Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fingerprint card scanning project

It appears Lockheed has one a $47 million contract with the FBI to convert fingerprint cards and other types of records to a digital format. A couple years ago at AIIM, we saw a demo of a 600 dpi version of BancTec's high-speed scanner, which, as they are listed as a Lockheed partner on the contract, we'll assume is being used here. At the show, BancTec told us they had interst from some people in just this type of applicaiton...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Legal Depts. Cutting Costs

Here's a press release about a survey that talks about the pressure that corporate legal depts. are under to cut costs. You can get a copy of the complete survey through a link at the bottom, and we hope to see it and check it out more fully this week. But, it promises "an overview of the strategies, systems and management tools that law departments for U.S. organizations are using to cope with current economic challenges." Just curious if any of these strategies involve improved records management, which should cut down on e-discovery outlay. We'll have an article on that in this week's edition of DIR.

Also, here's an interesting press release about ColorTrac providing multiple 40-inch wide-format scanners to the Lebanese government for scanning election results.
We've never heard of the use of WF scanners in elections and have put in an e-mail to ColorTrac asking about the logistics behind the scanner choice.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Ballmer to Keynote SharePoint Conference

Microsoft's SharePoint Conference 2009 is shaping up to be a pretty big event. It's scheduled for Oct. 19-22 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Vegas. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO, has been announced as the keynote speaker. EMC, Open Text, and KnowledgeLake all are sponsors, along with people like Hitachi, CA, Quest, and others. Exhibitors include the sponsors, as well as, Adlib, AtalaSoft, Canon, eCopy, GoScan, Hyland, KeyMark, Laserfiche, SpringCM and others.

Could be a fun event. Microsoft is promising to preview the next version of SharePoint, 2010, as well as discuss real-world implementaitons of the current, 2007 version. The 2008 conference was held in Seattle (the same week as AIIM 2008) and we heard mostly positive reviews. We're not exactly sure why Microsoft waited a year and a half to hold another conference, but maybe it has something to do with the move to Vegas. One thing is for sure, Microsoft seems firmly committed the ECM industry and most everybody we talk to seems to be embracing them - but certainly not conceding the market to them, because, as well all know, SharePoint certainly isn't an imaging solution - although it can be used as a platform for image management.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

TIBCO posts good profit

TIBCO, the enterprise application integration specialist that purchased BPM provider Staffware a few years back, recently announced its second-quarter results. Despite almost a 5% drop in revenue, TIBCO increased its operating profit by 56%. "We are managing our business tightly during the downturn and focused on delivering strong returns, as shown by a 40% annual growth in non-GAAP EPS through the first half of the year," said Vivek Ranadiv, TIBCO's chairman and CEO.

Just thought this was interesting and it may show two things:
1. The economy is stabilizing.
2. Businesses are learning how to operate under adjusted conditions.

TIBCO stock is up almost 10% since Tuesday.


eWeek Enterprise Apps in the Future

Number seven on this list is pretty cool. It's kind of a tongue-in-cheek look (I think) at some prospective enterprise applications of the future.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Deflation, Hyperinflation and Cloud Computing

Here's a link to a interesting article from the Motley Fool about the risk of hyperinflation in the U.S. economy and which types of companies are in the best position to survive even double-digit inflation, which seems to be a real possibility as the U.S. government debt/deficit increases. Hint: it seems to be companies that can fairly comfortably cover their debt with their profits.

Also, here's a link to the great Michael Lewis article on Iceland's hyperinflation, which is referenced in the the Motley fool article.

Interestingly, the Motley Fool article also talks about deflation the negative effects it can have on an economy. I know I've mentioned a few times that the document imaging industry is no stranger to a form of deflation, especially when it comes to hardware. It's no big secret that users are getting way more bang for their buck from scanners than they were 10, 5, and even two years ago. Fortunately, overall scan volumes have continued to increase, which means more scanners are being sold and keeps the demand reasonable for higher-volume production models. But, with some of this IDR (intelligent document recognition) technology starting to come downstream, we really have to be careful not to let our margins disappear, in what has historically been a good B2B market.

I also wanted to highlight this interesting press release from A/P document imaging specialist VersionOne Software. I couldn't find a link, so I've pasted the entire release below. But, it basically talks about the some of the uncertainty and mystery surrounding the term "cloud computing." It's a term that people have started to throw around as a future trend for our industry and others, but it still seems to be a ways off before the rubber hits the road, as a lot of IT professionals still apparently don't even know what "cloud computing" means, much less do they plan on investing in it.

Here's the release, which details some of the results of VersionOne's survey on cloud computing:

The findings of a survey by document management software company, Version One (www.versionone.co.uk), has revealed that 41% of senior IT professionals admit that they “don’t know” what cloud computing is. Version One carried out the research with 60 senior IT professionals (IT directors and managers) across a range of UK public and private sector organisations. This research follows-on from a similar survey carried-out by Version One which highlights that two-thirds of UK senior finance professionals (finance directors and managers) are confused about cloud computing.

Of the remaining 59% of IT professionals who profess to know what cloud computing is, 17% of these understand cloud computing to be internet-based computing while 11% believe it is a combination of internet-based computing, software as a service (SAAS), software on demand, an outsourced or managed service and a hosted software service. The remaining respondents understand cloud computing to be a mixture of the above.

Despite cloud computing being in the media spotlight, only a minority of respondents (5%) say that they use it “a lot” and less than a quarter of those surveyed (19%) reveal that they only use cloud computing sparingly. Almost half of respondents (47%) admit that their company doesn’t use cloud computing with the remaining 29% conceding that they “don’t know” whether their organisation uses it or not.

Julian Buck, General Manager of Version One, says, “Although this is only a small survey of IT professionals, the results are nonetheless very alarming, especially as IT professionals are the very people that need to understand cloud computing so that they can explain its benefits to management.”

Buck continues, “It is clear from the survey results that there are a number of contrasting views as to what cloud computing really is, which is hardly surprising in light of the many different cloud computing definitions in the public arena. For instance, Wikipedia defines it as ‘Internet-based computing’ while Gartner refers to it ‘as a service’ using Internet technologies. IT expert, John Willis, writing in his cloud blog says that ‘virtualisation is the secret sauce of a cloud’ and provides different levels of cloud computing. With so many definitions circulating, clarity is urgently needed.”

Only 2% of respondents say that their company is “definitely” going to invest in cloud computing within the next twelve months whilst 30% state that their organisations “may” invest in this technology. 45% admit that they “don’t know” whether their organisations will be investing in it or not with the remaining 23% stating that they currently have no investment plans. For those who definitely or maybe have plans to invest in cloud computing, some of the key business drivers cited include reduction in overheads and paper, ease of use, cost savings and the ability to provide collaborative tools for teaching and learning.

Buck adds, “If organisations are going to embrace cloud computing in the future it’s essential that a single, simplified explanation is adopted by everyone. Failure to cut through the confusion could result in organisations rejecting this technology and missing out on the benefits it provides.”

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Document Imaging Install at Center of Scandal

Some interesting stuff out of El Paso. A few years ago we wrote about how convicted former California Congressman Duke Cunningham's road to ruin began with quesionable document conversion deals with Audre and later a company called ADCS. It seems there's a couple things that remain inherent when dealing with the government: paperwork and corruption.


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

iPhone Camera upgrade

Somewhat good news out of the Apple Worldwide Developer's Conference for ISVs looking to leverage iPhones for document capture. The new 3G S, which is scheduled to hit the stores this month, will feature a 3 MP camera with auto-focus. Previous iPhones featured 2 megapixel cameras without any auto-focus.

We did receive feedback that there is some sort of image processing in current iPhones, but apparently it is difficult to work with anything below 14-point type when it comes to document imaging. The increased megapixels, new auto-focus features, along with Apple's image processing should make the 3G S a much improved document capture peripheral.

Also, we heard there are rumos that Apple is looking at licensing a 6 MP camera, which would clearly make its mediafile followers happier, as some of the reviews we read didn't seem satisified with the 3 MP camera. Of course, a 6 MP camera should be that much better for document imagiing applications.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Earth Class Fail?

It seems our favorite digital mailroom vendors has changed CEOs. We ran a feature on Earth Class mail last fall in DIR. They are a very ambitious company, but I'm not sure their customer value proposition can meet their infrastructure costs. Part of the fun of covering this company was checking out the TV show that was made about them. I do love their plan of taking an end-run around the USPS if they can't forge a partnership with them and offering digital mail services through a Kinkos or something.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Distributed Capture Wave

We recently came across a couple of stories discussing distributed capture installations that reflect favorably on Kodak's efforts in this segment of the market. This announcement comes out of Kofax and discusses the sale of more than $1.5 million worth of i1220 and i1320 scanners through Kofax's distribution business to an Italian partner that is doing a distributed installation with a division of the Italian police force. Then, there's this story about a distributed U.K. sales operation that is using some 90 Kodak i160s at distributed sites to capture orders and upload them to a centralized site for processing. (It's a fairly detailed story and worth reading.) The U.K. installation is using Kofax's distributed capture software.

In total, that's something like news of 1,100 Kodak scanners being installed in distributed scanning opertations within a week. Pretty cool stuff for Kodak. Both applications are also examples of net new imaging installations- meaning centralized capture was probably not a realistic offering. Just more evidence that distributed capture (after years of discussion) has finally arrived.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Capture reseller channel

Word out of Kofax, as you'll see in our upcoming issue, is that while its direct sales business continues to grow - now making up like a third of enterprise software sales, sales through its channel partners is on the decline - at a rate that has pretty much offset the revenue gain brought through increasing direct sales. In a recent interview with CEO Reynolds Bish, he indicated that he thinks mid-market sales, those historically perpetuated by the channel, are being affected more by the economy than the higher-end direct sales. As a result, Bish presents the transition to direct sales as pretty much having saved the company some significant revenue shortfalls.

This is, of course, a perspective that makes him look like a hero, and there is nothing wrong with that. On the flip side, however, it's quite possible to blame Kofax's increasing direct sales as negatively affecting channel sales because it has potentially alienated some VARs that have been very loyal to Kofax, because, in part at least, Kofax has always been very loyal to the channel. So, are Kofax VARs' capture sales really declining, or are these VARs just moving towards other capture products and away from Kofax?

Any feedback is appreciated.