper payments. But heck, Pitney-Bowes needs mail so let them believe their going to have it.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Verity-Dataintro

Check out the latest news from Verity, regarding its partnership with Spanish developer Dataintro. We featured Dataintro in DIR last year. They developed 2-D bar code technology for forms, similar to the stuff Adobe is offering. I'm not sure what the patent issues are regarding all this stuff, but bascially both products enable users to fill out forms on-line and then have the data they have entered encoded in a 2-D bar code that appears on the form. This way, users can print the forms and the 2-D bar code can be scanned to capture the information - elmimating the need to submit the forms electronically, or apply OCR/ICR. It's reportedly very accurate. It has primarily caught on in tax applications so far, where for a variety of reasons users don't/can't submit their information electronically. The IRS, in fact has a big project going with Adobe.

What is intriguing about the Verity/Dataintro deal is the bedfellows. Dataintro has had some success so far primarily marketing the stuff on its own in North America, but Verity will definitely provide it with increased presence. It's an interesting fit for Verity because Verity seems to be marketing the product as complementary to its e-forms offering, which is exactly how Adobe is marketing it. Of coruse, Verity could also choose to market it with its traditional paper forms processing software. So, in essance, Verity has kind of a triple threat here. They can process your paper forms, they can process these hybrid 2D-bar code forms - which most people consider a step on the ladder toward e-forms, and they can market the e-forms solution. It's an interesting value proposition. We'll see how it develops.

It's also interesting because Adobe is actually a former investor in Cardiff, the forms processing/e-forms company that Verity bought and for a long time, it was rumored Adobe was going to buy Cardiff. Now, Verity has become the first vendor to take on Adobe head-to-head in this emerging 2-D bar code space. Probably not a big deal, but interesting none-the-less. We've also heard a rumor that Scantron, one of Verity's biggest forms processing resellers has dropped the Teleform product line, so this deal with Dataintro is probably part of slight rebound strategy. Oh yes, and somewhere in here fits the fact that Kofax is reselling Adobe's 2-D bar code products and Kofax parent Dicom is another former Cardiff investor...

Look for more news on this emerging 2-D bar code technology. It's one of Harvey Spencer's favorite topics. It will be interesting to see what other types of end users start to adopt it.

Cheers.

RG

Monday, March 07, 2005

Google/ScanSoft

Check out my quote in the lastest press release from ScanSoft regarding its relationship with Google. Pretty interesting announcement considering ScanSoft's long relationship with Microsoft. I was under the impression that Microsoft and Google were fairly big rivals and that Microsoft is also competing in the desktop search game. Is there another shoe to drop in relation to this story?

Thursday, March 03, 2005

PC Expo Veteran takes over for Randall

Christina Condos has been named Brian Randall's replacement as the organizer for the AIIM/OnDemand Trade Show. Condos most recent position was the executive director of CMP's Entertainment Technology Group.. Condos main qualifications for her current position, however, come from several years as show director for CMP's Technology Exhibition Week New York, or TECHXNY - better known probably as the show formerly known as PC Expo. Here's a brief profile of Condos. Advanstar Technology Group VP and GM Kerry Gumas seems pretty happy with Condos' hiring. He notes that she brings experience with On Demand to the table as well. He also noted that the rest of the AIIM/On Demand team remains in place and that the marketing efforts to sign up end user attendees are going well. He promised to share some preliminarty numbers with us in the upcoming weeks.

Oh yes, Gumas told us Condos has also been named Show Manager of the year by the International Association For Exhibition Management.
It sounds like Condos brings a good resume to the table, which she will need to manage the growing AIIM/OnDemand show, which also conincidiently is in some tranisition as it moves to a new city. Based on what we've read about Christina, we are confident she can get the job done and look forward to continuing to grow with the show.

Did we mention that we think the education tracts this year look great and what a great job AIIM has been doing with education programs in general since it sold the show.

Cheers.

RG

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

AIIM E-mail study

Did you see the new survey that came out today from AIIM. They surveyed like 1,000 businesses aboout their e-mail, IM, and Blackberry and other types of messaging habits. No secret that these types of communications are growing. What remains a secret is how to properly manage them. One of the interesting stats I saw was that 86% of these organizations tell users how they should use e-mail, only 39% say how they should be retained in a records management environment. Is there a good e-mail records management system out there for general business - I haven't seen it yet. This is where I think all our IDR/Forms processing technology is going to end up going.

There is a growing amount of potentially hazardous e-mail floating around out there and nobody has a good track on it. E-mail use is going to decline and we've got to find a better way to deal with it.

When I give my seminars here locally to mostly small-to-mid-sized buisnesses, in addition to being concerned about paper, the attendees are concerned about e-mail. These are the two great sources of unmanaged structeud information. That is the connection between imaging and e-mail management. And being able to manage both these streams is part of the attraction of the whole digital mailroom concept.

Cheers.

RG

Monday, February 28, 2005

Randall Leaves Advanstar

Does anyone else feel slightly burned about Brian Randall leaving Advanstar. Brian was always one of those guys people warned me not to fully trust. But I must admit, we always got along well, he returned all my messages and generally gave DIR some good interviews. While at this weekend's Kodak Breakaway Partner Conference I heard he had walked away from Advanstar less than three months before the AIIM/On Demand Show. What really burned me was the fact that I just ran a story talking about how excited he was about the show. I understand he got a great opportunity. Moving to Portland, ME to run an ethnic food tradeshow business does sound kind of nice... But there does seem to be some level or responsibility that Brian is shirking here.
To Advanstar's credit, Kerry Gumas, Brian's boss has nothing but nice things to say about Brian. He pretty much credits him for setting up a good base for this year's show - which through Brian's maneuverings - is being held in Philly for the first time in my memory. And according to our last conversation with Brian, the show has the potential to be really big. Let's just hope that all is has been told and Brian isn't deserting a sinking ship. I'm still looking forward to AIIM/On Demand and I really hope Advanstar can still deliver the end user numbers Brian was boasting about.
Well, good luck to Brian and good luck to everyone who is banking on AIIM/On Demand -hopefully this turns out to be the proverbial win/win for both sides.

Cheers.

RG

Friday, February 04, 2005

More on FBI Case file system

So, this sounds like loads of fun. It seems the FBI is still struggling to implement a case management system and is biting the bullet on the work they've done so far with SAIC - hoping actually to recover some money from them. It seems they are now looking into COTS technology which could be a boon for some ECM players... Let's see, the FBI, which in charge of investigating criminal activity just got used by SAIC - presumably because they didn't investigate the ECM market thoroughly enough... I feel safe, how 'bout you?

RG

Monday, January 31, 2005

LizardTech JPEG 2000

This is an interesting story regarding some patent claims that LizardTech seems to be making against the JPEG 2000 standard. On the patent front also, apparently ScanSoft still has an open case with Millennium. That's all for now. I'm going to see of LizardTech has anything to say about its JPEG 2000 claims.

Here's LizardTech's response.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

FileNET Numbers

Did you see the latest numbers from FileNET?. On the surface,they look pretty impressive, but when you dig a little deeper, they actually show no software license growth. Wall Street of course caught on to this. Coupled with projections of less than 5% overall growth for next year,FileNET got slammed pretty good by the street.
So,what's up with FileNET? Why can't they grow in a red-hot ECM market? Take a look at our next issue, which features stories on companies like IBM and Hyland - who appear to be cruising in this space. Hyland Founder Packy Jr. once told me his goal was to be bigger than FileNET. I thought he was crazy at the time, but at the current growth rate of the two companies, that could happen in the next 10 years.

That is all not to say FileNET is not a well-run company. They do have oodles of cash and are run profitably as Lee Roberts likes to boast. But are they too conservative for their own good. They were burnt on acquistions in the mid-1990s and have been shy in that area ever since. They have a Global 2000 customer base, which is great. But something seems to be missing and that's the ability to sign up new customers. Years ago, FileNET made the transition from hardware and software very successfully. Some sort of similar new transition is going to have to happen, or if they lose a few of those blue chippers to the more aggressive competition, they could end up as the next Eastman Software. I wonder if eiStream, now known as 360 degrees or something, will buy them.

Cheers.

Ralph

Oce Digital Mailroom

Did you see that Oce announced its digital mailroom strategy? Is there anyone that is not going to be a player in the digital mailroom? Yes, I realize there are a lot of opponents, or should we say realists out there that still see document management as primarily a line of business applicaiton. That may be true, but line of buinsess applications don't get you in the C-level door as quickly as enterprise application. After all, look what ERP and Y2K combined to do to our industry five to 10 years ago. Well, it's time we struck back and the digital mailroom is the perfect route. Did you notice Captiva's recent $1 milllion and $2 million deals each included its Digital Mailroom application?

Cheers.

RG

Friday, January 14, 2005

Another government system failure

This story is kind of interesting. Apparently, it's about some FBI system designed by SAIC that was supposed to elminate document scanning. Apparently, it didn't work. Kind of reminded me of the Social Security Administation application I did a feature on for Transform earlier this year. We will give the government credit for spending a lot of money on technology and helping to drive innovation, but I must admit I feel kind of bad when my tax dollars get thrown down the drain!

RG

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Cardiff, Verity, PDF

Here's an interesting link to an interview with Mark Seamans conducted on the PDFZone. Mark has risen to quite a position of prominance with Verity and we congratulate him on that. We've found him to be very straightforward in interviews and will have an article based on our conversation about Verity's Dralasoft's acquisition in our next issue. Interestingly, ScanSoft's Robert Weideman, another former Cardiff lieutenent is mentioned in this article. Speaking of Cardiff if you're looking for Dennis Clerke, here he is... .. seems to have landed a pretty nice position.

Patent article

Here's a link to a patent article sent to us by one of our readers. Pretty interesting stuff and some good suggested reforms. And this only begins to touch on the problems specific to software...

Cheers.

RG

Monday, January 03, 2005

Oracle

Well, congrats to Oracle on its impending acquisition of PeopleSoft. It seems overall that Ellison & Co. had a pretty good year in 2004. Of course, 2004 also marked the database giant's latest ECM maneuverings. No, the rumored FileNET or other player acquisition didn't come through. However, Oracle introduced its own product - which may carry the most ill-timed code name of all-time.

Carry on.

RG