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.