Wednesday, December 06, 2006

SOA wave

We recently posted a new section on our Web site, focusing on some of the SOA initiatives now so prevelant in the ECM industry. We recently posted white papers from both Kofax and Captiva that discuss each company's capture-based SOA strategy. Some interesting reading.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

New Discovery Procedures

Dr Johannes Scholtes, president of document search and retrieval specialist ZyLAB, sent us a link to this article yesterday. It's written by Kevin Roden of Iron Mountain. It covers a lot of the issues we covered back in January when we spoke with Information Nation Warrior author Randy Kahn, but it serves as a good reminder that these new discovery procedures, that first the first time explicitly take into account electronic information, are on the way.

Ralph

Friday, November 10, 2006

SAP ECM

Did I miss something here?

This is from a recent eWeek article on the Oralce/Stellent deal: "Oracle, on this front, is playing a bit of a catch-up game. SAP has had an ECM suite for some time." What suite is that?

Sue Clarke, a senior analyst with the Butler Group, of Butler Direct, based in Hull, England, seems to validate the existance of an SAP ECM suite: "For years SAP has benefited from the lack of ECM functionality from Oracle as it has its own capabilities," Clarke says in the article.

However, she goes on to say she believes the Stellent buy is just one more merger amongst others on the horizon—and that SAP needs to act accordingly to keep up. "In view of the fact that it is unlikely that any of the independent pure-play ECM vendors will survive intact much further into the future … if SAP wishes to regain the initiative over Oracle it needs to become a major ECM player, which can only be achieved through acquisition."

Oh. Does that mean Open Text or may Seperion?

Ralph

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Parascript Mitek

The proxy statement has been posted online. In 2005, the combined company had some $30.4 million in revenue ($24 million of which can be attributed to Parascript's operations) with an operating income of $5.6 million, which was negated by $11.5 million in interest expense. The deal is supposed to close sometime early next year. From the best we can tell, the deal values the combined company at somewhere north of $140 million. This is based on investor Plainfield OffShore Holdings receiving 23% of the company in exchange a $35 million investment in 21.9 million shares of Mitek common stock at a conversion price of $1.60 per shares. Of course, Plainfield also get $55 million in senior secured debt in the terms of the deal, so while that number of shares may have a $140 million valuation to Plainfeld, it probably does not truly relfect the open market valuation of the combined company, which will be known as Parascript. Does that make sense?

Ralph

PaperClip

So, it appears PaperClip is selling out to a company that distributes nutritional supplements in China. I'll need to follow-up on this one, but this could be yet another sign of the growing interesting of document management technology in the emerging Chinese market. But then again... well, we'll see.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Voting Machines vs. OCR/OMR

Yet another in the litany of events that make me think our industry could have come up with a better solution for voting. Personally, I was a big fan of the VoteFiler system introduced a year and a half ago by Comfidex, which is a spin off from document imaging super systems specialist R2K, but haven't heard that it's gained much traction since its initial introduction. I guess their in a very tough market controlled by politicos - but when all is said and done, paper ballots a much cleaner than touchscreens.

Office 2007 set for manufacturing

It seems the much anticipated Office 2007 suite is one step closer to becoming a reality. From our perspective, the fun thing about Office 2007 is that, when coupled with SharePoint, for the first time, you can achieve some real document management functionality right out of the box with Microsoft products. Of course, it won't get you very far, but it's enough to get users started and introduced to the concept of ECM, which is where Microsoft's partners can take over.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Authentidate Secure e-mail

We always thought this was a potentially great service offered by this German-U.S. conglomorate that also plays in the traditional document imaging industry with its docStar product line, where former Captiva VP Blaine Owens now works. Authentidate itself has some technology similar to the Fujitsu stuff we highlighted last issue-to ensure that a scanned or other type of electronic document is not altered after a specified date and time. Authentidate also has this stuff, which they have tried unsuccessfully for the most part to market through the USPS. Any ideas on why this doesn't catch on? The ROI seems like a slam dunk.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Stellent Oracle

New Dicom VP of marketing Andrew Pery looks like quite a prophet after he made this statement a couple weeks ago at a Kofax Transform event in Prague. "As players like Microsoft and Oracle are introducing ‘just-good-enough’ content services, pure-play ECM vendors are being forced to consolidate. In the next six months, I expect to see consolidation involving the rest of the mid-tier vendors like Hyland, Interwoven, Vignette, Stellent, etc."

Well, Stellent was the first to go.Who's next? One thing we can say is that, based on the recent FileNet and Stellent deals, the going price for a profitable ECM company seems to be 2.5 times revenue - when you subtract out cash in the bank. FileNet was on track for some $450 million in revenue, had an equal amount in the bank, and was acquired for $1.6 billion. $1.2 billion divided by $450 is 2.5. Stellent, which was probably on track for $140-150 million in annual revenue, had $70 million in the bank, and got $440 million. $370 million divided by $150 rounds to 2.5. Of course, a few years back, EMC acquired Documentum for some 4 times revenue - but that was an all-stock transaction. The more recent Captiva acquisition worked out to somewhere just north of 2.5 times annual revenue.

We did think it was a bit curious that of all the ECM players out there, Oracle opted for Stellent. Now, we've always thought Stellent had good technology, and they have some interesting stuff with their whole Outside In universal viewer, but we thought Oralce would have purchased someone with a larger footprint. Open Text seemed like the most logical choice, especially after Oracle and Open Text announced a strengthened partnership around Oracle's Content and Records Database products released this summer. For whatever reason, that deal didn't take place. Of course, Oralce is rumored to have also turned down FileNet three times, before IBM took them off the market. It's also probably not coincidental that the Stellent deal ocurred only shortly after Open Text closed its acquisition of Hummingbird. That deal may have been the straw the broke the camel's back when it came to Oralce's intent to acquire Open Text. And then there was long-time Oracle partner Documentum, but that ship sailed a few years back, of course. But Stellent? Interwoven, admittedly, would have surprised us less... but now here's the document imaging pitch... One thing Stellent had going for it over Interwoven is a strong document imaging/BPM product line that it picked up from Optika. Maybe, this had nothing to do with it, but I'd stand the Optika imaging technology up against anything Open Text has, probably the old Gauss/Magellen stuff is the closest match, and Oracle sure got it a lot cheaper than if they'd paid $1 billion for Open Text. The Optika imaging stuff, in fact, is the only real current connection we see between these two companies, as Optika has specialized in recent years in J.D. Edwards integration.

Anyways, congrats on the folks at Stellent, on a solid step, hopefully, in the evolution of their business, and we look forward to seeing who is going to hop on the consolidation train next.

Ralph

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

DITA

Here's a story regarding the DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture) standard that we were first introduced to at Harvey Spencer Associates recent conference. At the event, Peter Roden, OASIS diretor of technology development, expressed his opinion that all XML-based content management systems wouold be leveraging DITA. It seems to have something to do with enabling content reuse, which is a great and necessary idea for the evolution of ECM to continue.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Electronic postmark

This electronic postmark stuff is pretty cool. It's like certified e-mail. I did a briefing with Authentidate on it a few years ago. They also own a document imaging company, as well as some technology for timestamping document images. Unforunately, I've also read that their stuff with the USPS, for whatever reason, hasn't taken off. Maybe it has to do with the USPS marketing program for it, as I haven't really seen too much advertisting for it. Apparently the USPS is looking at alternative providers and Authentidate is applauding the decision.

ARMA

Back stateside after a week in Prague for Kofax Transform '06 - the European version. Well attended event. I think there were close to 400 resellers (individuals, not companies, but still a lot of companies) represented. Interesting thing about the European market - it's still doesn't seem to be one market. Although the Euro seems pretty well accepted, language barriers, at least, still exist. Even though everyone does speak some kind of common language, it's still cumbersome to converse in other than a native tongue (for many people). Dicom CEO Rob Klatell explained that this type of environment mean it's advantageous for Dicom to maintain its distribution infrastructure in Europe.

Unfortunately, I'm not attending ARMA this week, although that's typically a fairly small show. There was a lot of talk a month ago about AIIM and ARMA getting together, but apparently it all fell through, and now ARMA has recently announced an alliance with SNIA - a storage newtorking organization. Sorry, but I think AIIM would have made more sense.

Oh, yes, wanted to link you to an interesting Iron Mountain announcement from ARMA. Obviously, Iron Mountain holds quite a bit of sway in that world. I like their direction because they aren't afraid to invest in electronic infrastructure, while at the same time, they aren't quick to dismiss their paper roots as archaic. They seem to understand the balance that exists between paper and electronic documents - something we try very hard to be concious of here at DIR.

Finally, I apologize for the lack of recent posts on the Web site. We were really getting on a roll there, but have run into some technical difficulties - this is the reason for the ugly code line that may be displaying across the top of your browser. I've been trying to get this fixed and promise to get us back up to speed there shortly.

thanks.

Ralph

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Questex InfoTrends

It appears that Questex and InfoTrends are merging. Questex is the Advanstar spin-off that runs AIIM/On Demand as well as some other IT-centric trade shows. InfoTrends, we best know as the compilers of information on document scanner trends and sales. InfoTrends actually was acquired by an organization called CAPVentures a couple years ago and CAPVentures founder Charlie Pesko started the On Demand show - so there is some definite synergy...

Friday, October 06, 2006

E-mail mismanagement- again

Now, we recognize there is a major problem with mismanagment of e-mail, and even IM, messages as records, but is it really appropriate to cite the Mark Foley case as evidence of this, as AIIM does in this release? I mean, after all, if you are trying to promote better e-mail management, aren't you kind of saying that ECM could have helped Foley hide is tracks? And do we really want our technology associated with that. Imagine the commerical you could do with John Mark Karr or someone. "If it wasn't for ECM technology, I'd be doing time with Jack Abranoff...

That all said, AIIM does provide some telling statistics even in its preview of the study results.

AIIM ARMA talks

It seems AIIM/ARMA had some merger talks that didn't bear any fruit and now AIIM is letting it's members know this a couple weeks before the ARMA show. Here's Alan Pelz-Sharpe's view on it. He's a pretty good ECM analyst.

Arobat 8 review

Here's a link to a pretty useful review of Adobe Acrobat 8. We wrote about the recently announced product in our Sept. 22 issue. Like us, this reviewer is impressed with the ability to combine multiple document types in a single PDF wrapper, while maintaining the original file format. That is a very useful document management feature. And of course, she also cites the upgraded collaboration funcationality. It's this kind of stuff that's going to keep Microsoft's XPS on the backburner for awhile, in terms of adoption.

Ralph

HP MFP Announcement

A couple days ago, HP came out with what one of its pre-sales support guys told me was its biggest MFP announcement ever. Now, there is quite a bit there, including four new MFP devices with very low prices. HP is an intriguing combatent in the digital copier market. While, the other top players are all married to dealer channels, HP goes through VARs or direct sales. As a result, HP's established relationships are with IT people, rather than the purchasing agents, that dealers often work with.

HP is trying to sell its MFPs like it sells its successful printer line - not lease it, like dealers do. And as copiers become more the realm of IT, HP would seem to be in prime position to make some real noise. Only problem is, I'm not sure how great their MFP hardware is. That said, HP has definitely upgraded its stand-alone scanners in the past year, and they've always had fairly good printers, so why shouldn't they have good MFPs? You might say it's because the UI's suck (maybe they don't, I'm just postulating here...) Still, HP has a partnership wtih eCopy, the king of UI, and they also partner with other software vendors like NSi, Omtool, and, and now even Kofax. This should also be able to help steer them in the right direction, at least. Take note, HP is moving rapidly into the digital copier market, and expect their traction to accelerate in the next couple years.

Ralph

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Acrobat 8

Here's an interesting post that discusses the latest release of Adobe's popular Acrobat softawre. It seems to say that Adobe has done such a great job with previous version of Acrobat, and with promoting PDF as a de facto standard, that its new technology in this area is pretty blase. Kind of an interesting concept and one that plays right along with Nuance's strategy behind its PDF Converter (the Avis of PDF) product.

Ralph

Monday, September 11, 2006

German Patent Office

IBM has landed a contract to install a document management and workflow system at the German Patent Office. From this article, it seems like they weren't using any form of electronic document system before, but I find that hard to beleive. I think the conversion of patent documents to digital images was one of the first biggest projects undertaken in the U.S. Anyways, from what I can tell the U.S. Patent Office is trying to upgrade it's digital imaging system. I think I'll try and track down some details.

Ralph

Friday, September 08, 2006

Xerox expands service bureaus

Lot of document imaging-centric news coming out of Xerox. Guess there having a big press event in New York where they're announcing all this.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Patriot Act

In this industry, we love to talk about how compliance drives buisness. After years of talk, we definitely saw a lot of this in regards to meeting HIPAA requirements. The Patriot Act has been another buzzword related to compliance. And while we've haven't seen a lot of traction direclty related to it to date, this joint solution by FileNet and BearingPoint seems like it should score some wins.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Xerox AOL

Intersting story that just moved about Xerox Global Services landing a big document imaging installation contract with AOL. I'm interested to know what kind of hardware and sofware will be used to fill the bill. May do a follow-up for the newsletter.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Desktop Scanner Reviews

Here's an interesting review of the ScanSnap as well as the NeatReceipts package. It's kind of fun to read, but sorely lacking in some details. Maybe the writer ran into word count restraints.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Visioneer

So, we're assuming most of you have heard the news out of Pleasanton, that there has been a major personnel shakeup at Visioneer. Yes, Don McMahan, who was hired last year to lead Visioneer's transition into the document-centric, business scanning market is out. McMahan, who helped architect a successful VAR program at Fujitsu Computer Products of America (FCPA) in the late 1990s and early 2000s, joined Visioneer shortly after leaving FCPA early last year. It seemed like a solid fit, as Visioneer was targeting the fast-growing workgroup scanning segment, where FCPA had traditionally dominated. McMahan and right-hand man Rusty James, who also came to Visioneer from FCPA, worked quickly, boasting of several hundred VAR signees in their first year on board. Visioneer also watched its market share numbers rise solidly in 2005-presumably with help from its recently fortified channel, as VARs have historically been the key to selling lower-priced document scanners. However, last Friday, we learned that McMahan and James had both resigned from Visioneer and that possibly five other employees left with them. As recently as May's AIIM show, McMahan seemed strongly entrenched, as he accepted the appointment as Chairman of AIIM's board - a position which we presume he is retaining.

McMahan's departure from Visioneer caught many people off guard, as did his departure from FCPA 18 months previous. We never have received a definitive story as to why he departed FCPA. Visioneer CEO Murray Dennis has promised to talk to us next week, when he names McMahan's replacement. Of course, this is assuming the company hasn't been sold to OEM partner Xerox, and McMahan's and his marketing staff were deemed extraneous to the Xerox business model. As always, we'll keep you posted.

Ralph

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

FileNet IBM View

I think I expressed my opinions on the FileNet/IBM deal fairly clearly in the latest edition of DIR. This guy does a nice job summing up some of the stuff that was expressed in the conference call. He basically says, it's about the workflow and processes that FileNet specializes in, which IBM is adding to its core competency. That, of course, and the customer base.

Ralph

Monday, August 21, 2006

More Election problems

I came across this story while vacationing in Ohio last week. (Yes, I'm from Western PA, so sometimes we vacation in Ohio.) But anyways, it has always struck me as odd that we have all this great forms processing, data capture technology out there, but we still can't get our electoral processes right.

Ralph

Monday, August 14, 2006

Why'd IBM Do It?

We explore this question at length in this week's issue of DIR, coming soon. We will tell you that the deal, to us in the ECM know at least (wink, wink, nod, nod) is more complex than Big Blue just wanting to increase its software business, as many pundits, such as this one, are suggesting. After all, only something like 40% of FileNet's revenue is from software. The rest is from services. Then again, IBM knows a little about services as well. So, why'd they really do it? Well, you're going to have to get DIR to find out. (Unless, of course, you think you know, than please share.) Comments below.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

IKON-Adobe e-forms

Thought is was kind of interesting that copier mega-dealer IKON has signed up Adobe as a premier partner for its e-forms solution. E-forms, of course, elminate paper, which has historically been the lifeblood of IKON's business. Kudos for IKON for having the vision to realize that it's about the processes, not the paper, and fully embracing electronic doucment management technologies.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

North Carolina Unhappy with ACS

Bad news for ACS - the State of North Carolina is unhapply with its efforts at setting up a system for processing Medicaid claims. At least I think it's a claims processing system - they call it a "billing system."

Ralph

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Aurde, Inc.

Last month, we ran a brief in DIR discussing some of the ties that document conversion specialist Audre, Inc. had with convicted former California Congressman Duke Cunningham. This Vanity Fair article gets into it in more detail. Wow, it seems Duke's road to ruin began with quesionable conversion deals with Audre and later a company called ADCS. Check it out for yourself.

Ralph

Friday, July 07, 2006

Hummingbird-Open Text

I guess we should have seen this coming after Symphony's relatively modest offer to acquire Hummingbird a few weeks back. But Open Text appears to be after their Canadian counterpart again. If you remember, back in the day, the late-1990s, Open Text tried a hostile takeover of PC Docs, whose management ran away from them like its hair was on fire. PC Docs instead accepted from Hummingbird, which was not a direct competitor, like Open Text was. I seem to remember that maybe PC Docs executives felt they'd have a better chance of staying on board if they took Hummingbird's offer over Open Text's. Open Text, of course, then upped their offer and made one last gasp at acquiring PC Docs. Things got kind of nasty before PC Docs finally went to Hummingbird - and PC Docs management team ended up mostly being shown the door anyhow. Well, seven years later, guess what, Open Text is trying another guerilla takeover of PC Docs - this time bidding on the entire Hummingbird entity. Symphony is just a holidng company, so the Open Text acquisition probebly makes more sense. However, Open Text has offered Hummingbird shareholders a dollar more per share, or a 4% premium over the Symphony price, so it might not be worth it for Hummingbird to change suiters at this juncture. If Open Text gets offers somewhere in the 10% range, look for this deal to be a slam dunk.

Ralph

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

LizardTech Re-org

This is an odd story about LizardTech that recently came across the wire. It seems Carlos Domingo, who had been pretty much running the show in the U.S. has stepped upstairs to the position of chairman and is moving back to his home country of Spain. Didn't see LizardTech at AIIM this past year, after visiting with them the past couple years at the event. It seemed like things might have been going better after they won the New Yorker archive project. As a market for their mixed raster content DjVu format seemed finally to be developing. Hopefully this will continue under the new management. Of course improvements in PDF have someone marginlized the company's fringe file format.

Ralph

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Alfresco FileMark

Here's a story about a neat integration between FileMark and Alfresco. FileMark is a high-end archiving, imaging, COLD, and workflow vendor currently being run by former Tower Technology marketing wizard Bill Zastrow. Zastrow left Tower when it was acquied by Vignette a couple years go. Incidentally, Vignette seems to be doing well in the wake of the acquistion. Alfresco, of course, is the Open Source document/content management developer founded by former Documentum personnel. Kevin Cochrane, a former VP of Interwoven has also been brought on board. Alfresco seems to have pretty solid software, but of course, doesn't have an imaging component. So, I guess what FileMark is doing with them is probably similar to what everybody else is doing with SharePoint. Just thought it was worth mentioning.

Ralph

Monday, June 19, 2006

South African company Looking for Software partner

As far as I can tell, this is legit. I have corresponded with the author of this e-mail. He seems to the co-proprietor of South African paper storage company that is looking for a document imagnig software partner. They are unhappy with their current partner. Here's the text of the e-mail I received: (I have not corrected spelling or grammer.)


Hi Ralph

My name is Langa Mkhwanazi from South Africa, I am a partner and in charge of operations in newly formed Document storage and Scanning Company called Safefile. We sort of manage to develop a box storage system software for our Warehouse which cost us a lot of money. We however have been let down Marjory by people that promised to develop a scanning, indexing and viewing software for us, with major financial losses for our business.

Some of our problems are, we depend on these people for the livelihood of our business, in that they control the software with out us getting the source codes as to customize the systems to our clients needs. Some have offered mediocre systems that do not allow us to penetrate industries like the financial sector. Over under above that, we have to sell this viewing software to our customers on their behalf at ridiculous amounts and end up losing on the contract.

I am looking for help in developing our own scanning, indexing and viewing program. We are using Kodac scanners and so are able to scan our documents, but when it comes to indexing and providing solutions via our viewing system for our clients we are no where. We cannot even provide a software that allow our clients to manage their documents, email, fax, create workflows.

We have been bleed dry financial, but we need a Safefile owned software to perform our business, Ralph we don’t even have a workflow for our own scanning services.

We need help and any help will do or we will go down.

Regards,


Langa Mkhwanazi
Operations Director
Safefile (Pty) Ltd
l.mkhwanazi@safefile.co.za

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

More on XPS

Here's an insightful article that discusses some of the features/functionality of XPS, the PDF alternative that Microsoft will release with its Vista OS sometime next year. Interestingly, the writer seems to position XPS the same way that Microsoft partner ScanSoft/Nuance has been positioning its PDF capabilities, as a lower overhead product when compared to Adobe Acrobat, aimed at office workers and their needs, leaving the graphics world to Adobe.

Ralph

Friday, June 02, 2006

Microsoft PDF

It seems Microsoft and Adobe have had a falling out over their agreement to incorporate PDF in Office. We remember when this project was first announced - curiously, it was after Microsoft had launched its XPS "PDF-killer" format. Not surprisingly, Microsoft expects to get sued by Adobe. Microsoft is notorious for pretending to partner with company just so they can get a peek at their technology.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Hummingbird deal

It seems that some Hummingbird investors are up in arms about the $456 million being paid by a California firm to take Hummingbird private. One gentleman has even encouraging voting against it. The hope is that a strategic buyer, like a FileNet or Oracle will be found. I guess, based on $1.5 billion that Documentum got from ECM, Hummingbird shareholders might have a right to be disappointed.

JPEG Patents

There seems to be quite a bit of discussion in our industry about the recent USPTO ruling on the invalidity of major chunks of the JPEG patent that Forgent has leveraged so far to generate some $100 million in revenue. It looks like someone finally got one of these patent rulings right. Hurrah! Let's hope there is more of this to come.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

File Scrub

This looks like some pretty cool and useful document management technology. Aren't these the same guys that originally developed LizardTech's geospacial compression stuff? In fact, it appears LizardTech's old CEO, John "Grizz" Deal might even be involved in this venture as well.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Intriguing New CAS

Here's a new content-addressed storage company founded by the guy that apparently invented Centera. Now, I have trouble telling one CAS device from another, but I assume there are some people out there that really understand this stuff...I'd like to say things were easier when all we had to worry about was optical, but I know that's not the case.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

AIIM Wrap

Another AIIM is in the books. Wow! What a show. It was nice to see everybody who I saw. I apologize to everyone I missed, especially those I had appointments with. I think I need to hire some correspondents just to fully cover the show.

There was a lot of good quality mature technology there. I got to see a lot of scanners, I acted as a Best of Show judge in the workgroup and departmental scanner categories. Compared to five years ago, boy, have feeders and image processing come along way. The real current of the show, however, seemed to be pulling in the direction of server-based computing. More on this in the next issue of DIR - but there are two camps being orgazined. Microsoft supporters are in one and Google supporters are in the other. Guess which side wants to move functionality off the desktop and onto the server?

Based on the fun I had last year with this, I thought I'd offer my informal, very, very informal, DIR Best of AIIM award. Please, take note, these are in now way associated with AIIM sponsored Best of Show awards for which I got to test all the scanners.

Thanks.

Best Product: Scott Blau's SOA-based forms processing product. Love the concept of making data extraction (and also image processing by the way) available as series of services. It is the most efficient way to handle this. Oh yeah, and guess whose side I'm on in the above mentioned debate.
Most polarizing product: The Kofax Avalon/Document Scan Server. People loved it or hated it.
Biggest, only in Philadelphia, inconvenience of the year award: I think we finally figured out how to deal with the Penn graduation on Monday, only to be hit with a city-wide 24-hour taxi-strike on Tuesday. Next year - Boston - the week of the Boston Marathon.
Best Storyteller of the Year: Art Gingrande. Well, they were a little long, but Art is apparently in law school, so he should fit right in.
Best Disappearing Act: Chris Thompson. He was missed by many, but everyone seemed happy for him as well.
Best Soon-To-Be Disappearing Act: Go Reynolds!
Best Digital Copier-related product: Sharp. More SOA stuff.
Best AIIM Chairman of the Year: Don McMahan. Congrats, Don.
Yawner of the year: It was 2 p.m. on Thursday and Xerox was showing me yet another proprietary digital copier capture platform. Sorry about that. The guy demoing it was nice enough, but seriously, I nearly fell asleep on my feet.
Story of the Year: Art's bit about a trash can and a CEO - oh yes, and OCR software.
Dinner of the Year: Suzie Fu's - something like that - French/Asian wonderful food.
Party of the Year: I believe I was singing Karekoke at one point.
Casting the longest shadow: Microsoft
Best Apparent Turnaround: Scan-Optics. Seem to be doing great a year after a major reorg. I guess, we'll see long-term, but CEO Paul Yantis seemed is optimistic.

Cheers

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Why I love AIIM

Yesterday, I've having a conversation about my blog. I mention one that one of my favorite posts occurred while waiting for an hour on the Philadelphia runway when I handed out my impromptu DIR "Best of AIIM Awards." The marketing people I'm sitting with get a laugh when I explain that being trapped on an airplane is a great muse. The software engineer with us mere says, "nice battery."

Anyhow, the big talk out here early seems to revolve around Microsoft SharePoint and its future effect on the ECM market. There is more than one person who thinks it spells doom for people like Open Text and other EDM specialists. Ironically, however, this is also the week of Microsoft's own SharePoint convention, so a lot of their heavy hitters aren't even here. If I'm Open Text, I'm not too worried yet. (I love the way the spell checker in the thing - which is owned by Google I understand - doesn't recognize "SharePoint.)

Ralph

Monday, May 15, 2006

AIIM 2006

So, I'm stuck here in the Erie Airport, waiting for my departing flight to Philly - what a great time to blog. Yup, headin' down to AIIM On Demand - the second year at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. I actually enjoyed last year's show immensely and found Philadelphia easy to get around. (Sorry for any mistakes that follow, need to go through security. We're moving.)

Apparently, there are some T-storms going on this way. Hope your flight isn't too badly delayed. Fortunately, I'm flying direclty there and not using it as a connection, because (Philly is a U.S. Air hub), the people in front of me in line were really screwed up. I'm just going to use my down time here as a substitute for sitting in Starbucks this afternoon and catching up on things and prepping for the show. (Flight from Philly just landed close to on time, but still we're delayed for an hour. Don't quite get it, but oh well.)

Two interesting announcements in preparation for the show this week. The first comes from Kofax, which has finally officially announced it Document Scan Server. The Scan Server is a hardware/software appliance designed to replace ISIS and TWAIN drivers with SOA calls directly to the device. In other words, instead of having to configure a TWAIN interface into your accounting application, you can just write some SOA/Web services calls to get the image. Like a lot of things these days, the Scan Server is designed to bring document imaging further into the mainstream. "No longer do you need a developer that specializes in ISIS or TWAIN, now you can get any engineer that knows standards-based Web services to do you image enablement [enable your application to receive document images directly from a scanner]." That's a big of a paraphrase, but that's pretty much what Anthony Macciola of Kofax told us. It's an interesting venture by Kofax, whose Image Controls driver business has morphed into VRS, and which has cooperted very closely with ISIS Master Developer Pixel over the past few years. It appears Kofax wants its driver buisness back. It definitely has the partnerships with the scanner vendors in place to make this happen.

Kofax partners seem pretty excited about the Document Scan Server, and we recently had an opportunity to talk with an integrator that has had the Boy Scouts of America commit to buying like 250 Scan Servers. Kofax preliminary pricing was $1,000 per unit - but they stressed that volume discounts will be made. The ROI comes in the areas of integration and maitenance, as the Scan Server is designed to enable true server-based deployment and maiteance of Server-based capture. Plenty more on this in my next issue, which comes out tomorrow.

Interestingly, Datacap also made an SOA-centric announcment today. It make it TaskMaster flagship application available as a service. (I apologize, I couldn't find it as a link, so here's the complete text:

Datacap Releases Taskmaster Web Service,
the Industry’s First SOA Capture Solution


On Demand Image Processing, Recognition, Validations and
Export Formatting for any Platform

May 15, 2006, Tarrytown, NY – Datacap announced today the release of Taskmaster Web Service, a new approach for users to capture document images via the Internet. Whether an organization is running FileNet Capture, Kofax Ascent Capture or another capture product, they can expand their capture capabilities whenever and wherever needed simply by calling the Web service.

“Datacap continually leverages key technology developments to provide maximum flexibility to organizations looking to increase data-entry and document-indexing efficiency and accuracy,” said Datacap CEO Scott Blau. “Taskmaster Web Service brings a whole new level of flexibility. Users can take advantage of Datacap’s procedural rules engine to control document identification, field recognition, data validation, and export formatting – all without any programming.

Taskmaster Web Service takes advantage of the Service Oriented Architecture trend to decouple traditional forms processing and advanced document capture capabilities from the capture platform. This makes it easy to set up rules that will run exactly the same on documents whether they are scanned locally or remotely, whether they are processed in one capture system, such as Kofax Ascent Capture, or another, like Datacap Taskmaster. Simplified rules administration – without programming – means less administrative overhead for a capture application. Centralized, Web-service based processing also makes it easier to monitor multiple capture applications efficiently sharing the same resources.

Those using FileNet Capture, Kofax Ascent Capture or other capture platforms can use Taskmaster Web Service to add enhanced capture capabilities not standard in their existing platforms. As user needs change, organizations can add the capture pieces they need via the Web Service. Taskmaster Web Service integrates with third party capture platforms and can easily provide added capabilities, saving organizations the expense and effort of replacing their existing capture investment.

An early adopter of the Taskmaster Web Service has built an application that sends fax images to the Service to capture addressee information with advanced recognition. The fax management application was developed independently as a Microsoft .NET executable. The functionality for natural handwriting recognition was added with only a few lines of code to call the Web Service and interpret the results.

Availability
Taskmaster Web Service is available immediately. For pricing and system requirements, contact Datacap at sales@datacap.com.

Comment: This application would seem to be the perfect compliment to the Document Scan Server, as it puts the entire data capture portion of document imaging on a servier - makes it available as a service. So, once you capture the image with one of these Scan Servers, you feed it to Datacap and off you go.

Ralph

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Good quarters

Capture specialists Dicom and Top Image Systems both announced strong first quarters - another sign of the current stength of the imaging industry.

Also, I'll apologize in advance for anyone I miss at the upcoming AIIM show in Philly next week.

Thanks.

Ralph

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Carman at Computhink

Congrats to Paul Carman, who has accepted the job a president of Computhink. Computhink is a Chicago-based document imaging/workflow/records management software vendor. Last I knew, they were trying to build a VAR channel. I actually applied for a business development job there a few years back, but was turned down. Always thought Chicago would be a cool place to live. Paul's been around the imaging block, so to speak, a few times. He started with Kodak, moved into the IMC, which he helped sell to AIIM, was with an ASP firm for awhile, and most recently has been an EVP with Document Boss - a job search/M&A organization based in the U.K. We wish Paul the best in his latest endeavor and are looking forward to catching up.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Pegasus Releases Latest toolkit version

Improved .NET functionality, better support for thumbnail viewing and improved image processing.

INSCII acquisiton completed

In case you were wondering what happened to the old INSCII high-volume COLD and document imaging business...

Secure document imaging

Talking about introducing more security into your processes...

Forms processing news

Here's a story from ReadSoft, about an invoice processing installation that leverages the company's links into the Microsoft Great Plains accounting system.

Also, Datacap and FCPA have gotten together with an organization for accounts payable professionals to put together a survey on invoice processing. I coundn't find a link, so here's the text:


End-User Survey on Invoice Scanning and Capture Sponsored by Datacap, Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc. and IOMA

Analysis and Report to Be Presented By Power Decisions Group
Tarrytown, NY – May 4, 2006 – Datacap Inc. announced today that it has partnered with the Institute of Management Administration (IOMA) to conduct the industry’s first customer data-driven survey exclusively focused on invoice scanning and data capture benefits, success factors and barriers. The survey is being distributed to more than 50,000 accounts payable, financial management and IT professionals worldwide throughout the month of May.



With more than 19,000 members, IOMA provides practical information to the accounts payable profession, including the Report on Managing Accounts Payable newsletter, special reports, conferences, and training seminars. The IOMA/TAPN Accounts Payable Certification Programs have enabled thousands of AP professionals to prove their skills and distinguish themselves by passing a comprehensive exam. “This survey is a great supplement to our own ongoing research,” said Andrew Dzamba, IOMA’s Editor of Accounts Payable publications. “We expect this survey to provide the most detailed information to date on how AP managers are leveraging scanning and capture technology to streamline AP and reduce cost.”



Survey results will be analyzed and interpreted by Power Decisions Group, a marketing research firm, based in San Francisco. The survey results will be presented in a special report, published in May 2006. Datacap, Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc. and IOMA will also sponsor a webinar in June to present findings from the report. The finished report will be made available to all survey participants free of charge. “We welcome Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc. and IOMA in recognizing the importance of end-user research, particularly in this high growth segment of the capture market” said Arthur Gehring Director of Marketing at Datacap.



Analyst firm Aberdeen Group has benchmarked more than 875 companies and investigated several dozen enterprise-AP strategies and the use of supporting technologies. According to a recent Aberdeen report, “Electronic Invoicing Solution Selection Report: Leading an Accounts Payable Extreme Make Over,” electronic invoicing strategies, including scan and capture, can reduce accounts payable transaction cost between 63% and 67%. Survey data revealed that: “79% of AP managers see ‘automation’ as the key enabler to future success.”



The goal of the Invoice Capture study is to identify current behavior and the key factors driving organizations in their invoice scanning and capture decisions. The survey was designed to encompass those who have already embarked on an invoice capture strategy as well as those who are examining its feasibility.



To participate in this survey and receive a free copy of the survey results when available – visit www.datacap.com/survey.

About Datacap
Since 1988, Datacap Inc. has provided leading document capture and forms processing software solutions to organizations worldwide. Datacap Taskmaster software efficiently transforms paper into information, increasing efficiency and data accuracy while reducing costs and document cycle time. A client/server, rules-based capture workflow platform, Taskmaster provides highly flexible solutions for both document image indexing and data entry automation. Taskmaster also enables scanning and indexing from a browser and integrates with all leading document management solutions, databases and ERP systems. http://www.datacap.com/

IOMA
IOMA is the acknowledged leader in providing practical information to the accounts payable profession. From Report on Managing Accounts Payable newsletter and our numerous special reports to its highly-regarded conferences and training seminars, IOMA’s contributions to AP education are considered the gold standard around the world. The IOMA/TAPN Accounts Payable Certification Programs have enabled thousands of AP professionals to prove their skills and distinguish themselves by passing a comprehensive exam. All IOMA AP products offer APCP certification CEU credits. http://www.ioma.com



About Fujitsu
Fujitsu is a leading provider of customer-focused IT and communications solutions for the global marketplace. Pace-setting device technologies, highly reliable computing and communications products, and a worldwide corps of systems and services experts uniquely position Fujitsu to deliver comprehensive solutions that open up infinite possibilities for its customers' success. Headquartered in Tokyo, Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.8 trillion yen (US$40.6 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2006. For more information, please see: http://www.fujitsu.com

About Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc.
Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc. conducts engineering and marketing activities in Sunnyvale, CA and sales operations throughout the United States. Fujitsu Computer Products of America currently offers products and services including scanners and scanner maintenance, hard disk drives, Magneto-Optical drives, palm vein recognition technology and 10Gb Ethernet switches. Fujitsu Computer Products of America is located at 1255 East Arques Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA, 94085. For more information about Fujitsu products and services, call us at 800-626-4686 or 408-746-7000. For more information, please see: http://www.fcpa.fujitsu.com

About Power Decisions Group
Power Decisions Group is a market research company focused on marketing strategy. Using market research and decision clarification tools, PDG stays focused on each client’s decision-making agenda. Clients benefit from the right marketing research information for uncovering marketing strategy solutions that work. http://www.powerdecisions.com

Friday, April 28, 2006

LIRR Personnel Records Lost

I guess this could be an argument in favor of document imaging. Iron Mountain seems to have lost personnel data for 17,000 Long Island Transit Authority workers. There also seems to be some discrepancy as to whether it was a theft of an accident.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Cut Off Date For Rooms at AIIM

This year's AIIM Conference and Expo is fast approaching, and Questex Media Group, which is putting on the event, asked us to remind attendees and exhibitors that they rooms they have blocked off need to be reserved by Friday,April 21, or they will be released. The Expo is set to run Tuesday May, 16 through Thursday May 18, with the Conference starting on Monday. If you need to make hotel reservations, please try this link.
Thanks.

Ralph

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Faxes

Do you ever wonder why with all this great and affordable document scanning technology available that people continue to use fax machines. Well, let me tell you a story about something that happened to me this morning. I think it illustrates why: At about 5 a.m. I guess (or so my wife told me), my office phone started ringing. I woke up around 7 and sure enough, it's still ringing. So, I go downstairs and answer a call, figuring it must be something important. Turns out it was someone trying to call a bank. Okay, strange that they would have been calling since five, but I tell them sorry, wrong number. Then, in quick succession I get like five more similar calls. Finally, I ask, "what number are you calling?" and the person says 866-2247-1234 or something. The mistake is obvious. Apparently, the bank had today changed its number and this was the new toll free number, but these people didn't realize you had to dial "one" first and the locals were being connected to my line after dialing the first seven digits. So, I disconnect my phone, leaving a message for people to call my cell phone.

This afternoon the bank calls. They apologize and tell me they have cancelled the number after Verizon said they couldn't change their automated message to tell callers to dial "1" first. In Verizon's opinion, it should have been obvious to callers that they needed to dial "1." Well, I can attest that it certainly was not. Similarly, it may seem obvious to us that people should scan instead of fax, but guess what?

Just keep that in mind.

Thanks.

Ralph

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Here's a nice contract won recently by SourceCorp.Also, EFI and Nuance just announced a partnership. Once of Nuance's goals to make PaperPort the universal client for desktop document management.

Monday, April 10, 2006

eCopy Paper Connection

A boatload of news came out of eCopy's Paper Connection event held last week in Ft. Lauderdale. This includes new connectors for ECM applications from Hyland, FileNet, and Documentum (the AIX/OTG stuff.) There is also a new SharePoint connector. LaserFiche and one of its partners were presented with a developer's award. There were also several vertical market-oriented best practices awards given to end users. Finally, Konica Minolta and Lanier both announced they would begin distributing ShareScan. Here's a link to the releases.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Kofax Transform

Just finished up attending Kofax's annual Transform reseller event in not-so-sunny Southern California. Was a very solid event held at Dana Point - a resort town just south of LA. Kofax made plenty of exciting product announcements that will showing up in the next few issues of DIR, as they become available for public consumption. Here's one that's good to go now. It involves Adobe's LiveCycle Barcoded Forms product. Sounds like Adobe is having some success using this product to combine e-forms and paper forms applications. Tax processing was the first big market we I.D.'d. Healthcare seems like it also might be a fertile area. Signature requirements on e-forms that could otherwise be submitted electronically are the big driver. Kofax resellers will now be able to sell an Ascent-embedded version of the product.

Also, at the event, Visioneer launched its first official departmental model - although there seems to have been some confusion between Visioneer and Infotrends about where a couple of its existing models fit into the market. The new 632 bosts a legal-sized flatbed and is rated at 35 ppm/70 ipm for a list of just under $2,000.

Ralph

Thursday, March 30, 2006

AIIM Distributed Capture Webinar

Yes, we've heard a lot of talk in our industry about distributed capture and its benefits. But here's a Webinar that promises to explore some of its dark side. Sounds good, because I've definitely talked to a few systems administrators who have been more than happy to extol their reasons for not liking distributed catpure.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Xerox, Visioneer in the News

It looks like Xerox has introduced another interesting update to its DocuShare ECM product. We've generally heard good things about this inexpensive platform and it looks like they've hit quite a few hot points with version 5.0. This includes improved collaboration, workflow, and records management. Also, hats off to Visioneer Sales and Marketing VP Don McMahan for his recognition by CRN. Seems, the sheer number of VARs Visioneer has signed up in the past year has attracted some attention. Looks like another big year for workgroup scanner sales all around.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Fujitsu mid-volume production scanner

Ran across a couple interesting things while doing some Web research today. First, this listing for the fi-5900C has shown up on the FCPA Web site. Looks like FCPA is trying to go upstream pretty far and compete with the higher end Kodak i600 and Bowe Bell & Howell Spectrum stuff. I'm assuming they're going to come in with a very attractive price, because I haven't heard too many poor performance reports about the two aforementioned scanners. Also, it seems Bowe Bell & Howell has expanded its support agreement Kodak.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

ACS Child Support

ACS continues to dominate the child support payment processing market. We recently did a story discussing how they had licensed some technology from Denver-based Open Scan, after Open Scan beat them out for a few contracts.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Homeland security

This is interesting. I know document imaging, taxonomy, and search companies all stood to benefit from upgraded homeland security. I guess this begs the question - because our technology actually saves money, does it become more imperative in these types of processes now?

Googe Buys Word Processing Company

What do you think the desktop is going to look like in 10 years?

Friday, March 10, 2006

SAT Snafu

Here's an article that details some of the reasons for the mistakes that were made recently on SAT scoring. It seems less-than-perfect OMR performance is at least partially to blame. Pearson NCS gets hit pretty hard in this article.

Here's the response we got from Scantron's Tim Dubes when we asked him to comment on the situation:

"While we really don't want to be perceived as grave dancers--and keep in mind that even state of the art OMR is not going to produce 100% accurate results in all applications--there appears to be a number of areas that the SAT test scoring system could be improved. Remember that this is a complete solution that is being called into question, not just individual technologies. So while a significant technology advancement like Scantron's SIMR (Scantron's Intelligent Mark Recognition) can greatly improve recognition accuracy in less than optimal conditions (including damaged forms, lower confidence marks, damaged tracking marks, and the like), it is only part of an overall solution. In the case of the SAT scoring, the inability of the software to accurately flag degraded forms and marks that fall below the necessary confidence threshold could have contributed to the poor results.

"One of the key points that Scantron makes to our customers, particularly in the education field, is accountability. This means that we are responsible for all the components of the solution: we make the software application, we build our own hardware, we design & print the forms in our own facility, and we provide complete training and professional services with our own employees. Sole source accountability removes a lot of variables, and allows us to control the data capture environment, whether we are installing a customer-driven solution or providing the complete data collection solution on an outsourced basis. This also eliminates a lot of the variables from cross-vendor solutions and gives Scantron and it's customers the confidence to move forward with recognition-based technology for mission critical applications. I'm certain that the students' that are negatively affected by the SAT scoring issue would consider it to me a mission critical application."

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

New capture devices

I'd say new scanners, but actually, Kodak's new device is a network scanstation. Here's a review of it by our friend Doug Henschen at Intelligent Enterprise.
Also, HP, the original network scan-only device vendors with their Digital Sender, have announced three new workgroup scanners. Yes, they've added true duplex capabilities and also introduced a new sheet-fed only model. The capture software, aimed at the desktop user is pretty cool also.

More detail in next week's DIR.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Stellent Dividend

This is kind of wierd. Incidentally, it seems to have helped the stock price, which has been climbing steadily since last May.Is this some kind of a new trend? Will we see more ECM companies following suit? Or, is Stellent just trying to differentiative itself and get more notice on the stock market? At the end of the year, they only had $60 million in cash and short-term investments in the bank, so they're not exactly flush with cash. We thought they might use some of that to buy a capture vendor. A dividend? Well, if it works...

RG

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Dicom News

Big news out of the Dicom Group in the last couple of days. First off, on Tuesday, they announced the acquisition of LCI, an IDR software developer out of Germany. The company seems to advertise technology similar to that of SWT. It was founded by academics, however, and like Mohomine, and to some extent Neurascript, was more technology than marketing driven it appears - although Kofax told me LCI has some 70 customers.

Then, today, Dicom announced it would be discontinuing its Samsung distribution business - the SGA portion of its business. This has been in the works for a long time, and the division had been up for sale, but apparently no buyers. Once again, I'll give Dicom tremendous props for their vision to move out of this business - which I think is how the company started - and into document imaging. Ironically, it seems to have taken the hiring for a former distribution as CEO - Rob Klatell who spent more than 30 years as an executive a components distributor Arrow Electronics - to ring the final bell for SGA. I guess Klatell knows a healthy distribution arrangement when he sees one...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

TIS Posts Strong 4th Quarter

Dare we say that Top Image Systems looks like its in pretty good shape? The company recently posted a fairly strong fourth quarter, has $8 million in the bank, and appears to be headed in the right direction for both growth and profitability. I'd compared them to Captiva a few years back, but they are still a bit too small. OF course, Top Image has also struggled for years to establish a foothold in North America. But now that they have established themselves in Japan, and seem to have turned a corner, maybe NA is next - with acquistion or merger being the best route.

I wonder if EMC knows who they are?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Ricoh Awards

This is pretty cool. A lot of these guys offer document capture solutions. I guess all it takes is 100-grand to get some serious traction on your embedded copier solution. I betcha' Canon wishes they would have done this with MEAP. Just kidding. We'll wait to see some of these products out on the market before we pass judgment.

Friday, February 17, 2006

IBM MFPs

It appears IBM is entering the MFP hardware business. Wonder who they are OEMing from? The eight-inch color touchscreen for scanned image previews sounds pretty cool.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Scientigo customer

It seems our friends at Scientigo have landed another customer. Scientigo is an IDR capture developer that we profiled a couple months ago. They are also the guys who claim to have patented XML. Their latest customer is Critical Technologies, on Oklahoma City-based software developer that formerly were the FilesOnTheNet ASP guys. Like Scientigo, they seem to be a fairly small organization with some solid technology.

Imaging In Healthcare

I love this, this HIS vendor has released an "enteprise-wide document management system" that's called "Department Imaging."

Also, here's a Dallas-based ECM vendor that has released a healthcare specific document and image management system.

It seems the HIMSS (Health Information Management Systems Society) conference is taking place in San Diego this week.

Check out the 7th paragraph in this article... The one that starts with Virtua Health. "More recently, Virtua selected Initiate to perform file analysis and eliminate fragmented and duplicate records as part of its move toward a document imaging system." I'd be interested to know exactly what that involves...

RG

Open Source Systems

Here's an interesting post about a college kid who's pretty proud of his $125 document imaging system. No, it's not going to stand up to enterprise stress, but it's a neat starting point, and I think a peek into the future.

Also, it appears Alfresco, the Open Source DM specialist founded by former Documentum execs, has secured some more funding. I don't know, but the $8 million figure seems like a low amount for such an ambitious venture, but maybe we're harkening back to the dot-com days when VCs had money in wheelbarrows. Then again, Alfresco (from when we talked with them) seemed to have a pretty efficient business model, so maybe they don't need that much.

RG

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Can Reynolds be far behind?

Not that Mr. Bish is going to end up at AuthentiDate, but I guess you never know, they do have some pretty good technology... Anyways, I was a bit surprised to see that one of Captiva's top salesmen had taken a job with docSTAR. docSTAR is an SMB targeted application - so at least it's in a high growth area of the market, but it's clearly a much less established business than Captiva was.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Recent news

Here's an interesting story announcing John Harland acquiring an ECM software vendor. Harland is an $800 million entity that has a financial services software business, Harland Financial Solutions (HFS), that acquired Mitek Systems' check and imaging business a couple years back. Harland corporate also owns Scantron. I wonder of the Mitek stuff wasn't working out.

Also, here's a deal between a couple companies we saw at Visioneer's recent partner event.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Kodak Breakaway

At the Kodak Breakaway 2006 show. Their resellers extravaganza for Document Imaging. Had a lot of great converstations here. It's really a well attended event. I think there were like 500 people. Last night was the ISV show and there was plenty of new blood exhibiting. We saw Cabinet NG there, advertisting its imaging for QuickBooks. Also saw FileBound, maybe somebody called Scanning America. There were also a lot of old school resellers in the house.

Sat on a media panel the past couple days with Harvey Spencer, Ken Congdon, Brian Sherman, Ron Galz of IDC, Mike from InfoTrends, and even Doug Henschen was in the house for the first day. (I apologize for any misspelled names.)

Big concern of the VARs in the audience was digital copier dealers and how to compete with them. My basic view is that a decent scanning soluiton on a digital copier can be expensive and that resellers can definitely compete on price with workgroup scanners and know-how about the imaging industry.

The other big point I was trying to make, and I don't know if I had the full support of the rest of the panel on this, was that VARs need to focus vertically if they want to thrive in the next 10 years. Imaging as a horizontal solution is becoming a commodity. And new protocols in areas like SOA, XML, and Web services are going to make it easier to "image-enable" vertcle packages. This is where the margins are going to be.

Recently spoke with a VAR CSI, down here in FL, that has sold a tremendous redaction solution to some county courts that automates a process associated with a new regulation. These guys seem way ahead of the game on this and their sales number are up like three times thanks to it. They were already working with the courts on some extraction stuff, and because they were focused were able to come up with this redcaction thing. So, now they have a repeatable solution (even filed for some patents) that they can sell around the country. It's driving revenue and I'm assuming it's driving profits.

RG

DRS Acquires Peladon

Peladon Software, out of San Diego, has got a pretty nice buyout from U.K.-based DRS. Peladon is the intelligent forms processing sofware developer that was founded by some former Mitek employees, as well as a U.K.-based Mitek partner. Peladon has created a fairly effective IDR application working with a variety of recognition engines. Peladon has a "high-confidence character inspection" module that we featured in a post-AIIM issue.

Peladon seemed to have a decent install base in the U.K. and had one big U.S. customer in SunGard. They sold the company for what looks like $4-5 million to English service bureau and forms processing sysems specialist DRS. DRS, to me, seems like an English version of Scantron.

DRS paid a good healthy price(about 2 1/2 times revenue). I also think Peladon has some good software. This is more evidence of the health of the capture space and the valuation that some of the advanced technologies have. RG

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Visioneer awards

Just returned from Visioneer's inaugural partners conference at the Vinoy in St. Pete's. Excellent first-time event. Saw a lot of new faces in the VAR channel there, which has to be expected, based on the phenominal growth we've been seeing in the workgroup scanner market. Susan Moyse was on hand, and she told the crowd that more than 260,000 workgroup scanners moved in 2005, the fourth straight year of 80% segment growth or more. She has projected that more than 900,000 workgroup scanners will be sold by 2009, which is starting to approach the number of segment 2-5 copiers sold per year - the ones that compete with document scanners. I guess I'm saying sombody has to be selling all these scanners - and a lot are being sold by new blood in the imaging industry. As a relatively new player in this space, Visioneer seems to be attracting some of that new blood - as well as some of the old standbys.

Here's a link to some of the announcements that came out of the conference.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Capture news

Interwoven has signed on as a reseller for Kofax. They previously had a strong relationship, but this would seem to make it stronger. No, I don't think this is just a step before Interwoven buys Kofax.

Datacap partner Applied Docs formally introduces a solution aimed at reducing the time it takes for trucks to clear customs at the U.S.-Canadian border. DIR featured this story a couple months back.

Latest

Traveling this week at Visioneer's first-ever partner conference in St. Petersburg. Good turnout of ISVs, resellers, and press/analysts. I believe just over 100 attendees are scheduled to be here. I'm supposed to give a keynote in a couple hours - talking on the growth of distributed scanning and capture in the SMB space - two areas driving the rapid growth of the workgroup segment where Visioneer now competes.

On the other end of the spectrum, of course, is Scan-Optics, which recently announced a couple of SO Series machines going into Time Customer Service. We realize Scan-Optics is going through some transitions, but we were worried that we hadn't heard enough success stories from them lately. So this is good news.

RG

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Records management

This is a pretty cool idea. Automated designation of records by FileNet's Records Crawler technology. Need to find some more info. on this. Speaking of RM, AIIM has announced an ERM certification program. They are running it themselves and offering four levels of certification through a combination of online and in person instruction. More on this in our next issue - due out next week.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Nuance JPEG

It appears Nuance, formerly known as ScanSoft, has become the latest JPEG compression user to come to a settlement with Forgent. Interesting because Nuance has some patents of its own around one-touch document scanning technology that they recently began exploring. Plus, how much JPEG does Nuance use? Maybe they use some algorithms in their PDF technology.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

ACS "No Deal"

As you probably saw, the ACS deal didn't go through. Not sure what this means to the outsourcing industry as a whole, aside from the fact that ACS will continue to be a formidable competitor - just like they always have been - to image-based data entry shops in North America and worldwide.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Latest news

OPEX has released a new version of its AS3600 document scanner. The original 3600 is featured in this week's DIR, where we discuss some of the success the company has been having. The original 3600 was first introduced at TAWPI 2003.

Also, kudos to Hyland for reaping some awards in the healthcare IT market. Hyland is also featured in this week's DIR. Over the past four years, Hyland's software has been installed at more than 400 healthcare providers.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

ACS to be sold?

Here's something that's pretty interesting. Lason has already been acquired. I guess SourceCorp would be next.

TIS Subsidiary Gaining Momentum

It looks like Top Image Systems 2004 acquisition of Japanese reseller Toyo, Inc, is starting to pay off. TIS Corporate recently reported that TIS Japan would account for 20% of the company's revenue in 2005. Through the first three quarters of 2005, TIS had reported 63% growth over 2004, and a conservative estimate would place its 2005 corporate revenue at $16 million. This means TIS Japan accounted for a little over $3 million with TIS counting on it to grow to more than $5 million in 2006.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Layoffs at EMC

This doesn't sound good for Captiva employees. I will say that I thought Captiva handled the Documentum acquisition pretty well and didn't cut too much there. This article also seems to indicate that the company wants to continue to put more focus on software- and after paying $275 million for Captiva, you wouldn't expect them to gut it too bad.

RG

Former Apprentice Contestent Touts Book Scanner

I find Donald Trump's The Apprentice to be highly entertaining television. Maybe it's just the way "the Donald" carries himself. He's kind of like the Deion Sanders of the business world. Yeah, he's a showboat, but he appears to have the credentials to back it up.

Anyways, if you follow DIR, you know I have a place in my heart for book scanning and this company called Atix just launched itself and is promoting a $35,000 book scanner. The CEO is Nick Warnock, former Xerox copier salesman and Apprentice contestent. He's currently at the CES show in Vegas - where Google's top brass was supposed to make some big announcement today. Obviously ATIZ is targeting Google as a potential customer.

RG

Thursday, January 05, 2006

DM Compliance

This article discusses a couple of proposed changes in the Federal trial system that are direclty related to document management systems. Doesn't seem like too big a deal on the surface, but this attorney wants to compare it to Chernobyl. Maybe I need to talk to some of my lawyer friends. The article mainly focuses on e-mail, but the amendments would seem to include all sorts of records related to federal court cases.

-- Thanks to Harvey Spencer for sending us the link.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Holiday press releases

Hope everyone's holiday's went well. In an effort to expediate press release posting, I'm going to try linking to some of them from my blog - as it alleviates posting problems that I encounter when trying to copy and past differently formatted documents.

Here's one about a Canon/Captaris partnership that is pretty interesting. one the questions that has arisen is what does this mean for eCopy, which is also a Captaris and Canon partner. Is Canon looking for a way to bypass eCopy?

Here's one about Westbrook Technologies signign up two new reseller partners. Nothing to huge, but we are wondering how Westrbook's SOA initiatives are going to affect their channel.

Here's a very comprehensive story from our friends at IBML about an large installation with a U.K. service bureau. Interesting thing here is that the whole thing is being done in color.

Thanks to the folks at Hyland and reseller IMR for helping to keep my state's spending in check.

Top Image Systems nails another transporation deal.

Oce ODT is doing some cool stuff with OCR/ICR technology to aid in redaction procedures.