Wednesday, December 29, 2010

ReadSoft's Fresneda Predicts More A/P Structure

Steve McMair of the Transaction Directory published 2011 predictions from a number of transaction processing players today. ReadSoft U.S. president Bob Fresneda was among those featured. ReadSoft, a Sweden-based ISV, made its mark in North America with invoice processing solutions combining its automated data capture technology with SAP-centric workflow. In truth, its U.S. sales never really took off until the workflow component was introduced.

Not surprisingly, ReadSoft is now looking for ways to expand its process management expertise, with purchasing being a natural place to go, following invoices. In his 2011 prediction, Fresneda states, "The Aberdeen Group estimates that U.S. companies are losing nearly 25% of every dollar they spend due to maverick purchases that miss out on preferred pricing....As a result, I anticipate companies looking to standardize their order-to-cash and purchase-to-pay processes within their ERP systems in 2011."

In fairness, Fresneda isn't the only one touting the expansion of invoice processing applications into purchase-to-pay management. E-invoicing systems vendors are seeking the same type of expansion and other hosted "services" providers are diving into this realm as well. Certainly something that bears watching.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

KLake Introduces Fast Search Option

Hope everyone is enjoying a good holiday season.

KnowledgeLake, the St. Louis-based ISV that specializes in document imaging for SharePoint applications has introduced a new version of its flagship software platform. Version 4.1 integrates Microsofts FAST search technology to deliver better results to users looking for documents. KLake also introduces a new document viewer that integrates into SharePoint via Web parts and can be accessed from any SharePoint Web page.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Perceptive Offers New Angle on ROI

We've certainly heard a lot of cost justifications for document imaging systems over the years. Improved workflow is probably the most significant one, with compliance/improved records management being number two. Lately, there have been efforts made to link document imaging to green initiatives. Perceptive Software recently came up with a new benefit - healthier employees. This is achieved by elminating the mold associated with box-stored documents.

From the press release:“'We had over 800 boxes absolutely loaded with education records that we didn't need to keep,' said said Doug Wamer, Antioch University Director of Record Administration and Compliance Officer."'With ImageNow, the institution felt safe eliminating the hard copies and moving to the digital form so we could access the information more quickly and better serve our customers.'

"Wamer said many of the stored boxes were filled with mold. Employees who frequently worked with the documents were getting sick, missing days of work and experiencing a range of health problems.

“'Some of our employees working with those documents would get sick for days. Getting rid of the old, moldy paper in storage was a milestone for us--it made for a better, healthier work environment where employees were able to work more efficiently,' said Wamer."

There you go.

Friday, December 17, 2010

SaaS-Based ECM

This was one of the hot areas of growth I predicted at the Harvey Spencer Document Capture conference earlier this year. I based this primarily from what I had been hearing from service bureaus, who are certainly moving a lot this way, as well as ISVs like Hyland Software and Digitech, who both seemed to be exceeding ECM industry growth rates with their SaaS businesses.

My views on the emerging strength of this market segment were reinforced by a recent conversation with SpringCM. SpringCM was a small vertically focused SaaS business that a few years ago made a big splash by launching a more general ECM-targeted SaaS business. From what I understand, they took on some venture funding, invested heavily in an improved, true-SaaS, modular architecture, and brought in former iManage/Interwoven executive Dan Carmel to run the whole thing. Carmel is a great promoter and did garner SpringCM a lot of publicity, but after I found out he was no longer with the company, I thought perhaps they had scaled back their efforts.

Does not seem to be the case.The new CEO, Chris Junker (who started this summer), is also a former Interwoven/iManage and Autonomy guy. And SpringCM is reporting a 100% growth in subscription revenue for 2010, and expects to duplicate that in 2011. They gave me some figures from Gartner  - like an estimate that in 2011, 10% of the software market will be cloud-based in 2011 and 40% of all new software purchased will be cloud-based by 2014. I got a lot more interesting stuff from my conversation with VP of marketing Roger Bottum, which I will include in an article in my next premium issue.

I will tell you that we discussed the fact that ECM is a bit more complex than many other software apps, which makes it harder to manage in a SaaS model. However, it seems it can be simplified by being packaged into vertical or horizontal apps, and imaging-based apps like contract management and invoice processing seem to be hot areas for SpringCM right now.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Docuement Security Issues

The recently publicity WikiLeaks has been generating should be bringing the issue of document secuirty to the forefront. Here's an editorial I authored for my last premium issue, wondering about the security around the recently released "cables." Basically, it's a call for more market education around the capabilties of document managment software.

Coincidentally, Toshiba America Business Solutions, one of the companies featured in the editorial because of their focus on document security, is putting on a Webinar this week on that topic. "You'll hear from Bill Blake, noted Document Security Specialist and President and COO of edocument Sciences, LLC, a  key Toshiba business partner. Bill will share strategies to effectively control and protect your organization’s critical information and avoid a WikiLeaks-type disaster in your company."

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Kofax Lands Large Distributed Capture Deal

Sorry for all the three posts in one day, but I've been working fairly heads down on a project for someone and haven't had a chance to post, even though I've seen some interesting news move. This story is another example - it's about Kofax landing a $400,000 deal with Rohm and Haas, a Philadelphia-based manufacturer of chemical products and materials and a subsidiary of Dow Chemical.

I guess the cool part of this implementation to me, at least, is that it's one of those combo distributed/centralized capture applications I've been talking about, where the user captures the paper at the distributed sites, but then does the data entry centrally. I think this is more common that people in the industry generally admit, especially as the MFP capture people try to introduce more intelligence at the device.

This is the first large deal in a long time that I remember that Kofax announced that doesn't include the Kofax Transformation modules - the automated data capture stuff. Rather its for VRS, Kofax Capture, and Kofax Monitor, presumably for ensuring quality images are captured at the distributed sites, so key entry (or another vendor's data capture product) can be used at the central site on a million invoices and other financial documents a year.

SaaS P2P Provider Making News

Taulia, which offers a hosted purchase-to-pay solutions, has been making the news in the last couple weeks. At end of last month, it annouced a partnership with invoice capture specialist Brainware. It followed up this week by announcing a $3.2 million round of Series A financing.

Taulia is especially interesting to us because its management team features three ex-ReadSoft employees, all of whom were with Ebydos. Ebydos, of course, developed the SAP workflow integration technology, which ReadSoft leveraged to really break into the invoice processing market in a big way. From the way I understand it, Taulia basically enables users to take full advantage of their capture applications.

They do this be enabling a process called dynamic discounting. Here's an excerpt from an article that ran earlier this year in our premium edition that explains dynamic discounting and Taulia's buisness plan:

"Dynamic discounting is designed to eliminate a disconnect between suppliers and buyers. 'Dynamic discounting takes banks out of the purchasing equation,' explained Markus Ament, CFO and VP, products and solutions for Taulia. 'It basically enables suppliers and buyers to finance transactions themselves.'


"According to Ament, the most common arrangement today is that suppliers offer a 2% discount if buyers pay within 10 days of an invoice date. 'If the invoice is paid on the 11th day, the buyer receives no discount,' he said. 'So, if a buyer knows it is not going to get a discount, it will often hold its payment until the 30th day to maximize the interest it is receiving from its bank.

"'The problem is that this often requires the supplier to finance its business in other ways while awaiting payment. Based on today’s interest rates, the buyer might be earning 1% on its cash, while the supplier is financing its business at a much higher rate. Really, the only ones profiting from this arrangement are the banks.'

"Dynamic discounting involves creating a sliding discount scale, depending on when an invoice is paid. For example, for days 11-15, a supplier could offer a 1.75% discount, for days 15-20, 1.5%, and so on. This enables the buyer to earn more than the 1% interest rate it gets from the bank, and enables the supplier to finance its business at a lower rate.

"'Before invoice automation utilizing technologies like OCR, almost no invoices were paid within the first 10 days,' said Ament. 'Even with automation, the majority are still not paid in that time period— but many are processed well before 30 days. So, unless buyers can take advantage of a process like dynamic discounting, they’re not really getting the full ROI from their A/P automation implementation.

"Ament’s company is called Taulia, and its service is licensed by buyers and integrated with their ERP systems. 'The buyer basically sets the discount rates,' said Ament. 'The supplier selects a payment date and accepts the discount associated with that date—assuming the invoice is processed on time.'"

KnowledgeLake Comments on ECM Magic Quadrant

Gartner's 2010 ECM Magic Quadrant Report has certainly generating a lot of buzz in our industry. Several vendors have released press releases touting their positioning in the Quadrant. As I've already commented, I thought it was a fairly good year for document imaging companies as image processing maintained the same weight (15%) in the rankings as the previous year and BPM actually increased 5% to 25%, while EDM and WCM components each dropped 5%. These seemed to be favorable changes, based on the make-up of most document imaging applications.

While imaging-for-SharePoint specialist KnowledgeLake was not ranked by Gartner, it was quick to weigh in on Microsoft's positioning as the ECM market leader. "Microsoft is leading this market and our decision to focus exclusively on Microsoft SharePoint has been a key to our success and has enabled us to experience 312% revenue growth since 2007," states Ron Cameron, president of KnowledgeLake. The KLake press release goes on to explain the KnowledgeLake is more than a "document capture," vendor, which is apparently how Gartner defines them.

According to the KLake press release the company, "provides a solution for managing the content of the electronic data within SharePoint as a Document Imaging solution. This includes the searching, viewing, securing, routing and annotating of mission critical electronic content. KnowledgeLake also differentiates itself by providing a unique offering for SharePoint searching by taking full advantage of both the native SharePoint Search and FAST Search providers, delivering pin-point accurate keyword and property search results on a single page."

One interesting observation is that Gartner seems to define SharePoint as a content management infrastructure and social content management tool. Knowledge's positioning is that it takes SharePoint and makes it a transactional content management tool. My observation has been that the new features in SharePoint 2010 also move it closer toward a tool that can be used for transactional content management applications, which is what document imaging has historically addressed best.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

OnBase 10 Focuses on Case Management

Hyland has released the latest version of its OnBase ECM suite. Version 10 is being positioned around "case management."  From my understanding, case management seems to be some sort of combination of traditional document imaging managment and BPM, but at the same time pulling in information and integration with mutliple other applications that also influence a case. In the press release, Hyland talks about integrating with line-of-busienss systems, as well as SharePoint for collaboration. In years past, I believe FileNet used this term, as well as EMC Documentum, and most recently Global 360 has been making a big deal about it. All these companies, and Hyland as well, feature strong BPM components in the ECM suites.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Panasonic Announces MFP Communications Hub

Panasonic System Networks Company of America, which represents the combination of the merger of Panasonic's document, communications, and security divisions, has released what it is billing as a new 8-in-1 MFP device. The new KX-MB2061 advertises "laser printing, copying, scanning and faxing capabilities, and a unique integrated telephone answering system utilizing the Internet. Voice messages and in-coming fax documents can be converted into a standard .wav file and in-coming fax documents into PDF format, both of which are accessible on Smart phones and or PCs."  And it lists for $249.

I thought this was a cool representation of the potential of integrated communications systems encompassing docucment and voice functionality. Not seen a lot of applications in this area to date, but they certainly make sense to me.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Lexmark-Perceptive Develop MFP Integration

Lexmark and Perceptive Software have announced that Perceptive's imaging and workflow software has been integrated with Lexmark's embedded Solutions Framework (eSF).  This makes sense, of course, as Lexmark, a multi-billion dollar vendor of printers and MFPs, acquired Perceptive in May. At the time, there was really no partnership between the two companies or integration between their products.

Lexmark's announced strategy has been to pretty much let Perceptive continue to run its exiting business, while trying to expand it by taking advantage of some of Lexmark's channels. This new integration, which enables Lexmark users to access Perceptive applications through their MFP touchscreens, would certainly be a nod toward the growth element of that strategy.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nuance Announces eCopy ShareScan 5

After Canon previewed the product at September's Canon Expo, Nuance has officially announced eCopy ShareScan 5. This is the first major release of ShareScan since Nuance acquired eCopy just over a year ago. It leverages Nuance's OCR technology to create scan-to-Office, forms processing, and auto-highlight and -redaction options right from the MFP touchscreen. It also offers some improved centralized admin capabilties for better management of distributed capture implementations.

Long-time eCopy partner Canon is the first MFP vendor to make ShareScan 5 available through its salesforce and channels. The Canon press release (available through the link) does a good job explaining the different levels of the ShareScan that are now available.

In our upcoming premium issue, we will discuss some of the other moves eCopy has made and is making to help increase the market for both ShareScan and the Connectors developed by its ISV partners.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

IBML Announces Next Generation of ImageTracs

The Birmingham, AL-based high-speed document scanner manufacturer has released an updated version of its popular ImageTrac line. The 5000 series is the successor to the III and IV lines, which were launched a few years back, with the ImageTrac III, eventually renamed the 3, upgraded multiple times over the years. "The 3 has pretty much run its course," acknowledged Derrick Murphy, president of IBML.

Yes, the 5000 series is slightly faster than the III and IV, rated at either 257 ppm or 429 ppm at 200 dpi, depending which version you choose. But, even though its scanners are very fast, IBML has always been about more than speed. And the new 5300 and 5400 models feature ergonomic and usability improvements as well. The new design also makes it less expensive for users to add sorting pockets in some cases. We'll have more complete coverage on these new devices in our next premium edition of the newsletter.

Ricoh Leverages Microsoft Distributed Scan Management

Ricoh Americas has announced that is has developed an MFP scan management app, based on Microsoft's Distributed Scan Management (DSM) tools that are included in Windows Server 2008 R2. DSM can be used to configure scannning processes, like scan-to-SharePoint, Exchange, or file systems folders. Once configured on a user's server, these processes can now be accessed through DSM compatible Ricoh MFPs.

According to Ron Albeck, Manager, Capture & Distribution Marketing, for Ricoh Americas Corporation, "The technology is very robust for a customer who only wants live in the MS world. It gives them complete control of their MFP from their 2008 R2 server to allow or disallow what each user can do with a complete audit trail."

There is currently no OCR available, but apparently Microsoft has owned up DSM to ISVs, like Nuance, ABBYY, and others, that can develop OCR integration with it. I'll have more on DSM in my next premium issue.

.  

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gartner Magic Quadrant Update

If you receive my premium newsletter, you saw Friday that I ran an article on Gartner's new report on the ECM Magic Quadrant. We mentioned that Hyland, Laserfiche, and Perceptive, three ISVs with document imaging-focused products, all made significant moves up and/or to the right, which is where you want to be on these charts. We apparently erred, however, in explaining Hyland's move. Hyland actually moved from a challenger to a leader in the ECM  market. It is now grouped with heavy hitters like IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, EMC, and Open Text.

We thought this was an interesting quote from CEO A.J. Hyland in the company's press release: “To us, product vision isn’t only about what you choose to do. It’s just as much about what you choose not to do."

A couple other interesting points that I didn't have room for in the newsletter:
1. Xerox made a significant move from a "niche player" to a "visionary," primarily, from what I can tell, due to its acquisition of ACS last year.
2. One metric that may have helped imaging companies, and I take as a sign of the recognition of imaging's importance in the ECM market (finally) is that imaging-processing related apps retained their weight of accounting for 15% of Gartner's rating, while document management and WCM each dropped off 5%. Also, BPM, which is strength of most ISVs with imaging-focused products, gained 5%, as did "Extended Components," which I'm assuming (but am not sure) could include document capture.

If you want to download a copy of Gartner's report, go to the Hyland link above and there is a link on their site for downloading the report.  

Monday, November 15, 2010

Latest on ABBYY-Nuance Lawsuit

Apparently, ABBYY's parent company is back in the lawsuit, being brought by Nuance over OCR patent infringement. According to this blog post, both ABBYY 's Cyprus and Russian location, which had previously been dismissed from the suit, have been ruled back in play. The case, which was originally filed in 2008 is currenlty being played out  in United States District Court for the Northern District of California under (case no. 08-CV-2912) Judge Jeffrey S. White.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

CVision Releases PDF Compressor 5.0 with SuperFast OCR

CVision has leveraged its pattern recognition expertise to develop what it terms as "Super Fast" OCR in the latest version of its PDF Compressor software. The software is named "PDF Compressor" because of its ability to create very small PDF files from scanned images. This is achieved through the application of segmenting and JBIG compression.

In PDF Compressor 5.0 CVision, an ISV based in Queens, NY, utilizes inter- and intra-page font learning to accelerate the OCR process. According to CVision founder and CEO Ari Gross, "We can apply OCR 10 times faster than [a leading OCR vendor], with the same accuracy."

PDF Compressor 5.0 also features a "Super Accurate" mode that leverages font learning. In this mode, CVision boasts a 5-10% accuracy increase over leading OCR engines. This is based on word accuracy.

It's probably important to note that CVision does not develop its own OCR technology. Rather, for PDF Compressor, it licenses Nuance's OCR toolkit and improves upon it with its proprietary technology.

PDF Compressor is a mature products with an install base in the thousands. There are versions available that can be integrated into the workflows of leading capture platforms from Kofax, EMC Captiva, and Oracle.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Open Text Licenses Oracle Archiving SDS

Not exactly sure what this means, but according to the press release, "Open Text is obtaining a technology and distribution license specifically for the Oracle Universal Online Archive Content Management SDK. As part of this agreement, Open Text can embed Oracle technology in its products, allowing the company to fully utilize the capabilities of Oracle Database 11g as an enterprise content repository. This will also permit rapid uptake of Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g and other Oracle platform capabilities."

Here's the way I understand it, and this may be wrong: Open Text has always been a Microsoft shop, running on SQL databases, but now wants to work with Oracle databases as well. Of course, Documentum has been a long-time user of Oracle databases, and after the Stellent acquisition, Oracle has its own ECM technology to run on its database.  But, as far as Oracle is concerned, the more ECM systems that leverage its database, the better. And Open Text does have a large install base--including a lot of SAP customers and a deep SAP partnership, which really makes the expanded Oracle-Open Text partnership interesting, because, of course, SAP and Oracle are at each other's throats in the ERP market. And, we all assumed SAP was going to buy Open Text. So, maybe that's not the case anymore?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Top Image Systems Reports Profitable Third Quarter

Tel Aviv-based document capture software specialist Top Image Systems continued its trend of profitability in its recently completed third quarter. For the three months ended Sept. 30, TIS reported "Non-GAAP net income of $0.95 million or $0.09 per diluted share, compared to $0.60 million or $0.05 per diluted share (the year previous). "TIS also reported "Positive cash flow from operations of $1.10 million, compared to $0.25 million; and Adjusted EBITDA of $1.0 million compared to $0.70 million."

This is all good news for TIS, which after seven consecutive profitable quarters now has $3.65 million in the bank, a decent turnaround for a company that spent several years focused on growth, while losing money. Interestingly, the company has actually gotten smaller during its profitable run and third-quarter revenue was $5.4 million, compared to $5.9 million for the 2009 third quarter. For the year, TIS is now predicting
"revenues to be between $21.5 and $21.8 million." compared to $23.5 miillion in 2009 and $32.2 million in 2008. However, the 2008 revenue especially was inflated by lower-margin low-end software/third-party sales related to TIS's acquisition of AsiaSoft. TIS has spent the last two years divesting itself of the lower-margin stuff and re-focusing on its higher-end data capture and digital mailroom business. The result has been the increased profitability.

All this is playing out against TIS' efforts to keep its stock trading on the Nasdaq, by getting the share price over $1.00 a share for a period of consecutive days. This week, it reached $1 for the first time in a while, but had fallen somewhere in the upper $.90s as of this post. Nonetheless the stock spike and profitable quarter, in continued tough economic times would appear good signs for TIS.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Kofax Introduces New "Elite" Version of VRS

Not sure how Kofax is going to market this, or how it fits in with the VRS Standard and Professional lines, but the new VRS Elite version certainly has some intriguing features. These include centralized licensing for better control over distributed capture apps, device monitoring capabilties, and automatic profile creation, as well as some improved image processing algorithms.

VRS, of course, has been a tremendously successful product for Kofax over the years, basically creating the market for grayscale thresholding on document images. It's bundled with scanners from leading vendors like Fujitsu, Kodak (on the products picked up from Bell + Howell) and Canon, and many shops have standardized on it. However, last year's decline in scanner sales definitely hit Kofax's VRS business, and despite some discussion about, Kofax still hasn't found a way to really leverage VRS in MFP scanning environments- which account for an ever-increasing segement of the capture market. We hope to have more coverage of VRS Elite in an upcoming premium edition.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Lockheed Delivers DRIS Info to Census Bureau

With all the publicity surrounding cost overruns surrounding the 2010 U.S. Census, it's good to hear that Lockheed Martin has completed the Decennial Response Integration System (DRIS) contract on scheudle and under budget. "Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] made its final set of deliveries for the population count—which included data from more than 165 million 2010 Census forms—to the U.S. Census Bureau," said a recent press release.

The release touts the delivery as the culmination of a six-year effort, which was covered extensively in DIR. Here's a story we did in Feb. of this year when things were about to go live. It dicusses the deployment of some 45 IBML ImageTrac IV scanners at three sites, which were used to scan the forms in color. The 2010 Census marked the second time, image-based data collection technology was used. And it seems like a smashing success, especially when compared to alternative data collection technologies like mobile computing, which was tried and failed this time around--accounting for an increase in the number for forms handled by DRIS. 

We also expect digital images to be accepted by NARA this year for the first time, for long-term archiving, saving millions in microfilm costs.

PDF/A-2 Standard on Way

LuraTech recently sent us this link explaining some of the new features in the upcoming PDF/A-2 standard. PDF/A is the electronic document archiving standard that was approved by ISO in 2005, but to date as seen limited adoption in North America. The PDF/A Competence Center, of which LuraTech is a member, is hoping to change that.

The technical work on PDF/A-2 is apparently finished with the standard set to be published in early 2011. PDF/A-2 can be used on more complex documents including those with JPEG 2000 compression, open font types, and those including document collections. Overall, it should make PDF/A a more versatile standard and help drive more adoption.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Laserfiche suing SAP

This is kind of cool. Long Beach, CA-based document imaging ISV is taking on SAP over the use of its "Run Smarter" slogan. According to a complaint filed by Lasefriche, Laserfiche is the owner of the U.S. Trademark for "Run Smarter" and has been using it in its materials since 2004. According to Laserfiche, SAP has been recently using the phrase in ads "too numerous to list." Here's one example, we found online.

The complaint says that SAP knew the phrase as trademarked by Laserfiche, but used it anyway. It what seems somewhat of a stretch, Laserfiche contents that SAP is trying to deceive customers into believing its software is associated with Laserfiche's. I'm not saying Laserfiche doesn't have great software, but it seems to me that Laserfiche might benefit more by being associated with SAP than vice-versa. Laserfiche does express concern that non-working SAP implementations could damage its image, which does seem valid.

Laserfiche would like some money, as well as attorney and legal fees from SAP. They also want SAP to cease and desist and deliver up any materials using the trademarked phrase for destruction.
Sounds like fun.

Document Imaging-related humor

From today's Non-Sequitor (yes, I still get the hard copy newspaper and read the comics). Please scroll to Oct. 28, if you are reading this after that post date).

It's funny because it's kind of true: In many cases inefficiencies make people feel more powerful. Inefficient process and more complex to manage than efficient ones, and managing complexity certainly has some job security associated with it. Just another challenge to selling imaging systems.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

HP Announces Two new Scanners

With the scanner market predicted to bounce back this year after a decline in unit sales in 2009, we are starting to see a steady stream of new product announcements. During a recent global news conference, HP just announced a pair of new models coming out in the next few months.

The new ScanJet Pro 3000 is a desktop model that is rated 20 ppm/40 ipm at 300 dpi in color, grayscale, and bi-tonal. It has a 50 page ADF, ultrasonic double-feed detection, a TWAIN driver and comes bundled with Nuance's PaperPort and OmniPage software. It's fairly small and compact and weights five bounces. The 3000 is schceduled to ship in November with a list price of $449.

The new ScanJet Enterprise 7500 is bit more heavy duty. It features a legal-sized flatbet and is rated at 50/100 at 200 dpi in color, grayscale, and bi-tonal. The 7500 includes ISIS and TWAIN drivers, VRS, and HP's Smart Document Scan capture app, as well as ultrasonic double-feed detection. The HP Scanjet 7500 Enterprise Flatbed Scanner is expected to be available this winter for $1,399.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Konica Minolta to resell Kodak scanners

In another sign of the convergence of the MFP and document capture spaces, Konica Minolta has been announced it will be reselling Kodak scanners and Kodak Capture Pro Software. Konica Minolta and Kodak have a long history together based on microfilm sales, but the move into document scanners appears to take the relationship in somewhat of a new direction - as microfilm is a dying market, and capture -especially when being sold as part of the new managed print services (MPS) wave being currently pushed by MFP vendors, is clearly a growth arena.

For Kodak, the move represents another step in its efforts to broaden its scanner reseller channels. First you had the KAIR (Kodak Authorized Imaging Reseller) channel, who focused on mid- and high-volume scanners, then they added KDSR (Kodak Desktop Scanner Reseller), focused on distribtuted scannners - and now those two channels have been combined. You also have a lot of volume going through what Kodak calls Direct Market Resellers, which includes organizations like Dell and CDW.

Russell Hunt, Kodak's Regional Business Manager for U.S. and Canada, recently told DIR that Kodak has had to go outside its traditional reseller channel to drive significant growth. "Unless we land extraordinarily large wins, we're not seeing big growth out of our KAIR channel," he said during a recent analyst meeting in Rochester. "That's why we're reaching out more to new channels and partners like MFP vendors."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Canon and Kofax Expand Partnership

Canon recently announced that it has signed a distribution agreement with Kofax to distribute its scanners throughout the Middle East. The deal was signed by Canon Middle East and covers 15 countries. According to the press release, "Kofax will provide equipment distribution, service and fulfillment support. This marks a significant partnership following Canon’s decision last year to include Kofax’s VirtualReScan (VRS) software, the de-facto standard for scanning productivity and quality with all professional scanner models distributed in EMEA."

So, it certainly shows an expanded releationship between the two companies and is good for Kofax's hardware business, was has notably been losing revenue and profits in recent years.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sizing the MPS Market

There's been a lot of talk about managed print services\ (MPS) in the MFP market lately. In our next previous edition, we'll examine where the rubber hits the road as far as document imaging and MPS. For now, here's an article from a publication called The Imaging Channel that speculates on the size of the MPS market.

On the high-end, it's being projected at $25 billion a year with projections to grow to $60 billion by 2013. That's fairly large when you consider that Harvey Spencer Associates has estimated the size of the document capture software market to be just $2 billion with projections to grow to $3 billion by 2013.

On the more conservative side, the MPS market is projected at $7-8 billion a year with 8-15% CAGR projections. I guess a lot of it has to do with how you define MPS.

Ralph

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mitek Launches Mobile Phone Bill Pay App

This is kind of cool.

You certainly remember Mitek, the recognition technology specialist that a few years ago dedicated its business to developing smart-phone-centric capture applications. Mitek's revenue certainly hasn't soared, but it's stock value has more than tripled since April, as the market for capturing and depositing checks with mobile phones continues to grow, or at least become more visible.

According to a recent article in American Banker on the San Diego-based ISV, "Mitek is upping the tech firm’s foothold in the burgeoning mobile RDC space by entering a number of OEM agreements, such as the one it recently inked with Fiserv....Mitek also recently signed OEM agreements with NCR, RDM, WAUSAU Financial Systems, DirectFED, and others that Mitek would not disclose. Additionally, the firm has signed deals with Clairmail, mFoundry and Monitise Americas. And a Mitek spokesperson says Bancorp Bank and Conestoga bank have announce deployments, with more bank signings expected to be announced in the near future.



The new bill pay product would apparently be marketed to similar types of organizations. Users would take a picture of their bills and then OCR/ICR would be performed to presumably populate a smart phone app, with the user keying in any data that could not be recognized. This informamtion would then be submitted to the bank to pay a bill. Very cool hybrid of electronic and traditional paper billing paying/banking and the perfect spot for imaging technology as a bridge to electronic transactions from the paper world.

Ralph

Iron Mountain Hires Ex-ACS CIO

A week after getting dinged for lowering its financial outlook, Iron Mountain has stepped up and hired Tasos Tsolakis, the former chief information officer for Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), as its new CIO. Iron Mountain obviously has a huge legacy business storing people's paper documents, which, with the continued increasing adoption of all sorts of electronic content management technology, is probably a dying market - albeit fairly slowly. However, over the past several years, I've been fairly impressed with the high-tech savvy and vision of the at least the people I talk with at Iron Mountain. Now, I know it's a huge company, and I'm only getting the biggest imaging advocates, because that's the business I'm in, but you have to like the hiring of someone with Tsolakis background.

When you are talking about document storage and management, storing paper documents is probably the lowest rung on the latter in terms of complexity and margins you can demand. What ACS (which was acquired by Xerox last year) does, outsourcing business processes for their customers, is way up the latter and that's clearly where Iron Mountain - and everybody else managing paper (Xerox, for example) would like to go.

Ralph

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Healthcare Information Exchanges Create Capture Opportunities

If you didn't see it, a couple weeks ago in the premium edition of DIR, I ran a summary of a presentation given by Dr. Craig Jones, Vemont's executive director for its Blueprint for Health initiative. He discussed his state's plan to create an electronic exchange for patient information that receives information from EMR systems. This was an idea first introduced to us as last year's TAWPI-Fusion show by Accenture's Chris Deelsnyder. And, it seems to be catching on, as today Maryland announced such an exchange center is shaping up in its state as well.

According to Dr. Jones, the opportunity and challenge for capture vendors regarding around these "exchanges" is being abel to ensure that needed information is captured off the patient records - which he says is a big hurdle at the current point in time, because EMR systems are generally very not good at this.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Imaging Recommendations for Medical Records

Cintas put together this interesting list of steps for medical offices/hospitials needing to do imaging as part of their transition to EMR. Of course, the advice plays right into the services that Cintas offers, but I think it's fairly sound, and when I talked with them last, Cintas was doing a fairly brisk business in this market. Several other service bureaus seem to be doing okay as well.

Cintas, of course, is best known as "the uniform company," but they got into document shredding a 10 years back and then, to complement that bought some paper records storage organizations. Finally, a couple years ago, Cintas a couple imaging service bureaus and has rolled out the services nationwide. At last check, it's entire document managment business was doing about $60 million per quarter.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Open Source Capture

We've been hearing some good buzz around Alfresco, an open source ECM venture launched a few years back by some ex-Documentum developers in the U.K. Yesterday, we saw this announcement about an open source capture venture launched by Kofax's former head of professional services. We caught up with the CTO of Ephesoft this afternoon and will have more on them in our next premium issue.

Basically, Ephesoft offer a automatic document classification and extraction software in two flavors: a Community and an Enterprise edition, which carries an annual maintenance fee and comes with support and the RecoStar OCR engine from Open Text Document Technologies.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

GruntWorx leverages Tessact OCR

I thought this was pretty cool. Remember, in 2007 Google announced it was launching an open source OCR project based on the Tesseract Code, which was developed by HP in the late 1980s and early 1990s. At AIIM that year, we interviewed document capture/OCR expert Chris Riley on what he thought would be the effects of this initiative on the OCR industry.

In our April 20, 2007 issue, Riley commented, "“The real threat to the commercial OCR market could come from independent developers who decide to take the engine and run with it. The technology’s true power could be unleashed when it is set into motion for a niche type of processing, and fine-tuned to do it well."

For more than three years, we didn't hear a whole lot about people leveraging open source OCR. However, currently we are working on a story on a company called Copanion that has leveraged the Tesseract OCR technology to create a niche SaaS application for capturing data from tax forms. Based on the number of forms they processed, we're estimating their run rate for the 2010 tax season was around $3 million and they are expecting to surpass $10 million for the 2011 tax season.

Granted, they use a lot of their own proprietary algorithms on top of the Tesseract OCR, but it's kind of cool what they are accomplishing. For more, check out this week's premium issue of DIR.

Monday, October 04, 2010

MPS Plus Enteprise Capture: An Emerging Trend

When I spoke at Harvey Spencer Associates' annual capture conference a couple weeks ago, one of the predictions I made was that a digital copier vendor would buy a capture ISV. Yes, we've already seen Lexmark acquire Perceptive, and I guess in many ways, this is represenative of what I was talking about. So, I guess I should have said "another" MFP vendor will buy a capture company.

I based this prediction on the emergence of the managed print services (MPS) market, which according to the Photizo Group, has grown from $9.5 billion globally in 2006 to $20.3 billion in 2009. That stat comes from a recent e-mail I received from Nuance, which also states, that "by 2013, the market researcher estimates the market will be $59.7 billion in revenues, accounting for over 50 percent of the total distributed imaging business market."

No doubt, MFP vendors view MPS has a huge opportunity for themselves. With hardware sales struggling, software and services-based MPS gives them a way to re-invent themselves.

I just got off the phone with Joy Lipari, an executive with Xerox's MPS group who told me Xerox is integrating ACS's document management expertise into its enteprise MPS strategy. She acknowledged that most MPS cusotmers are still in the early stages of trying to reduce costs through better utilzing their printing resources, but added that there is certainly interest in adding document scanning to MPS platforms.

"The advantage of MPS is that it enables you to track how often someone is participating in a process," she said. "For instance, you might find that one department is utilizling a vertical capture solution 100% of the time and another, only 2%. MPS enables you to monitor these types of metrics."

How the emerging concepts of "enterprise capture" and MPS will come together exactly remains to be seen - but we're confident there is something there.

In the mean time, here's some more from that e-mail from Nuance, which discusses: "Five Areas Where Print and Document Capture Value Converge in Managed Print Services Strategies:"

1. Authentication

- For Print Management Users: Authentication means security at device or “Who are you?” It can involve a variety of methods from PINs to smartcards to biometrics.
- For Document Capture Users: Authentication involves a single sign-on in Microsoft Office-based workflows that feeds credentials to downstream business applications such as content management systems.

2. Authorization
- For Print Management Users: Authorization provides access to features and addresses: “What are you allowed to do?” It can restrict or allow print, copy and fax options.
- For Document Capture Users: Authorization helps to deliver a personalized or role-based workflow experience by allowing only the applications the user needs to be presented.

3. Accounting
- For Print Management Users: Accounting enables charge-back to internal billing systems or the ability to bill back externally for print and copy functions to recover the costs of fixed assets and supplies.
- For Document Capture Users: Accounting provides the means to charge-back internally or bill back externally for value added document services or processes.

4. Audit Trail
- For Print Management Users: Audit trails provide a rolling history of print and copy activity – helping an organization maintain a log of what has been done internally.
- For Document Capture Users: Audit trails produce a compliance-oriented history of document behavior - allowing an enterprise to always know: “who has scanned what, to whom, and how?”

5. Cloud Computing- and Server-based Tickets or Tokens
- For Print Management Users: These capabilities provide pull-printing or “follow me” printing for secure release and waste reduction. Users can print to the cloud or server, and release at the device.
- For Document Capture Users: These capabilities deliver bi-directional interplay with content management systems or forms. It can also provide an application-based scan trigger with delayed scanning integrated with a ticket or token.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

2010 Census Forms on Track to be Saved as Digital Images

If you remember, after the 2000 U.S. Census, in which digital imaging was used for the first time to capture data from the forms, the forms were all transferred to microfilm before being submitted to NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) for long-term storage. This was after the Census Bureau had originally thought the digital images would be good enough for archiving. But, apparently, there was some disagreement over who would be in charge of ensuring that electronic images remained current, so a "human-readable" format - microfilm, was chosen.

Shortly thereafter, the PDF/A - A for "archiving" initiative was undertaken. We're not saying that NARA and the Census Bureau have agreed that PDF/A will be the long-term electronic format, but it's at least now an option - and over the past 10 years, people have certainly increased their focus on perserving electronic documents for lengthy periods of time.

Regarding the 2010 Census forms, which were once again captured digitally for data processing, early signs are that they will be archived as electronic images. From the timeline I've seen, most of the data extraction should be done by now and the information should be being prepared for submission to the President's office.

Here's an e-mail we recently received from the U.S. Census Bureau, ""The DRIS program considers all images used in the Census to be permanent records and has and will maintain them with links to the data throughout the life of the program. The referenced "blog" on the NARA website is a very accurate description of the activities being worked between Census and NARA to prepare the formal records schedule."

The "referenced blog" attempts to dispel some rumors that no images of the forms are going to be saved - only the data.

Ralph

Monday, September 20, 2010

NYC OMR Voting Implementation Proves Disastrous

Long-time readers of DIR  know that I've been a proponent of OMR-based voting ever since the 2000 presidential election controversy involving punchcards, hanging chads, and a future Nobel Prize winner. Knowing the great forms processing technology that was out there, I was somewhat shocked to realize that this old-style data capture method was still in use.

Of course, the 2000 election was followed by a wave of transition to touchscreen voting machines, which have their own issues associated with them. Can you say "black box voting?"

Gradually, after many conversations on this topic, I came to believe that some sort of image-based OMR scanner would be the best solution. You'd get a system that was mark-based, for simplicity, and you'd have an image of the ballot for archiving purposes. Well, for this month's primary, it seems the New York City area went with some sort of analog OMR-system, with disastrous results.

The primaries took place the week of Harvey Spencer Associates recent document capture conference and Spener was scathing in his commentary about the implementation. He said something to the effect that this is a black-eye for the industry caused by much less than state-of-the-art technology being used.

The vendor for the system was Election Systems and Software (ES&S) - clearly not one of the leaders in the document imaging market. At Harvey's event, we did catch up with Todd Radtke of Scantron, which is the leader in OMR-based test scanning in North America. He confirmed something we'd heard before-that the barrier to entry of having a system approved for use in federal elections is so high - like over $1 million per system to apply for the testing, that Scantron has chosen not to participate in the election market.

Oh yeah, apparently the awarding of the NYC contract to ES&S is under investigation.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

TIS Wins $2 Million Invoice Processing Deal

In a good sign that big invoice processing deals are still out there, Top Image Systems just announced it had completed installation of a 1.5 million Euro (almost $2 million) deal with an Italian power company. The customer is running an SAP ERP system. Because there has been so much focus on the capture of invoices in SAP environments over the past few years, especially by vendors like ReadSoft and Open Text, we often wonder how many big deals of this nature are left, and the answer we typically get is that the market is only 25% penetrated at most.

Historically, TIS has been strongest in Europe, but espeically Germany, so it's a good sign for them to win such a big deal in a market other than Germany. And apparently, there are still big invoice processsing deals out there to be won.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

PBMS Signs Deal with IMERGE

Pitney Bowes Management Services, whose new president was featured in the last issue of DIR,  recently signed a reseller agreement with long-time imaging consulitng firm IMERGE. IMERGE will support PBMS customers with records management iniatives, expescially in the life sciences and healthcare markets. PBMS focuses mainly on outsourcing the mailroom services at Global 2000 organizations. Records management, including digital mailroom services, are a growing part of its business, which also includes print and physical mailing services.

PBMS has several hundred customers worldwide. In a press release, Betty McAlvany, director, Product Management, for PBMS stated, “Our customers face increasing pressures in the healthcare space to meet deadlines for selection and implementation of Electronic Medical Records systems, cost-cutting and efficiency, all of which have a significant impact on their records management strategies. Through our relationship with IMERGE, we will continue to offer our clients the full breadth of records management operational expertise they have come to expect and trust from PBMS, along with premier consultative services, helping ensure that all aspects of their records and information management initiatives are addressed.”

Thursday, September 09, 2010

SaaS ECM Continues to Gain Momentum

In preparation for my presenation at Harvey Spencer's upcoming annual Capture Conference, I was going over my 2009 predictions, one of which was "SaaS ECM continues to outpace traditional software market." Each year at the Capture Conference I grade my predictions from the previous year before announcing my latest predictions. Well, a week ago, I had a feeling that this particular prediction was correct. Now I am certain.

That certainty is based on a couple things. First off, I got an e-mail from Digitech Systems, touting how one of its VARs, Polar Imaging in Ontario, had leveraged its ImageSilo SaaS application to grow close to 50% in 2008, and continue to grow in 2009. Then I got this release from Hyland Software touting its opening of an Australian data center, on the heels of its success with a U.K.-based data center, to accomdate its growing SaaS business.

Steve Todd, CEO of Polar, indicated that SaaS is much more widely accepted than it was even 18 months ago-- and now customers that formerly insisted on receiving scanned images on CDs, have done an about face and only want to talk about SaaS. Both Todd and Ron McClellan of Hyland (who is quoted in the press release) stress the flexibility that SaaS offers. "“Organizations in the market for on-premise ECM are often choosing to work with us specifically because we also offer a SaaS product,” said McClellan. “This is because the right deployment method today may not be right tomorrow."

Todd added that SaaS is a great way to demo imaging technology and that once customers see their documents on-line, they will often be convinced to go live with a SaaS imaging implementation.

One interesting sidenote, that is also likely related to Hyland's decision to build data centers in other countries, is that Todd said Polar ran into some Patriot Act issues when it first tried to leverage Digitech's U.S.-based data centers. But, apparently that has been taken care of, as almost's all Polar's customers are in Canada.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Kofax Lands $2.35 million deal in Czech Republic

Speaking of the education market, Kofax landed another large deal recently, this one with an educational agency in the Czech Republic. AutoCont, a long-time Kofax VAR, won the deal which is Inworth $2.35 million to Kofax. This includes, Kofax Capture, Kofax Transformation Modules and scanners, as well as professional services. 

The implementation will be used to "capture information from more than eight million pages of examination papers received annually from more than 1,500 high schools." Seems like the education market is adopting more imaging worldwide.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Hyland Acquires Hershey

Hyland has acquired Los Angeles area-based ISV Hershey Systems. Hershey has a Web-based ECM platform that has recently been targeted primarily at the higher education market, where it boasts some 200 installations. Hyland already has a fairly strong higher education practice, which was boosted by a 2006 acquisition of one of its reseller partners Matrix Imaging.

The education market seems to be a growing vertical, as we recently completed a briefing with MFP capture ISV Notable Solutions, Inc., who also told us that education was one of its major focuses.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

BancTec Lands Deal With IRS

BancTec, the Dallas-based payment and document capture specialist announced it has won a deal for 13 high-speed scanners with the IRS through Northrop Grumman. The scanners will be used in the IRS' four corporate returns processing centers, as well as a test center. BancTec's IntelliScan devices are open track scanners that feature in-line OCR, bar-code reading, and sorting capabilties and can process seveal hundred pages per minute.

Monday, August 30, 2010

IAPP-TAWPI Capture Conference Moved

I apologize for any confusion created by my previous e-mailer, which listed the annual TAWPI Document Capture Conference as still taking place in December. In the wake of the TAWPI's merger with the International Accounts Payable Professionals (IAPP) organization last year, the event has been moved, both physically and the date, and the focused tightened.

The new date and place is February 7-9, 2011, at the Omni Dallas Hotel Park in Dallas. The new focus is financial document mangement. According to Tom Bohn, CEO of IAPP, the changes were made to "breathe new life" into the event, which suffered a down year last year. More details in our next premium issue of DIR.

KLake Named to Inc. 5000

Congratulations to imaging-for-SharePoint ISV and specialist KnoweldgeLake for being named to the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing comapnies in America.

From the press release:
"KnowledgeLake has experienced 312% revenue growth since 2007. It has experienced growth and profit every year, has had zero job cuts and continues to grow with a conservative focus. KnowledgeLake added over 300 new customers in 2009, has over two million licensed users in 35 countries, and its products ship in 11 languages."

We've heard great things about KnowledgeLake's growth from the company's executives and this helps validate it. A lot people think KnowledgeLake is going to be facing some stiffer competition as everyone else in the market is jumping with both feet into the SharePoint space. However, KnowledgeLake, which has been the leader in imaging-for-SharePoint solutions pretty much since it was founded, has a 5-year head start, including a really good understanding of SharePoint 2010 and how it can be used as a fairly powerful platform on which to build imaging and document management solutions. In other, we expect this growth to continue at least into the near future.

--Ralph

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Correction to DIR Article on eGistics & Peladon

In last week's (Aug. 6) issue I ran a story about eGistics teaming with Peladon to win a large health insurance claims processing contract with a major BPO (presumed by me to be ACS) with a large state Medicaid organization (believed by me to be California.) Note: Peladon and eGistics are under NDAs, and the names that I've named are speculation by me based on the timing of the ACS contract with Calilfornia and the volumes - which are 1.5 to 2 million claims per month - not per year, as I reported in DIR. Sorry about the mistake.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

IBM Acquires Datacap

In kind of a surprising move, Big Blue has picked up document and automated data capture ISV Datacap, for an undisclosed amount. Why is this a surprise? Well, because everyone thought Kofax was the natural target for IBM. Kofax, after all, has had an OEM agreement with FileNet (which was acquired by IBM in 2006) since 2005. And Kofax CEO Reynolds Bish had sold his previous company, Captiva, to IBM/FileNet's big ECM competitor EMC.  But, it was not to be. (at least not yet???)

Datacap, it's worth noting, had a relationship with FileNet going back to 2002 (see story on page 8). I remember Datacap CEO Scott Blau being somewhat miffed by the OEM agreement with Kofax. But he always maintained that the relationship with FileNet/IBM remained strong. I guess that proved to be the case.

Maybe coincidentally, Datacap and IBM are headquartered about 15 miles from each other, just north of New York City.

Just last week, ReadSoft's Bob Fresneda was telling us that he expected more consolidation in the industry, so there must have been rumors floating about.

The deal makes sense if you look at Datacap's legacy business, which was primarily larger accounts with complex data capture requirements - technology IBM clearly did not have. Recently, Datacap had begun marketing some mid-market invoice/unstructured forms capture stuff targeted at the channel. We're not sure that will fit in with IBM's goals.

Paradatec, another advanced data capture specialist that has partnered with IBM worldwide, could also suffer some fallout from this.

More later.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Adobe Acquires ECM Specialist Day Software

Adobe has announced plans to acquire Swiss ECM specialist Day Software for $240 million. I covered Day when it was a start-up back in 2002 (see story on page 6), At the time, Day was marketing something called a ContentBus and here's what we said: "The ContentBus,which is designed to apply a single set of content management controls to the multitude of data and document repositories that presumably exist within large companies. 'The goal of most ECM vendors is to get their customers to move all their content into a single repository. We offer all the benefits of content integration without the heavy lifting it takes to move the content,' said Day's VP of markering. Day boasts of 110 customers worldwide, mostly in Germany and Switzerland. It’s North American customers include the consumer electronics division of Sony and sportscaster Jim Rome’s Web site."

Day was also high on integrating multiple content repositories through the JSR (Java Specification Request) standards.

Quite frankly, I hadn't heard much about them until Adobe announced its acquisition, which seems to be for something like 5 times revenue. Day reported revenue of approximately $25 million for its last, which represents 47% growth.

Day has apparently found its niche, as here's what the Wall Street Journal article has to say:

"Day Software's products help companies manage the unstructured content–including files containing animation, video, photos or text–that are used to power company websites.


"The software also helps with social media by managing content gathered from external sources, such as customer reviews or blog postings. For example, companies can use the software to trigger a business response to content gathered from Twitter or Facebook.

"Day Software counts General Motors Co., McDonald's Corp. and Intercontinental Hotels Group as its clients. Within the last quarter, Day Software signed a host of new clients, including BMW AG and Hyatt Hotels Corp., said Day Software Chief Executive Erik Hansen in the interview. The company, which has seen licensing revenue grow at least 70% in each of the past four quarters, has doubled its sales and marketing presence in the U.S. over the past nine months, Hansen added.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Check Fraud Scheme Utilizes Images

I guess it it had to happen sooner or later. We spend a lot of time touting the security of electronic document technologies over paper, but now it appears that Russian hackers have broken into major check image repositories and used the images and associdated data to create some $9 million in couterfeit checks. I guess this isn't the first time there have been security breaches associated with document imaging. I remember a few years back there was a redaction screw up with some secure DoD documents, but this one is way bigger in scope. It also leverages modern print technology, which is very closely tied to the imaging market.

Remember a few years back when Frank Abignale- the guy the movie Catch Me if you Can spoke at a TAWPI event? Frank is now an expert in preventing check fraud. I'd be interested to hear his opinions on the latest generation of check scammers and what we can do to stop them. eWeek seems to suggest throwing more technology at the problem, which makes sense, as long as the good guys can keep moving faster than the bad guys.

Ralph

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Atalasoft Reports Strong Growth

We also need to give props to MA-based ISV AtalaSoft, which recently reported 56% growth for the second quarter. AtalaSoft has some great zero-footprint imaging tools and also has launched a growing SharePoint viewer business. It recently hired industry vet Paul Yantus to help manage and accelerate its growth.

This last three blog posts tell us the imaging industry is bounding back nicely over the first half of the year and especially in the last three months.

Lexmark reports strong quarter

Lexmark had an extremely profitable quarter. "For its second quarter, Lexmark said it earned $85 million, or $1.07 a share, on $1.03 billion in revenue, compared with a profit of $17 million, or 22 cents a share, on sales of almost $905 million in the same period a year ago."

Now, Lexmark only acquired document imaging ISV Perceptive in May, so we're not certain how much this contributed to the strong quarter, ended June 30, but it is a good sign that Lexmark's business plan seems to be working....and Perceptive is certainly part of that business plan.

According to press release: "Lexmark said its results were spurred on by strong sales of printing hardware and supplies, as well as managed-print services for business customers." In the MFP world, document imaging seems to fall fairly close to the MPS initiatives, so, as I said, this is a good sign for Perceptive and our market I think.

Kofax Reports Strong Software Sales

Just back from vacation, and it appears not a minute too soon, as the news reports have been rolling in. Yesterday, you probably saw that Kofax announced a strong second-half and 2010 fiscal year for software sales - saying year-end results will between $213 and $215 million. This represents over 25% growth from fiscal 2009, when Kofax reported $169 million in software sales. That's a gross growth of some $45 million, at least half of which was organic. Kofax did acquire 170 Systems in Sept. 2009, and based on 170s trailing revenue of $28 million, maybe $20 million in growth can be attributed to that acquisition, but even a $25 million increase in software sales is quite impressive.

Kofax's hardware distribution business did decline from fiscal 2009, but only slightly, as it's projected to come in at $125 to $127 million, down from $129 million. Kofax CEO Reynolds Bish has always cited the hardware business as low-margin but profitable, and in the wake of the shortfall he seems to be cutting costs to maintain that profitability, as Kofax announced it will be eliminating 20 hardware redundancies (jobs?) to improve efficiencies.

Kofax clearly faces challenges related to its hardware business, but if it can keep growing the software business at 25% annually, the hardware business will continue to become a smaller and smaller percentage of overall revenue and eventually investors will stop paying attention to it.

Perhaps in answer to some of its hardware challenges, Kofax has announced that it will now be reselling IBML scanners in EMEA. If you remember, Bish had a lot of success reselling IBMLs when he was with Captiva. In fact, I believe at one point Captiva was IBML's leading reseller.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

KnowledgeLake Honored by Microsoft

For the second straight year, St. Louis-based document imaging ISV has been honored by Microsoft in its Information Worker Solutions, Enterprise Content Management Partner of the Year category. For 2010, KnowledgeLake was named a finalist, after winninng the award last year. This year's winner was a company called Content and Code, out of the U.K., which seems to specialize in EDM and intranet solutions. KnoweldgeLake was one of three finalists.

KnoweldgeLake Partner and ECM/imaging roll-up, Global 360 was named the Visio Partner of the Year.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

IKON to Resell Kofax Front Office Server

Digital copier/MFP dealer IKON has added Kofax's Front-Office Server to its product list. IKON, which has sold scanning solutions around its MFPs for several years, also carries capture products from vendors like Nuance eCopy, EFI, and NSi. Front Office server can run as an embedded application on multiple Ricoh devices. Of course, Ricoh now owns IKON..


IKON also sells solutions built around dedicated scanners and lists Kofax Capture in its product portfolio, as well.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Global 360 Marketing Itself

With two BPM acquisitions still fresh in most people's memories Global 360 is pushing its growth in BPM revenue very hard. The Dallas-based ISV, which began life as a roll-up primarily of document imaging vendors, including Eastman Software, Kofile, Keyfile, ViewStar, and Identitech, recently reported a 49% growth in software in BPM software licenses for its first quarter, year-over-year. Recently announced AnyDoc partner Appian  announced 59% growth for its 2009 fiscal year. So the BPM market is hot.

 Also, at the end of 2009-beginning of 2010, two significant BPM acquisitions were announced -  IBM's buy of Lombardi and Progress Software buying Savvion. Speculation has been that Microsoft may acquire Global 360, which would likely be a happy day for Global 360's investors, based on the some of the multiple's floating around the BPM market. Global's recent partnership with KnolwedgeLake does nothing to dampen that speculation.

Bottom line is that BPM is a curious space to be in, with both ECM and capture vendors seeming to gravitate toward it. The longtime theory has always been, it's not capturing content and putting in a repository that is important - it's what you do with that captured and stored content - meaning it's how you automate the process that brings the ROI, and this is where BPM comes into play. FileNet realized this almost from the outset of its business and many other imaging vendors followed suit. I guess it's about time the content management and capture people made the same discovery.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Laserfiche-Microsoft Complete DoD 5015 Testing

Document Imaging/ECM ISV Laserfiche has teamed with Microsoft to put together a records management solution that was recently tested by the Joint Interoperability Test Command (JOTC). The JOTC is in charge of the  DoD 5015.2 standard that is applied to RM solutions. The certification is typically mandated when doing business with the federal government, as well as state and local governments. Private entities have also been known to consider it.

If you remember, earlier this year, it was revealed that SharePoint 2010, which contains vastly improved RM capabilities, did not have all the right functionality required to achieve DoD 5015.2 certification. As a result, Microsoft began looking for partners to go through JOTC testing with. Laserfiche, whose software has been 5015 certified since 2003, was the first Microsoft partner to complete testing, which was done this week. The certification announcement should be upcoming.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

PBMS to Resell Omtool

Thought this was an interesting announcement. Pitney Bowes Management Services (PBMS) is $1.2 billion entity that services large mailrooms.What they are going to do with a distributed capture product like Omtool's software, I'm not sure, but will try and find out.

Pitney Bowes, Inc. (PBI) also recently named a new a president of PBMS. Vicki O'Meara had formerly been an EVP  and the chief legal and compliance officer for PBI. O'Meara does have some operations experience from her 10 years at Ryder System, where she last served as president of the company's $2 billion U.S. Supply Chain Solutions division.

So, if you're following PBI has appointed a lawyer as president of PBMS and signed a deal with Omtool, which specializes in servicing the legal market. Sounds like some sort of strategic direction.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Paradigm Announces ISIS driver for Wide-Format Scanner

EMC's Pixel Translations continues to do a great job populating the market with ISIS drivers. Paradigm Imaging is the latest scanner vendor to announce a device with an ISIS driver. What makes Paradigm's Ci40 unique, at least according to the release, is the fact that is has an ISIS driver. Of course, I recalled that Colortrac made a similar announcement a few months back. So, I'm not sure if there are one or two large format scanners out there with ISIS drivers, but either way, it shows that Pixel has done a good job pushing its scanning technology into new markets and helping push forward the concept of enterprise capture.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

SharePoint 2011 Conference Set

The Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011 dates have been set. The event will held Oct. 3-6 in Anaheim. This is approximately two years after the very successful 2009 event, where SharePoint 2010 was previewed. 2010 is the version designed to be more scalable and manageable for document imaging applications.

Interestingly, in the promotional e-mail for the conference, Microsoft advertises SharePoint 2010 as "the business collaboration platform for the enterprise and Internet. "Learn how to apply the latest best practices for building and deploying solutions on the platform and find out how customers and partners are embracing cloud-based services to create value for their organizations."

So, for now, at least, it doesn't sound like anything new will be introduced. But, knowing Microsoft I would expect that to change.

Ralph 

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

InCab Scanning Suit

Over the past 10 years, the transportation industry has steadily increased its adoption of document scanning, and has been one of the leaders in the adoption of distributed capture. The latest trend seems to be the push for mobile scanning  - whether it be through dedicated sheetfed scanners attached to laptops or through utilizing the the cameras on SmartPhones. If you remember, we recently did a story on ACS Xerox, which is promoting applications in both these areas.

It was recentlly brought to our attention, however, the Wilmington, OH-based shipping specialist R&L Carriers believes it has a patent on capturing bills of lading with mobile scanners while in transit. The patent number is 6,401,078, and it was filed in 2000 and granted in 2002. It's entitled, "Bill of lading transmission and processing system for less than a load carriers"

Claims include:

"A method for transferring shipping documentation data for a package from a transporting vehicle to a remote processing center: placing a package on the transporting vehicle; using a portable document scanner to scan an image of the documentation data for the package, said image including shipping details of the package; providing a portable image processor capable of wirelessly transferring the image from the transporting vehicle; wirelessly sending the image to a remote processing center; receiving the image at said remote processing center; and prior to the package being removed from the transporting vehicle, utilizing said documentation data at said remote processing center to prepare a loading manifest which includes said package for further transport of the package on another transporting vehicle."

and "The method of claim 1, wherein the image sending step is accomplished from onboard the transporting vehicle."

Apparently, R&L has filed suit against multiple parties, including ACS, DriverTech, Pegasus Transtech, Qualcomm, Intermec, and PeopleNet. Sounds like a interesting case.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Atalasoft Hires Ex-Captaris EVP Yantus

Massachusetts-based ISV Atalasoft has hired Paul Yantus as its president. Yantus, a former EVP at Captaris, is being brought in to help the company manage its growth and its push deeper into the SharePoint space. Atalasoft founder Bill Bither will remain as CEO.

Atalasoft was founded as a developer of .NET-based imaging tools and made a name for itself with its zero-footprint viewing capabilities. A couple years ago, it launched a zero-footprint viewer targeted at SharePoint applications. Yantus has been charged with growing this business.

When he was at Captaris, Yantus spearheaded the company's acquisition of the Oce Document Technologies, an OCR/ICR and document capture specialist. After the acquisition Captaris announced ambitious plans to leverage this technology to attack the SharePoint market, previewing several products at AIIM 2008. However, at the end of the year, Captaris was acquired by Open Text, which put the SharePoint efforts way on the backburner. Open Text has focused on leveraging the ODT technology in invoice capture apps for SAP and other ERP systems.

It looks like Yantus is being given a second chance to attack the SharePoint space with imaging technology. In a conversation with him earlier today he talked about bringing ECM capabilities to the SharePoint space. More on this strategy in our next premium issue.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Brief Look at the SAP-EMC Agreement

This announcement coming out of SAPPHIRE last week, the big SAP show, is interesting not only because of who is involved, but who is not. I guess I had been assuming that Open Text was SAP's preferred ECM and transactional content processing (TCP) partner, but this new agreement proves that is not necessarily the case.

The resseller agreement between SAP and EMC is right in the heart of the TCP space as it focuses on processes like insurance broker statement and mortgage loan processing. This is classic document imaging and workflow stuff. With its Captiva, Documentum, and even throw in Document Sciences, acquisitions, EMC certainly has the technology stack to handle this. Open Text, which picked some great capture technology with Captaris, and has some other imaging-centric stuff, must not have stacked up as well. Or, maybe, SAP just wanted to hedge its bets in the ECM space, or a combination of both.

That's not to say SAP and EMC doesn't make a good partnership. They are certainly large and well-respected names in the banking and insurance industries, which is being targeted through this new level of partnership.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Our initial take on Lexmark's acquisition of Perceptive

By now, you've likely heard the news on printer vendor Lexmark  by Perceptive Software for $280 million in cash. At first glance, this seemed like a pretty high price, but, as Perceptive's revenue was $84 million last year, on growth of 20%, it really represents a gross price of three and one-third times revenue, which is similar to what Hyland Software, probably Perceptive's closest competitor, was priced at when a majority stake was sold to the equity investment firm Thoma Cressey Bravo in 2007. FileNet received a similar multiple from IBM in 2006.

The acquisition is another case of a hardware vendor using its cash reserves to diversify into the higher margin software business. Dicom buying Kofax is probably the most famous example of this in our industry, but Cornerstone buying Pixel Translations, which became InputAccel, is another successful example. Even EMC buying Documentum kind of represents this. Of course, there have been failures, like Scan-Optics buying Southern Computer.

More analysis on this acquisition in our premium newsletter, but we will make one comment: Lexmark is headquarterd in Lexington and Perceptive near Kansas City, so there shouldn't be a huge culture shock, which is good.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Quality Associates, Inc. Event

Hanging out QAI's annual event in Annapolis, MD. Beautiful day out here and looking forward to some afternoon sailing. But first have to get through a panel discussion. We've got reps from Iron Mountain, Microsoft, Fujitsu, as well as the City of Washington, D.C. (industry veteran Mark Mandel) on the panel (with me moderating), so it could be fun.

QAI is a large reseller and service bureau in the Beltway area. They have a small vendor exhibit area with companies like Kofax, Psigen, A2ia, AvePoint, Atalasoft, and NSi - as well as several hardware vendors, all exhibiting. QAI also has an imaging-for-SharePoint focused subsidiary, DocPoint Solutions, headed by former Fujitsu sales exec Bob Dickerson.

Two interesting notes from Peggy Winton's (of AIIM) keynote on Web 2.0:
1. From an AIIM survey: 40% of those surveyed still use paper for collaboration - my view on this is that there is plenty of opportunity for scanning these docs into SharePoint - which everyone says is a great collaborative app
2. Winton quote: "E-mail is not a collaborative environment anymore. It's too slow."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Kofax Names New CMO

 I guess we all should have seen this one coming. Not that Andrew Pery didn't do a good job, but his hiring pre-dated Reynolds Bish being brought in as CEO. Over the past couple years, Bish has been pretty thorough about bringing in his own people, especially to fill high level positions like this one. New CMO Martyn Christian never worked with Bish at Captiva, but they did spend time together on the AIIM board, back when Reynolds orchestrated the sale of the trade show to Advanstar - a great move for the trade organization and one which was followed shortly thereafter by Bish's tremendous run of success at Captiva. Plus, Christian has history with IBM and FileNet - of course, IBM bought FileNet - two very important Kofax partners.

It seems like the changing of the guard at Kofax is practically complete.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Upcoming E-Discovery Webinar

I have been asked to be part of an upcoming Webinar entitled:

E-Discovery, Retention & Records Management
  • There will be three presenters:
  • Scott Rosenberg, CEO, Miro Consulting
  • Brad Harris, Director of Legal Products, Zapproved
  • Myself
My role will be to discuss the synergies between ECM and E-Discovery: an crossover that I think is thoroughly underexploited by our industry. Tune in for more:


WHEN: Tuesday, May 18, 2010
 1:00 PM - 1:45 PM EDT (10:00 AM – 10:45 AM PDT)
WHERE: Click here to register or 

Twitter:
Follow the webinar on Twitter: MiroConsulting (#Miro).
 





I.R.I.S. Mobile Scanner

If you read my premium edition of DIR last week, you probably saw my article asking why we don't have a  mobile scanner driven by mobile phones? Well, I got an e-mail from I.R.I.S. the other day talking about its IRIScan Anywhere device for capturing documents in the field. It's a mobile scanner that doesn't need to be driven by anything. You can save images to the device and upload them to a laptop/PC or save them to a USB. Here's a video. (Not sure where they got the pitchman.)

Someone suggested that this may be the answer to what I'm looking for, but I say no, for two reasons.
1. There is no way to preview the image-like you could with a SmartPhone- so you really don't know if you got a good image. And if you're scanning remotely, this could be a big deal. (Especially with the contract you just signed over dinner - per the example in the video.)
2. There is no possibility for immediate connection with third party applications, as the device is not online when scanning, or connected to a network like a Smart Phone would be. Sure, you could upload to your laptop/PC and go online afterward, but in a real-time business environment, I like the idea of a real time connection. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

TAWPI and IAPP Merge Staffs and Boards

Out the initial Fusion event here in Grapevine, Texas, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Seems to be going well so far. Somebody told me there were 1,600 people here, which is marked rise from the combined attendance of the two events last year. In other words, it seems like in this case, one plus one equals three.

I attended a few conference sessions today and the rooms were over half filled, with one almost full. This is a sharp contrast to last year's stand-alone TAWPI event, which had great presentations, but, from what I saw, not many more than 10 attendees in any sessions. And there have been some big name end users in the sessions like Travelocity, Tyco Electronics, Erie Insurance, and the Dallas School District.

While the majority of attendees are clearly from accounting departments, the sessions I attended were mostly about imaging, so there has been a nice crossover. It's good to see TAWPI find this direction and IAPP's users seems eager to embrace the TAWPI technologies both in A/P and A/R - as these two spaces come together.

The timing really seems right for vendors like J&B Software, for example, which is announcing a combined A/P and A/R platform at the show.

The combination of the events is working so well, in fact, that IAPP and TAWPI have decided to combine boards and staffs. Next year's event has been scheduled for Orlando, during the same time of year.