Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Kofax Hires Former Captiva Exec Vickers

You can't say Reynolds Bish isn't loyal to his former lieutenants. Jim Vickers is the latest former Captiva VP that has been hired by Kofax. Based on his title, we're assuming he's in charge of VRS sales, but plan to tallk with Kofax to get confirmation of that. Interestingly, Kofax's stock value has risen by more than a third since late last month.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm shocked that no one in the industry has commented on the mass exodus of imaging professionals from Kofax.

DIReditor said...

A number of people have left, yes, but Kofax has also made a number of hires. I think when you bring in a CEO from outside the organization, this stuff can happen.

Anonymous said...

yes, new CEO's bring change, but a mass exodus is reflective of the negative attitude with the new regime has about the value of sales people, key sales staff layoffs and change in go to market. 90% turnover is highly unusual when new leadership comes in. Cant imagine how they will make sales goals.

DIReditor said...

I have not heard that the turnover was as high as 90%, which doesn't mean it's not true, but is that hyperbole or fact? If it's true, yes, that could present some problems for Kofax with its channel relationships. This would seem to create some opportunity for other channel-focused companies like AnyDoc and Kodak (with its new software offering), as well as imaging-centric ECM vendors like Hyland and Laserfiche. And, of course, NSi, which has hired several former Kofax execs, would like to pick up a piece of the Kofax channel as well.

I will say that I have not yet seen or heard of a mass exodus of Kofax VARs. Time will tell on that front. Kofax has always had a very loyal channel. We'll see if this loyalty lasts through all the changes, or if there is a "mass exodus" of VARs that follow the salespeople.

Not to be a wise guy, but just to set one thing straight regarding rhetoric - "mass exodus" has a connotation that people have left voluntarily. I'm not certain that this has been the case at Kofax. "Mass turnover" may be more accurate.

Anonymous said...

Yes, most of them went to NSI

stillaninsider said...

Things are good here at Kofax.

And, I say that as a longtimer at Kofax.

In the midst of change, some ru in fear, others are properly ousted, and others see the light.

The anonymous slugs are the same ones who charged things up on the financial blogs against Captiva in the capture wars days. These people were removed from Kofax and they took some faithless many, but decisionmaking is at a premium now, the muddling through is over and it is good to be moving forward and good people have been brought onboard. The naysayers at the new employer must be jealous looking back at the bad cache of products they have found themselves with, self-demoted and staring a poor economy with an inferior business model vis-a-vis the great pipeline of products that continue to eminate from Kofax.

Sour grapes Mr.Anonymous, you cannot run your new sales organization with hate like you tried at Kofax. I hope you can hold onto the duped souls you took from a great job.

We seem to be doing fine without any of you and your types.

DIReditor said...

Sounds like the gauntlet has been thrown down.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't be surprised if Bish gets EMC to buy Kofax (http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2009/01/08/emc_cma_looks_sick/). Look what happened to FileNET then, now part of IBM (guess where the last FN CEO came from ;)) . Heck, look what happened to many companies (in other industries too) where someone goes over to helm it and then their old employer buys them over! And they pocket some pretty nice loose change after that!

End day, as long as we are employees, we just take our salary and work peacefully. Whatever happens to the Sr. Exec they bring in (or out) as long as we are not in the circle of power, we are just mere spectators. They are answerable to the shareholders not to the employees. So whoever they fire or hire as long as they can bring shareholders' value up, then it is good hire. Longtimer or not, no one can guarantee our employment nowadays (even Bish himself). So Direditor is correct to say that "...this stuff can happen" when a new CEO comes in. It's a tough IT market out there when technology such as ours are discretionary spending in many CIOs' budget.

DIReditor said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for the interesting post (and link), althought the suggestion that EMC would acquire Kofax seems a bit out of left field. I don't understand that one of EMC's goals is to be the dominant player in the document capture market. And that is mainly what they would get from a Kofax acquisition - market share in a space I don't understand to be one of their core markets. I see EMC as an ECM and storage player that leverages the Captiva suite to sit on the front end of their offerings in these areas. Kofax's technology would largely be overlap.

Also, I really don't think Kofax shareholders are ready to sell until their stock price rises significantly. Remember, Bish did not sell Captiva until he increased the marekt cap something like 30 times what is was just after he did the merger with ActionPoint. I think he we brought into Kofax to also increase market cap, before a sale is even considered, and that certainly has not happened yet. So, let's not jump the gun on a potential Kofax sale.

Finally, while Bish had made many changes to Kofax's infrastructure, I'm not sure where the "suddently revitalized" comment (in the link) comes from. I'd wait to see some more numbers before making that call.

Ralph

Anonymous said...

Ralph,

I definitely agree with you that Kofax mkt share should be up higher before any M&A is done. The market condition is tough now and I wouldn't be surprised that part of one strategy may include lay-off plans, which is being done across many industries as a cost-saving measure.

What I find scary in the software industry is that even Microsoft can't give a profit forecast and I wonder what would the far-reaching impact be for us.

In a way, this crisis is also a blessing in disguise for our industry as it allows any CEO the opportunity to relook into their get-to-market strategy by selling what matters (with better margin and more in demand), get rid of lousy product offering, trim top or mid-heavy management staff and enter the "blue ocean".

Hopefully the new Obama initiative can jump-start quickly demand before drastic impact hits all of us. We are not immune but as the first Anonymous wrote about mass exodus, I too disagree with that. It happens everywhere but to what degree in this crisis?

This is an interesting period in the industry and the strong with deep pocket, visionary and decisive management, and tenacity should be able to ride it out.

Good luck all.

DIReditor said...

I like companies that are being agressive right now. I'm not sure about going after the Blue Ocean, which requires some serious marketing investment to break new ground. But if you've got it, I guess that's a good area as any to spend it in. I also like Pegasus' and Kodak's (I know less about Autonomy's at the moment) acquisitions, as they both picked up solid businesses at presumably a time when they were selling low. When the market rebounds they will have some nice assets - at least I hope the Kodak-BBH thing is still a go, in light of Kodak's fourth quarter report.

Ralph

Anonymous said...

Ralph,

You got a great site here. Glad to have stumbled upon it. Indeed looking at the state of the economy, I just wonder when hostile/friendly takeovers will happen among us players or at least some form of merger will/should happen. Looking at the daily unemployment index it is just worrisome for the industry as a whole.

I too am looking forward to some IT companies quarterly reports and hopefully we all can discover some gems for our share portfolio.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

Kofax is general is a great company but it is a sad time when you not only see the people that build it leave but also you see so many within , after many years of dedication, wondering why they are still there and looking for jobs elsewhere. All should agree that Bish has done a good job stirring things up within the company, and many things he is doing were needed for a long time. No surprises here. However, it has so far resulted in no more than a lot of industry questions, many people leaving, hurt feelings in and out of the company, reduced sales at best, partners jumping ship while major industry players who were once partners are now acquiring their own competitive solutions, and what appears to be a grim future in general. Stock has been nothing but down since Bish entered the company. However, it would not be fair to blame this completely on Bish since the economy in general has felt this pain.

In general, Kofax is still full of great people, good products that tend to be much better when combined with seasoned and knowledgeable people, which today are few and far between in the company. But it appears that one enemy after another is being created in a time when respect, relationships, and employee moral need to be considered keys to running a successful business.

The end result must be shareholder value but how do they expect to get there with so many factors against them? No matter what is being said, the common feeling is that Bish was hired based on solid experience building a business that will eventually sell and make many people wealthy including himself (it doesn't hurt to add many more million on to what you already have). Is Kofax still positioned for this? That is the million-Dollar question.

Remember who won in the Captiva sale, very few. Now the question is, will history repeat itself???

DIReditor said...

Thanks for the anonymous insights. Yes, Bish has surely shaken things up at Kofax. He seems to have many of the pieces in place that he envisioned when he joined the company. Based on the economy and the time it takes to ramp up things like enterprise software sales, it will still probably be another year before we know if the changes he's implemented have Kofax headed in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

"Mass exodus" seems to be an arguing point that needs some clarificatoin. When top leadership left Kofax in January 2008, nearly 80% of the existing sales force in North America/South America left within months (both sales and SEs). Of the 80% who left in middle of 2008, only two/three had been staff reductions. The remainig left on their own accord.

The 20% left at Kofax had been left holding the bag, yet still road the shirt tails of those 80% who built a pipeline. The net was a year end goal that was achieved.

Then as the year past, Europe had a large turnover (35-40%), then Asia Pacific. You can replace people, yes, but this industry has a proven ramp up time of learning the technology, positioning, and success in selling. Let alone building selling relationships. ECM sales cycles are proven to be between 9 - 16 months long with proven industry experts leading the sale.

In addition to this, most recently, development and product management have seen a significant turnover. Both by voluntary and unvoluntary layoffs.

On the most recent regulatory announcments, another 50 "redundancies" will be effected. The true question is, how many people will be left that know anything about the technology and what its suppose to do?

The remaining original people at Kofax are great people with strong wills/hearts and are struggling to survive under the new leadership.

With all the change and turmoil in every area of the organization there will be impact - one way or another.

Its believed that impact will come to light with the 2009 year end results announcement by the conductor of the changes. He will try to explain it away as economic conditions. But, 80% new people in the Americas sales, 35% new people world wide sales, a coming of fruition of channel dis-satisfaction and conflict with direct sales reps (even though the channel stayed they are very unhappy, ask them)will show itself here shortly. Let alone the pipeline built by all those industry experts.

Kofax leadership can say all the blogs from former Kofax people are nay-sayers and disgruntled people from competition in the past, but the year end numbers will show that applying the Captiva formula at Kofax didn't work. Wont work. Reynolds may have broke a succesful company versus refining one that was already number one in market share.

We'll see if the Board of Directors will realize this and look for a different CEO to try to sell the company.

DIReditor said...

The first quarter report today was not extremely positive, although Kofax is still saying for the year, the company will meet expectations - albeit at the low-end. If Kofax hits these low-end expectations - which I'm not sure what they are exactly - it should buy the current management another year at least.

Anonymous said...

2009 year end results are in and Kofax revenue was down significantly in constant revenue. The numbers also hide "shifted" income from maintenance revenues that were placed in to software revenue. Yet, cost of sales are up. Overall, looks like Bish's "Captiva" formula hasn't been successful. Its been two years, I wonder if the board is holding him accountable and maybe the ego will be adjusted a bit.

DIReditor said...

I'm not sure what you mean by "shifted" revenue from maintenance to software. Could you explain? Tough I think to pass judgment yet on Bish's plans, because the economy certainly hasn't helped. But, he certainly hasn't increased the shareholder value, yet. We need to give him at least one more year, however, before condemning his plan I think.

Anonymous said...

Truth be told, Reynolds is ruining a great company and channel model for the sake of lining the pockets of a few. Is that success? You be the judge.

He said he did not expect revenue to be impacted by the recession in a Reuters interview, then a few months later had a terrible quarter. He is milking maintenance revenue, raising prices, doing everything to increase revenue but not really increasing sales. Is that success?

He said all the Kofax employees he laid off were idiots....wait, didn't they build the successful company that he took the helm of and that was kicking Captiva?

I don't see him as a success. He got lucky with Captiva due to the Documentum relationship that carried in the big deals. If you recall he came close to losing it all. Now he can blame the economy if he does not succeed.

Even if he succeeds this time around, he is still disliked by many and not a "nice" person. That is certainly a life failure in my book, regardless of his net worth. What a sad story Mr. Bish.

ps, One of the first anonomous comments on top of this thresd sure looks like he scours these pages, since who else would comment that Anonomous must be the same person who bashed him at Captiva.

DIReditor said...

Thanks for your input, but, please let's not get too personal. Yes, Reynolds certainly has his detractors, but he also has admirers. Also, I'm not sure you can classify his success at Captiva as luck. Yes, I understand Captiva was on the brink at least once before the acquisition by/merger with ActionPoint, but he had proven his mettle previously with a great run as Chair of the AIIM board and really helped reinvent a struggling organization. His work at Kofax has definitely alienated a lot of former Kofax allies and employees - but I certainly never heard him call anyone "idiots." Quite simply, he was hired to increase shareholder value at a historically undervalued (from my perspective at least) company and has set about trying to do that by doing what worked for him at Captiva -where he exponentially increased shareholder value. Yeah, the shareholders are a relatively small group of people, but they are also the ones that hired him.