Friday, December 21, 2007

Captaris-ODT

Captaris has agreed to acquire Oce Document Technologies (ODT) for some $15 million net, when considering ODT's $29 million in the bank. ODT brings fax-server market leader Captaris some serious document capture technology as it attempts to transition into the world of document capture. We first learned of Captaris' close ties with ODT when discussing a new capture-for-SharePoint module that is being introduced for their RightFax product. [See article in our latest issue.]

The deal also includes Captaris accepting responsibility for some $17 million in retirement and bonus obligations, so it will end up costing Captaris somewhere around $30 million. For this, Captaris' receives a 180-employee company, headquartered in Constance, Germany, with a run-rate of approximately $33 million. This is down from the 300-employee, $40 million company that we reported Oce acquired when it bought CGK in 2000 [see DIR 5/5/00]. Oce, does, however, through ODT's CGK roots, continue to develop some of the premier OCR/ICR technology for data capture on the market. Almost all the market leaders in the IDR and forms processing space utilize ODT's technology. It will be interesting to see how Captaris manages these relationships, while at the same time pursues its own distributed capture initiatives.

In North America, ODT focuses primarily on OEM sales, while in Germany, it has a full-service capture solutions business.

Monday, November 26, 2007

J&B Acquisition

Payment/remittance processing specialist J&B Software, out of Bala Cynwood, PA was recently acquired by India-based software and services provider 3i Infotech. According to a J&B press release, 3i has $300 million in annual revenue. According to 3i's latest financial report, 31% of the compay's business last quarter was in India, 25% in the U.S., with Western Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Asia Pacific combining fo the remaining 44%.

J&B was founded by Indian-native Bala Balasubramanian, who resigned from the company following the completion of the acquistion.

One thing we will keep an eye on is the relationship between 3i and document and data capture specialist Top Image Systems (TIS). From all accounts, TIS and J&B had been executing fairly successfully on a recently formed partnerhip, which we expect to continue through the acquisition. Looking forther down the road, both TIS and 3i have global ambitions and global infrastructures. We suspect these shared visions could lead to an even tighter relationship.

Cheers.

Ralph

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Lawsuits Down

Using a slower day to go through some back e-mails, I came across this fairly comprehensive summary detailing the results of a survey on corporate legal affairs. Surprisingly, it indicates that lawsuits in 2006-2007 were down from the previous year. The survey was conducted by a law firm, which corresponded with some 250 coroporations.

The summary doesn't speculate that improved RM is one of the reasons for the reduced rate of corporate lawsuits, but findings like, "...81% of U.S. companies said they had reviewed their retention policies over the previous 12 months," indicate to me that better RM might have something to do with it. Another interesitng tidbit I is the new Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are not having much effect on litigation practices to date. This is something we predicted a couple years ago, as the rules as we read them, didn't seem to have too much teeth.

As I said, the survey summary is fairly lengthy, but it's at least worth giving a cursory read-through. It touches on relevent topics like e-discovery, RM, records retention, and all that good stuff.

Cheers.

Ralph

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Visioneer-BBH Scanners Announce Partnership

Visioneer and Bowe Bell + Howell Scanners have announced a development agreement, which will lead to products early next year. The companies aren't commenting specifically on products yet, but with BBH specializing in the higher end of the market and Visioneer in the distributed side, it definitely makes for some intirguing possibilities. BBH also seems very interested in leveraging Visioneer's OneTouch scanning interface and toolkit for application integration, as well as its Xerox OEM channel. If you take these two companies product lines and channels and combine them together, you have something that can go toe-to-toe against heavyweights FCPA and Kodak. They are also both very close partners with Kofax.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Bish named Dicom CEO

In a somewhat stunning development, the Dicom Group named Reynolds Bish as CEO this morning. DIR had first suggested this move when Dicom announced it was looking for a CEO late July. Dicom after all has been struggling to get its market capitalization above its annual revenue of $400 million - this despite being fairly conistently profitable and having over $100 million in the bank. Bish built his reputation on raising Captiva's market cap from less than $20 million in 2002 to more than $200 million by the time the company was sold to EMC for $275 million in late 2005.

Part of the problem with Dicom's current valuation on the London Stock Exchange where it primarily trades, may be that the company is still perceived as a distributor of hardware products, a business model that clearly isn't valued very highly by U.K. investors. U.K.-based distribution competitor Headway was recently sold for something like half its annual revenue. As Bish has a background in software, unlike his predecessor as Dicom CEO, Rob Klatell, whose background was closer to distribution, he is a much better choice to distance Dicom from its roots as a hardware distributor.

Dicom broke into the software business in 1999 when it acquired Kofax for $70 million. At the time, Dicom was a $123 million company and Kofax was generating $33 million in annual revenue. Now, software generates approximately 60% of Dicom's revenue, with Kofax's document capture business leading the way. Bish's hiring, and the fact that he will be based in Irvine, the site of Kofax's headquarters, firmly cements Kofax's position, as the crown jewel in the Dicom business portfolio. This is a position its held financially for years. It's good to see Kofax being handed over the adminstrative reins as well.

Check out our exclusive interview with Bish in next week's issue of DIR.

RG

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fujitsu-S300

Here's a preliminary review of the new Fujitsu S300 mobile scanner. It was announced today and lists for $295, which is slightly less than the Visioneer Strobe XP 300 lists for. Plus the Fujitsu scanner has an ADF. It's got the operating system as ScanSnap, execpt that it doesn't include Adobe Acrobat in the software bundle.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Headway Sold

European imaging distributer Headway has been sold to U.S.-based Avnet. Looks like they paid less than half of one-time revenue for the division that includes Headway.

Vignette hits bump

It looks like high-end document imaging/WCM specialist Vignette hit a small bump this quarter. At least they are still making money. I must admit that I was crediting a lot of their recent success to their acquisition of Autstrian imaging power Tower (was it Software or Technology?) and was a bit worried when they started talking about their hopes for next-generation WCM systems to boost revenue in the second half of 2007.

I love the reference to "cloud computing" (which I think is the SaaS model) in this article about Adobe's recent word processing acquisition.

Nuance and Iron Mountain both made recent acqusitions that move them further into the health care vertical. Nuance, which has a very successful speech-to-text business with its Dragon Naturally Speaking product line for medical transcriptions, acquired a medical imagnig (not document imaging) company. Iron Mountain bought on off-site medical records sepcialist. On a somewhat related note, our pediatrician's office is currently moving to an EMR system and actually told my wife they were trying to do more diagnoses on the phone to avoid havnig patients come in during the transition. Of course, our son had a double ear-infection that they couldn't properly diagnose over the phone, so we had to go in a couple days later anyhow. And then they supposedly electronically faxed the perscription to the pharmacy, which never got it, and the pharmacist made some comment along the lines of "that stuff never works when they try it." Oh well, score one (or two I guess) for the luddites.

Ralph

Ralph

Monday, October 01, 2007

Adobe Word Processing

Adobe is doing some pretty cool stuff to attack Microsoft Office:

From an e-mail I received from their PR agency:
"Adobe Systems Incorporated today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Virtual Ubiquity and its ground-breaking online word processor, Buzzword. The acquisition furthers Adobe's commitment to foster a vibrant ecosystem for rich Internet application (RIA) development that delivers breakthrough experiences built on Adobe AIR. Separately, Adobe added a new file sharing service to its current online document services. Codenamed "Share," the beta service will make it easier than ever for people to share, publish and organize documents online....

"Buzzword, an elegant online word processor, enables individuals to work together to create high quality, page perfect documents. Because it was built with Adobe Flex software and runs in the Adobe Flash Player, Buzzword enables greater document quality, outstanding typography, page layout controls, and robust support for integrated graphics, regardless of the browser or device. The application also will run on Adobe AIR, offering users a hybrid online/offline experience and the ability to work with both hosted and local documents. The powerful collaboration capabilities in Buzzword enable multiple authors to edit and comment on documents from anywhere, at anytime, while document creators can set permissions that virtually eliminate version control chaos. For more information on the acquisition and access to Buzzword beta software, please visit http://www.adobe.com/go/buzzwordfaq....

"Adobe also made available today a free online document sharing service, codenamed "Share." Users simply select the documents they want to share, send a message to recipients, and set whether the files will be publicly accessible or restricted. Built with Adobe Flex technology, the rich interface provides a smooth experience, integrating simple workflows to upload and share documents with high quality online previews to speed up finding the right document. Additionally, the beta will include a set of REST APIs to let developers create mash-ups with their applications, including storing and accessing files, as well as creating thumbnails and Flash-based previews of documents. People can learn more about the service and sign-up for access at http://www.adobe.com/go/labs_share."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

ACS SharePoint

ACS is entering the SharePoint customization business. SharePoint is an interesting ECM framework, but definitely creates some opportunities for development work on top of it. It kind of opens things up a bit in this market, making pricing/solutions delivery a bit more flexible. Would a user rather pay for services associated with Sharepoint or more developed ECM software from more traditonal vendors?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Procure-to-pay, order-to cash

For the past couple weeks, I've been trying to get my arms around the whole concept of procure-to-pay and order-to-cash and understand how capture, document imaging, and workflow can be used to increase efficiencies across the board and tie all these things together.

Had a great conversation recently with Mark Fairchild, a senior VP at BancTec, who explained how these elements can be employed in a shared services-type environment to maximize a user's investments in document imaging technology.

Indicative of the potential of this type of deployment for capture vendors are three recent deals announced by Top Image Systems (TIS) through its partnership with J&B Software. TIS is an Israel-based forms processing specialist and J&B is a Philly-area remittance/payments specialist. The impressive thing about these deals from the TIS perspective is their size, which averages $300,000 per installation. These are not just payment processing customers adding a little bit of forms technology to round out their solutions. These guys are obviously doing some pretty heavy duty capture.

We will continue to provide you with coverage on this emerging market for document imaging technology.

Ralph

Monday, September 24, 2007

SharePoint 2008 Show

Somebody recently pointed to us that Microsoft has a big SharePoint event scheduled the same time as AIIM 2008. Bill Gates is supposed to speak at this thing. Based on all attention that Microsoft and SharePoint received at AIIM 2007, this seems like an unfortunately coincidence. It is a conincidence, isn't it?

Ralph

Xerox Color; Open Text invoices

Xerox announced its latest color printing products today, which are being advertised as having the same cost over of ownership as comparable black-and-white models. The printers rely on the solid-ink sticks that Xerox has been developing for some five years. As with any first-generation product, we'll keep our fingers crossed as to how well these work out and how fast they are adopted, but we've always said that more affordable color printing will lead to more color scanning and the chance to apply more advanced compression technology to document images. Sounds like fun.

Open Text has introduced an updated version of its Vendor Invoice Management software for managing the workflow of invoices in an SAP environment. We've been doing a lot of coverage on invoice processing lately, and ReadSoft, the leading vendor in the invoice capture space, noted that it find itself most often competing with Open Text, as the companies go toe-to-toe for SAP-related business. ReadSoft bought a team of SAP workflow specialists last year and offers a product that competes directly with Open Text's VIM system. ReadSoft is enjoying great success in the this market, and it sounds like Open Text is doing okay as well. As we noted in our past issue, invoice processing has always been a good market for doucment imaging/workflow systems, and now advanced capture methods appear to be taking it to the next level.

Cheers.

Ralph

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Invoice processing

We did a great couple issues recently on the state of the invoice processing market. We learned all sorts of neat things, from vendors who were very forthcoming with information. If you're interested in taking a look at our study, please get in touch with me.

Here's little bit of what we wrote that we've posted on our VAR Page.

Thanks.

Ralph

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Xerox Buys eMortgage specialist

This is kind of cool. It seems Xerox is buying a business that specializes in electronic mortgage processes. I guess it goes along with their DocuShare technology, in that it's designed to replace paper-driven processes, wiht electronic ones.


ROCHESTER, N.Y., and ATLANTA, Sept., 12, 2007 – Xerox Corporation (NYSE: XRX) plans to buy Advectis®, Inc. for $32 million. Advectis is the provider of one of the mortgage industry’s most widely-used solutions for electronic document collaboration.
Xerox’s expertise in document outsourcing and services led the company to Advectis, a privately-owned business based in Atlanta. In a predominately paper-based industry, Advectis’ Web-based BlitzDocs Collaboration Suite helps lenders, brokers and investors manage the process needed to underwrite, audit, collaborate, deliver and archive loan documents electronically. Taking paper out of the process, the BlitzDocs® patented technology helps users reduce costs associated with the lending process, deliver better service, decrease credit risk by improving documentation processes and build a competitive advantage in capturing new loan applications.
“Anyone who has ever bought a home knows that the mortgage business is dependent on paper. Filling out an extensive number of forms is time and labor-intensive work,” said John Kelly, president, Xerox Global Services North America. “We’re looking to help clients reduce costs and transform their business by offering a better experience for both end-users and operations. Xerox’s expertise in automating document processes is an ideal fit with Advectis’ BlitzDocs paperless solution for mortgages. In an industry that is ripe for change, Advectis offers technology that improves productivity for its users while giving lenders better control of their processes.”
According to Craig Focardi, research area director for the retail banking practice of research firm TowerGroup, “Enterprise content management systems are reducing the great paper chase in loan origination, where a lender controls the paper loan file and manually redistributes documents multiple times to multiple parties. Lenders are increasingly adopting document imaging and electronic content management as a major area of cost savings, faster loan processing and improved customer service.”
The amount of paper associated with this industry leads to inefficient processes which, best case, are productivity drains and, worst case, can lead to a loss of control in the quality of the loans. TowerGroup estimates document management costs in loan origination totaled $3.2 billion last year.
A BlitzDocs electronic loan folder mirrors the paper loan folder used today but improves efficiencies in the loan cycle, allowing mortgage participants to view and process online documents anytime, anywhere. Clients benefit from a network with more than 35,000 broker shops, the top seven mortgage insurance companies and four of the top due diligence providers.
“With this acquisition, Advectis is positioned to create even stronger offerings, services and technologies for our clients,” said Greg Smith, co-founder and chief executive officer of Advectis. “Partnering with Xerox makes perfect sense for the future of our business. Our combined expertise and resources means increased collaboration and decreased loan processing costs for BlitzDocs users.”
Advectis was founded in 2000 and currently employs about 41 people, most of whom are based at the company’s headquarters in Atlanta. Upon completion of the acquisition, all employees are expected to join Xerox. Smith will remain head of the organization, reporting to Kelly.
Xerox’s all-cash purchase of Advectis also includes an additional performance-based supplement to the sale price. The acquisition is expected to close in the next 30 days, subject to customary closing conditions.
Xerox’s industry-leading document technology and services portfolio includes consulting and outsourcing services, records management, digital imaging, e-discovery for litigation support and managed services in more than 160 countries.
Through its acquisition strategy, Xerox is identifying successful companies whose offerings align with Xerox’s commitment to innovation and reducing the complexity of document management. Last year, Xerox acquired Amici LLC, a leading provider of electronic-discovery services, primarily supporting litigation and regulatory compliance, and XMPie, which provides variable information software for the graphic arts and marketing industries.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Kofax

Yes, we've been giving Kofax a hard time lately because of its constant reorganizations and lackluster financial results. However, a couple press releases from last week indicate some of the potential that the capture marketshare leader has for turning things around. The first involved an invoice processing win and the second a significant distributed capture win. These are the two hottest segments within the document capture space, and Kofax conceivably could be a powerhouse in both areas - not something too many vendors can claim.

Cheers.

Ralph

Friday, September 07, 2007

HSA 2007

Just wrapping up Harvey Spencer's annual capture conference up here in Long Island. Another solid event. Speakers included Harvey, the head of technology from the State of West Virginia, a woman from Verizon's billing department, Prascilla Emery, and several others. I moderated a panel on the "next generaiton of distributed scanning," which I feel includes embedded apps, in MFPs and network scanners, as well as "single-button" functionaliy like Visioneer's OneTouch. These types of apps are tied together by the fact that they are designed to be easier to use than traditional scanning apps, and they also have an element of pull vs. push scanning. In other words, you can use them to launch some sort of enterprise/network driven workflow. I guess the Kofax DSS box also falls into this categorey. Anyhow, we had a bit of a tough time tying together the connection between scanners and digital copiers, but it's my believe that end users want one capture system they can run across both types of devices and that can be administered centrally. Call me crazy, but that's what I'd like to see delivered. I think middleware providers and eCopy and NSi can already deliver such a thing, so I guess there's hope, but the hardware vendors seem clueless as to this desire for a single, mixed environment hardware approach.

Anyhow, here's a list of some of the companies represented at the event:A2iA; Abbyy; Anydoc; Anacomp; Anoto; Autonomy/Cardiff, Banctec; Bell & Howell, Brainware; Captaris; Captovation; DataCap; DataIntro; Dicom/Kofax; eCopy; EMC/Captiva, Epson; Fairfax Imaging; HP; IBM; IBML; Iron Mountain; J&B Software, Kodak; Mitek; NCS/Pearson; Nuance; NSI; ODT; Omtool; Opex; Paradatec; PDI; Top Image Systems, and Visioneer. It's a great place for networking if you're looking to partner with these types of businesses.

Cheers. (Got to go grab my coffee now.)

Ralph

Friday, August 31, 2007

ECM valuations on the rise

It looks like Open Text's stock value is up is up like 25%, based on a very strong finacial report. Open Text's income grew like 75%, after the company apparently successfully digested rival Hummingbird, which it acquired last year, which apparently has surprised some people. Vignette and EMC are also pretty close to their 52-week high. Of pulically traded ECM companies, only Interwoven, seems to be struggling a bit. This is interesting of course, when contrasted to capture vendors like Dicom and ReadSoft, who as we noted in our last post, are struggling a bit with their valuations. Of course, Belgian OCR/ICR/capture specialist I.R.I.S. is doing well, as is Nuance. Take it all for what it's worth, but to us it seems ECM is up, basic capture is down, transactional capture is up (This view is of course, based on much more than these stock prices - in fact, it's a lot based on stuff that's appeared in DIR over the past few months.)

Cheers.

Ralph

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Dicom-ReadSoft report results

A couple of European-based capture specialists recently reported their results of the period ending June 30. For ReadSoft, the period represents the first half of 2007; For Dicom, it's a year-end report for fiscal 2007. ReadSoft reported a strong second quarter with 11% growth, leading to 9% growth through the first six months of 2007. Dicom, meanwhile, reported a flat 12 months of sales, with a slight increase in profitability. Interestingly, although Dicom's Kofax subsidiary is often recognized as the capture market leader, ReadSoft's "transactional-based" processing applications are where Dicom wants to go. Also, it's probably worth noting that ReadSoft does its busienss primarily in Europe, where the Euro is now much stronger than it was against the dollar a couple years ago, while Kofax still does the majority of its business in the U.S. So, a combination of that and the devaluation of the batch capture applicaitons where Kofax reigns sumpreme has hurt its business. Interestingly, maybe because expecations were set low enough, Dicom's stock doesn't seem to have been negatively affected by the year-end financial announcement.

Ralph

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

SOX Musical Comedy Spot

Click on the MMVI picture. Apparently this video was made by billionaire business man Sam Zell, who makes a musical comedy video about economics (yes, a musical comedy video about economics) ever year. This year, he rips apart Sarbanes-Oxley. Pretty amusing.

Monday, August 27, 2007

First post of fall

Got the kids off to school today. Much quieter around here. Hopefully will leave me more time (and energy) to blog. Preparing to travel to the annual HSA Capture Conference next week. There I will be presenting on the top seven news trends of 2007, which got me thinking about two themes in particular:
1. The changing Interface of distribtued capture
2. The adoption of invoice processing - as outlined in my last issue, there are like some 500 North American installations of invoice capture, I'm guessing like a 1,000% increase over three years ago.

Distributed capture and invoice processing are two trends that we talked about a lot of years that have both now become an increasing reality. So, I guess there is some value to this speculation that we run in DIR.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Optical scan voting

I've always loved when document scanning is employed in voting and still strongly think that we should use more of it, because of the foolproof paper tails.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Iron Mountain RM

Looks like Iron Mountain has bought Accutrac, which develops records management software for both hard copy and electronic documents. Last issue, June 15, we talked with Iron Mountain about its increased focus on document imaging and the Accutrac software should help with that. Accutrac has partnerships with the likes of TAB, Omtool, and ImageTag, all of whom are in the document imaging space. Iron Mountain already has an investment in ImageTag.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Xerox Search

Xerox has introduced some new search technology. We're not sure how this fits in with the rest of its product lines, but as is typical with Xerox it seems like pretty cool technology.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Cardiff, Standards

This is a fairly interesting announcement for a couple reasons: First off, it dicusses a standard that involves straight through processing (STP). STP is a great term for capture, workflow, document imaging processes. Also, it illustrates some of the advantageous Cardiff is starting to gain in the market with its combined e-forms/paper capture strategy. Mark Seamans, Cardiff's CEO, was in town today to meet with us, and he explained how Cardiff is leveraging Autonomy's presense, along with its fairly unique combination of technologies, to make some real headway. We admit we had some initial doubts about the ties between forms processing and e-forms, but Cardiff's recent success seems to be proving its on the right path. More from our interview with Seamans in our next issue.

Adobe -Kinko's

Feels good to be able to post again. I started having some major computer problems a couple weeks ago, regarding the power port to my laptop, which I use for almost everything I do. Turns out to be a common problem with Dell laptops that the power port comes loose from the mother board, or something along those lines, and Chuck over at Complete Computers here in Erie, soldered it back together for me, actually, according to him at least, improving on the original design of the machine. Hopefully this works, as I have been a bit crippled over the past week especially... that all said, I have been inspired to carry on by the talk given this week at ReadSoft's annual conference in New Orleans. That keynote is the GM of Superdome and oversaw its resurrection. We're talking a $200 million project, so I guess the $125 I spent to fix my laptop wasn't so bad afterall.

Anyhow, this deal between Kinko's and Adobe is probably one that should have been worked out long ago.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Electronic Health Care Records

This sounds like an important committee. Whether they can actually get anything done, who knows? We've been trying to establish a standard, national, portable, electronic health care record for years. HIPAA, as well as increased document imaging initiatives to improve efficiencies have definitely gone a long way towards putting some of the pieces in place, but there is still some serious work left to be done.

Ralph

Latest Cringely Column

My favoriate on-line columnist, Bob Cringely, is stuck on an anti-IBM rant lately, like for the last three weeks. It's interesting, however, because of the influence IBM has on the high-tech market. "You won't get fired for buying IBM, yada, yada, yada, etc." This week he manages to at least start his column by talking about Google and its vision for universal search. Extrapolating on this at bit, does this make Google the next big ECM player? No, they have no BPM, so it's probably wise that vendors like Documentum, FileNet, and Hyland have worked hard on beefing up their BPM capabilities, but stil,l companies like Open Text and ZyLab were built on searching for unstructured information, and it appears Google could eventually marginalize that technology. So far Google has made all the right moves, maybe they will eventually have something better than SharePoint.

As for IBM, it's interesting that Cringely rips their internal technology, as they are like the largest technology servies provider in the world. "It is possible to manage big organizations, but you have to have good processes and good management systems," Cringely says before ripping into IBM. "Process and management systems?" Does anyone find it ironic that Gartner just rated IBM as the leader in ECM marketshare at 24.1%-ahead of Open Text (17.5%) and Documentum (14.3%). What's that old saying about eating your own dog food, or is IBM's dog food the tainted stuff?

Best regards,
Ralph

Friday, May 04, 2007

Lason Update- Monroe sentenced

It appears the former Chairman and CEO has gotten his come-uppance as well. As to the matter of this $20 million in restitution, where does that come from and who does it go to?

Microsoft Yahoo!

Unless there's something here I don't see, I don't understand how Microsoft and Yahoo! getting together will pose a threat to Google! Putting together two also-rans (alright, maybe the number-two and three players) to take on the leader in a developing market just doesn't seem like a good idea. It almost reminds me of the Time-Warner/AOL thing. Two losers don't necessarily make a winner.
Also, here's a link to podcast of a roundtable on e-discovery that I participated in at the recent AIIM Conference in Boston. It's interesting for its diversity of opinions on the topic. Obviously, this is very much an emerging market, in which the rules and directions are still being determined. You also had a good mix of editors, lawyers, and consultants on the panel.

Friday, April 27, 2007

IKON numbers, etc.

IKON just posted some impressive second-quarter numbers. From my standpoint, the most impressive statement is that their Professional Services revenue grew 28%, which indicates impressive gains in the ECM/complex document management system front. It's been a long time coming for IKON, but they really appear to be making (slowly, but, they're a big company and big things move slowly, but powerfully) from a copier dealer to a VAR.

Captaris appears to be picking off a competitor/further cementing its status as the market leader in the fax server world.

Here's something about Microsoft's Longhorn Server. I can't make hide nor hair of it, but originally I thought Longhorn as to be the DM market killer.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

SharePoint WCM

At AIIM, we heard SharePoint get dogged for its RM capabilities. In this press release (see below as there wasn't a like just text), CMS Watch slams its WCM capabilties. I guess there was bound to be some backlash after everyone was touting these wonderful ECM capabilties in SharePoint 2007. For the record, we still think it is going to be a force in the market, much moreso than SharePoint 2003, but it is not the be all and end all for ECM companies as we know them, as many feared.

CMS WATCH FINDS SHAREPOINT ILL-SUITED FOR
TRADITIONAL WEB PUBLISHING SCENARIOS

11th Edition of "The Web CMS Report" Critically Evaluates
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server
Silver Spring, MD, USA -- The latest semi-annual release of "The Web CMS Report" takes a close look at Microsoft Office SharePoint Server ("MOSS") 2007 and finds that, whatever its strengths in collaborative document management, the platform remains ill-suited for managing many traditional websites.
The Report was published by CMS Watch (www.cmswatch.com), an independent analyst firm that evaluates content technologies and strategies for prospective solutions buyers.
MOSS 2007 is the successor to SharePoint Portal Server 2003 as well as Microsoft Content Management Server, Redmond's former Web Content Management product, which has since been sunset by Microsoft.
"SharePoint has always been a good platform for managing Office documents and the new version is even better at that," said CMS Watch founder Tony Byrne, "but managing web content represents a very different challenge, and here, Microsoft has not hit the mark."
Research findings include:
- Like most portal software, MOSS natively generates non-standard HTML code with extraneous JavaScript and table-based layouts, which is problematic for enterprises wanting to employ standards-based design and code conventions. Licensees must pro-actively strip this extra code from their own websites.
- By default, MOSS 2007 employs a folder-based navigation structure that must be re-coded or replaced by optional controls for more traditional website navigation schemes.
- MOSS lacks strong native support for translation workflows, limiting its effectiveness out of the box for multinational web publishing efforts.
- For public-facing websites, the product lists for USD 41,000 per server, making it one of the most expensive licenses in its mid-market class.
- On the plus side, MOSS 2007 can be heavily customized and extended using traditional .NET approaches.
"MOSS 2007 might make sense for certain document-heavy Intranets," Byrne added, "but prospective customers should not assume that its ease of deployment for simple file sharing will equate to ease of implementation for managing complex web publishing operations -- for Web Content Management, MOSS is really more of a development platform."
Based on hundreds of interviews with web content management system (CMS) customers worldwide, the 11th Edition of the Web CMS Report includes detailed comparisons of 30 vendors across 18 key feature categories, as well as evaluations of individual product suitability for 12 universal CMS scenarios.
Vendors covered in the Web CMS Report include Microsoft, EMCDocumentum, Interwoven, Vignette, Oracle / Stellent, IBM, Open Text / RedDot, WebSideStory, Day, Mediasurface, Serena, Tridion, CoreMedia, Percussion, FatWire, PaperThin, Ektron, CrownPeak, Alfresco, Typo3, Drupal, and Plone. The Report is available for purchase online from CMS Watch (http://www.cmswatch.com).
The Report is designed to help enterprises make faster and better buying decisions. Like all CMS Watch offerings, The CMS Report does not rank "best" vendors, but instead details the strengths and weaknesses of the various suppliers, identifies their suitability for different use cases, and isolates vendor tendencies that may influence longterm product roadmaps.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Millennium Group

The subject of these patent trolls came up the other day, so I decided to do a Google search on them. Here's what I found. Apparently, their activities aren't restricted to the document imaging/forms processing industry. Although, I'm not sure what they mean by latches and fasteners - is that supposed to be forms processing?

Monday, April 23, 2007

ACS Sale

More on this private equity investment stuff. Somewhat related to this, I get a lot of question asking how big the image outsourcing market is. Does anyone have any idea. My best guess is $4-5 billion annually.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Alfresco Blog

Someone hipped me to this pretty cool post by Alfresco co-founder John Newton, pertaining to Dave DeWalt's departure from EMC. Newton is a former Documentum developer -based in the U.K., who founded Alfresco a couple years ago. Alfresco is an open source ECM entrent.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Xerox Global Imaging

Xerox has become the latest digital copier vendor to make an acquisiton to beef up its direct sales efforts. Yesterday, Xerox announced plans to acquire Global Imaging Systems for $1 billion. Global Imaging is a dealer roll-up founded in the 1990s by former Danka and Alco executive Thomas Johnson. It reportedly has a current run rate of around $1.5 billion. Curiously, it does not currently carry Xerox products. You might say Xerox is buying some serious market share with this acquisition.

Xerox competititors like Toshiba and Sharp have also been rolling up dealerships recently, and Ricoh recently announced a major re-org of its sales channels. It's our theory that as copier vendors are forced into solutions sales, they realize they need more control over their salespeople and buying dealers are one way to do this.

Oh yes, and we had a recent exchange on the blog about "the Great American Copier company," in which I proposed Global Imaging as a candidate and someone else suggested Xerox could make a comeback. Seems like this deal could create the best of both worlds - perhaps.

Ralph

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

TIS-J&B Team Up

Israel-based forms processing specialist Top Image Systems has signed on a J&B Software as a U.S. reseller. J&B is one of the largest software vendors in the remittance processing space. After a couple of earlier tries, TIS has been biding its time before making another run at the U.S. market. J&B seems like a solid partner, and we hope this deal works out for both of them. We still expect another bigger move by TIS this year as the company strives to achieve its goal of $30 million in revenue in 2007, after hitting its $20 million goal last year.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Lason

Couple interesting things related to the Lason deal:
1. We reported in July 2004 that investment firm Charterhouse Goup bought Lason, a $140 million company for something like $30 million and the assumption of some senior indebtedness. According to the HOV Services press release, it paid $148 million for the company. On the surface that seems like a nice deal for Charterhouse. Maybe that's why these guys are going private.
2. Also, former Lason President John Messigner was sentenced to a year in jail and ordered to pay $20 million in restitution for his part in the finacial scam that artificially ran up Lason's stock price in the late 1990s.

ACS Going Private

ACS is the latest oursourcer to go private. Seems to be some sort of trend. First Lason, then SourceCorp, then the biggest one of them all. I can understand that Lason was in dire straits and SourceCorp, was exactly blowing the market out of the water, but ACS has been pretty darn successful on the public market over the past five years. What's the motivation for going private? I read the same thing about another technology-driven industry recently - that a lot of the pubic companies were expected to go private. Is is that the market is so volitile right now?

Oh yes, speaking of Lason, it was recently acquired by an Indian BPO specialist.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Dicom Chairman

Dicom has hired a new non-executive Chairman. Interesting because he's a U.K. guy and also has a high-growth background. High-growth is interesting because Rob Klatell, the new CEO, at least he was new last year, also came from a company with a fairly aggressive growth strategy. Dicom has historically not been that overly aggressive. Also, the company was founded by Swiss and now it has an American CEO and English Chair. Of course, it's stock is traded on the London Exchange and has been for some time.

Regards,

Ralph

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Ricoh reorg

Seems to make sense. Focusing their channels a bit. Anybody that does major acquistions like Ricoh has over the years typically needs to make some major moves into order to digest them. So far, Ricoh had avoided these moves. Sometimes it can be a tough pill to swallow for those affected, but such is big busienss.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Datacap Parascript form partnership

Automated data capture specialist Datacap, out of Tarrytown, NY, has officially announced a partnership with recognition specialist Parascript. Parascript, which was originally founded in Russia as part of the Glasnost initiative, is now based in Boulder, CO. It's claim to fame and biggest source of revenue is a contract with the USPS for reading addresses on envelopes. Parascript is noted for its ability to recognize cursive writing and has done a couple of installations with Datacap already involving hand-filled order forms for the Baltimore Sun and TV Guide. Parascript appears to be moving forward after a proposed merger with pubically traded Mitek fell through. Both Mitek and Parascript have strong technology in the check recognition market.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

ZyLab system being used to support one of the Nation’s largest technology antitrust cases.

From a ZyLab press release:

ZyLAB and Marin IT Provide 65+ Law Firms and Attorney Generals with Web-Based eDiscovery Solution

ZyIMAGE Used to Collaborate in High-Profile California Technology Antitrust Case; System Currently Holding Five Million Case Documents

Vienna, VA, March 6, 2007 – ZyLAB, an innovative developer of Information Access Solutions and Marin IT, a leading provider of networking and application development solutions, today announced that the ZyIMAGE eDiscovery solution is currently in use to support one of the Nation’s largest technology antitrust cases. More than 65 law firms and 14 different Attorneys General are using the hosted application to collaborate on the documents produced by the defendants during the discovery process. In use already for 18 months, the ZyLAB/Marin IT eDiscovery solution allows lawyers to access data in real time and search on topics that have been discovered during depositions.

“This case has produced millions of pages of evidence that our clients must have access to in order to prosecute and prove our case,” said David Cooper of Marin IT. “The ZyLAB/Marin IT solution has dramatically streamlined their ability to locate the information they need in near real time, thus improving overall efficiency. There are hundreds of people working together on this case and without this solution it would have been quite a laborious and difficult process. This hosted eDiscovery solution should serve as a model of excellence for the legal world.”

ZyIMAGE eDiscovery enables organizations to capture, investigate, structure and disclose information in a simple, secure and efficient manner. Built on an XML data repository, the solution provides users with tools to store, search and retrieve vital information through a standard Internet browser. Marin IT is hosting the ZyIMAGE application/Web interface for the users at a data center in Northern California. Connected to the server which is running the application are large disk arrays holding approximately 5,000,000 case documents. Marin IT has installed ssl certificates on the Web server in order to deliver the content in a secure way using https/ssl.

Prior to using this implementation, all of the discovery documents for the cases were delivered in hard copy and then reviewed by the different lawyers and Attorneys General. As the “hot documents” were found they would then be added to a list and copies put into binders and sent via mail around the county for the different law firms to work with. There was no full text search ability, and there was no way to have central repository of data that everyone could use to share the data. As the case has progressed, the deposition summaries and transcripts have been added to a deposition index to make this information available to everyone involved.

“The key motivation for users engaged in eDiscovery is not to miss any archived e-mail, paper document, or electronic file that may have relevance to the case,” said Dr. Johannes Scholtes, President of ZyLAB. “Therefore, eDiscovery searching must concentrate 100 percent on recall rather than on precision. ZyIMAGE eDiscovery empowers users in the antitrust case to find the information they are looking for in seconds and provides sophisticated tools such as hit-highlighting, hit-navigation, customizable relevance ranking, optimized user interaction, text-mining and visualization.”

Attorneys General from Arkansas, California, Florida, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Washington and a variety of law firms Nationwide are working on this case and have real-time access to the system.

Scientigo

Remember Scientigo, the guys who said they had the patents on XML and were using the technology to do some advanced classifcation and extraction - in fact, they even signed partnerships with Boeing subsidiary CDG, as well as Canon MEAP partner Ribstone - well, it seems they are out of the ECM and capture business these days and focusing on phone directories. This comes after a change of CEOs late last year.

Ralph

Some of the latest news

Tim Corkery has been named the COO of eCopy. He had been at eCopy for seven years and was previously from senior vice president, worldwide sales and services...Bill Gates Kodak Document Imaging's former GM and VP of sales for US&C, has left the organization... Kofax recently announced a Scan Server installation with Randolph Brooks Credit Union. The implimentation facilitates the remote capture of loan related documentation from branch offices.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Surprise! An update

Once again, we apologize for being so remiss in publishing to this blog. We've been traveling for the past month of so pretty steadily, but that's not really a good excuse. The bottom line is that we are waiting until we can transfer the blog to our home page to really go after it again, and just need some help from Web hosting service. There has definitely been a lot of news, most of it we are trying to cover in the pages of the Document Imaging Report.

Anyhow, we hope to have a new and improved blog online before the AIIM 2007 show in Boston this April.

Best Regards,

Ralph.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Al Shugart

I'm sure you all saw this last month, but here's a good brief story on the life and times of Al Shugart. I'll always remember Al because he got fired from Seagate and formed his own investment company about the same time we were launching a newsletter called Mass Storage News. And Al developed a close relationship with our upstart editor, Dr. Mike Downing and would always make himself available to in depth conversations on the storage industry. Al was truly one of a kind and an IT pioneer.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

McMahan at Kodak

Hey, it's been awhile since I've been on the blog. Been busy with a few things like upgrading our home page, adding a some new content and just doing a better overall job organizing it. We've been also cleaning some administrative house on this end. Hoping for a big 2007. Hope you are too.

Couple of significant personnel announcments in the industry
Kodak has apparently hired AIIM Chair Don McMahan to head its North American scanner and service sales. Official announcment doesn't appear to be out yet, but the internal breifing was done yesterday. McMahan spend several years as the VP of sales and marketing at Kodak rival FCPA (Fujitsu Computer Products of America) before a sudden departure in 2005. He quickly resurfaced at Visioneer where he spent just over a year and built a strong VAR channel before leaving in late 2006.

Kodak would seem a good fit for McMahan's skill set - as historically he has focused on what Kodak refers to as the "distributed" part of the market -FCPA and Visioneer being strong players in the fast growing workgroup of sub-$2,000 end of the market. Despite some strong products in the workgroup space, Kodak has mainly struggled to gain significant market share - and McMahan could be the tonic to break that slump. We're looking forward to catching up with McMahan and the Kodak brass at the annual Breakaway event scheduled two weeks from now in Nashville...between now and then we'll be traveling to St. Petersburg for Visioneer's annual partner event, which ironically was started by McMahan last year.

Also, some cool stuff at Iron Mountain http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/070111/clth024.html?.v=88. They made their Digital guy a president, so that shows you somewhat where their focus is going.

Finally, did you see that Kodak sold its Health Imaging business?