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.