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 

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.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Iron Mountain Asks CMS to Consider Scanning

Paper storage giant Iron Mountain has come up with an interesting pitch to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Basically, they seem to be asking the CMS to more heavily consider the benefits of scanning when defining "meaningful use," which is the criteria for receiving reimbursements for electronic medical records (EMR) implementations.

This is interesting because at the Laserfiche user conference I attended earlier this year, an SI who services the medical market indicated that document imaging was not really an important criteria for meaningful use and thus had gone with another ISV, instead of Laserfiche, for its EMR requirements. Iron Mountain is, of course, motivated by the fact that it "manages hardcopy and digital healthcare information for more than 2,000 hospitals across 43 states" and has a growing document scanning business. Nonetheless, this type of lobbying could be a good thing for our entire industry, which is one reason its nice to now have $3 billion companies like Iron Mountain participating in our space.

Kofax Names New CFO

Kofax has named a new CFO. I'll offer a few thoughts on this:
1. Kofax originally appointed a North American-based CFO in 2008, before announcing the following month that Stefan Gaiser, who resides in Germany, would retain the position after all. CEO Reynolds Bish, has, of course, moved the headquarters of the company from Europe to Irvine, CA, so a Southern, CA-based CFO makes sense. While the new CFO, Jamie Arnold, doesn't appear to have been based in SoCo with his former two employers, Nuance (which is in MA) and Informix (which was in Silicon Valley), he's a lot closer to getting to Irvine that Gaiser was. Gaiser, who has been with Kofax since 2000, will stay on until the end of the year.
2. Arnold's last job listed in the press release was with Nuance, where he was CFO through a number of acquisitions. Could his hiring mean that Kofax, which constantly rumored to be an acquisition target, is actually planning to become a more aggressive acquirer?
3. Of course, turning that on its ear, Arnold also worked for  Informix from 1997-2003, a business that was eventually acquired by IBM. And, IBM has been a long-rumored suitor of Kofax.

Read into all that what you will. The only certainty seems to be that Kofax now has a North American-based CFO. Oh yes, and yesterday, it announced the largest software licensing deal in the history of the company: $4.4 million deal, $3.8 million in software.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Visioneer releases new Strobe

One of the most popular pieces of hardware at the recent AIIM show was the mobile document scanner.   These types of devices were showcased by multiple vendors including HP, Cannon, and Plustek. Visioneer, of course, pioneered the market for sheetfed mobile devices with its Strobe line, which has been on the market since at least the mid-to-late 1990s when I came into the market. (I will have a longer feature on the mobile document scanning market in my next issue of DIR).

This post is just to note that Visioneer has released the latest version of its Strobe, the 400. It lists for $299 and can perform duplex scans at a rated speed of 6 seconds per page. It offers color output, as well as VRS for producing higher quality bi-tonal images.

Oh yeah, and here's a neat side benefit: “While we may never become truly paperless, we believe you can have a ‘less paper’ office,” said John Capurso, vice president of marketing at Visioneer. “The Strobe 400 is a great, low cost solution for anyone looking to reduce the amount of paper in their life and Visioneer will plant a tree on behalf of every customer who registers a new scanner through our partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation.”