Friday, July 17, 2009

Canon invests in I.R.I.S.

Canon Europe has taken a 17% state in Belgian OCR/ICR/IDR and systems integration specialist I.R.I.S. In Feb., Canon announced it would reselling I.R.I.S. capture software products in Europe and this seems to be the next step in that relationship. Canon paid $31 million for its stake, which values I.R.I.S. at around $184 million, approximately a 40% premium over its market cap and about 1.2 times revenue. Remember, however, that the majority of I.R.I.S. revenue is from systems integration and not software.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Jukebox article

I remember writing articles in years past encouraging the use of optical disk jukebox storage for document images. Rich Payne, an end user who speaks at a lot of industry events, recently wrote this article in AIIM's Infornomics saying that jukeboxes have gone the way of dinosaurs. The writing has been on the wall for many years. Unfortunately, I often found myself swayed by the energetic pitches of jukebox vendors such as Plasmon, which pretty much bet its whole company on next-generation UDO optical disk jukebox technology. Plasmon's filing for bankruptcy last fall may have been the death knell for jukeboxes. There are just too many people out there developing better, cheaper, faster, magnetic technology for a niche technology like optical disk storage to remain viable.

Ralph

Friday, July 10, 2009

Interview with EMC's CMO

Whitney Tidmarsh, EMC's Chief marketing office for its archiving and content management division, and a former marketing VP at Documentum, talks with Fierce Content Management about several hot topics in this interview. She touches on the emerging e-discovery preparedness market and how it relates to content management, EMC's relationship with Microsoft and its SharePoint strategy, as well as its cloud computing initiatives.

Ralph

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

ACS--Vertical Focus Success

Affiliated Computer Services became one of the leaders in outsourced data capture by understanding that to utilized document imaging to its fullest potential, it needs to be thought of as a piece of vertical solution and not an end in itself. I think our industry still struggles sometimes to get this right today. Here's an example of ACS discussing a large outsourcing contract they won, where it appears imaging will be a very important part of the services provided -but it's never mentioned in the press release. Rather, the focus is on the business process of helping the state of Texas find these property owners. And from some of the vendors we talk to, whose technology is licensed by ACS, it sounds like they have some pretty top notch imaging technology. They just realize, to be really successful, you have to remember it's an enabler, not an end in iteself.

Consumers Favor Going Green

Interesting results of a survey on consumers perceptions of "going green"mainly dealing with their printing habits. One of the things that makes the press release so interesting is the fact that it is sponsored by Lexmark but seems to encourage less printing. I guess that gives it credibility, because it's probably not in Lexmark's interest to encourage less printing. Clearly, there is a consumer interest in doing less printing, which bodes well for the document imaging industry. We're assuming of course that this desire go "go greener" spills over into the corporate world, where imaging vendors have always made their money. Of course, in the corporate world, ROI typically trumps environmental concerns, but introducing environmental concerns as a factor when an imaging system is on the table can't hurt.

Ralph

Monday, July 06, 2009

Monetizing Facebook

Here's an interesting article about plans to monetize the current most popular Web 2.0 social networking site. These social networking (and I guess professional networking) sites are fascinating. I, even being the media mogul that I am (snarky laugh), still don't have a full handle on them, but they definitely seem pretty important going forward, as everybody is starting to leverage them. They're kind of like an on-line multi-media document.

Ralph

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Hyland Pushes Further into EMR

With $20 billion in federal stimulus money earmarked toward hospitals that can prove they are using eletrononic healthcare record (EHR, which seems to be the new acronym replacing EMR- electronic medical records) in a meaningful fashion, document imaging and mangement vendors having been trying to figure out how to get a slice of that pie. Hyland Software, which already has a fairly successful healthcare business, focsued mainly on automating back-office/financial administration at providers, has made an acquisition designed to move it deeper into this market. Yesterday evening, Hyland announced it had acquired Salem, NH-based Valco Systems. Quite frankly, we're not certain what Valco brings to the table that Hyland doesn't already have, aside from some more vertical expertise in a potentially burgeoning market. But, then again, when the majority of Hyland's stock was acquired by the investment firm Thoma, Cressey, Bravo, the Cleveland-area based ISV announced an aquisition strategy of acquiring market share. Presumably this is what they have done with Valco.

Related to this acquisition, it still remains somewhat of a question how much the stimulus package will drive growth in our industry. It's my opinion that it will be significant, as I've always believed EHR was a great opporunity for our industry-even before the stimulus. I mean, a standardized accessible eletronic record is too much of a benefit to healthcare providers to pass up, isn't it? They've pretty much managed to pass it up for over 10 years now, but at some point, they have to get smart, don't they? If this stimulus package helps them get there, all the better.

Here's an interesting article that discusses some of the hurdles that have prevented EHR from being adopted enmasse so far, and some of the hurdles it is still facing -even with the stimulus money.

The bottom like is that I hope universal EHR happens, as I have always thought it would -just for the sake of better healthcare service, not to mention the growth it could bring to our industry. Maybe the stimulus package will help it happen a bit sooner rather than later - although there are still obviously many hurdles to clear.

Ralph