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.