Friday, May 20, 2011

Kofax Acqires Atalasoft

In an effort to further expand its enterprise capture capabilities, Kofax has acquired Easthampton, MA-based SDK ISV Atalasoft. Atalasoft is a .NET imaging SDK specialist that has some innovative zero-footprint, browser-based technology.

The press release provides some insights into how Atalasoft's technology will be utilized in Kofax's KTM capture software: "Using a mortgage application process as an example, most lenders allow prospective borrowers to apply for mortgages via traditional, paper based processes or online via portal and internet browser based applications. Applicants using the latter approach still have to provide paper copies of documents evidencing their proof of identity, income and other supporting information to the lender for processing. Capture enabling these web applications will allow applicants to easily scan those paper documents and submit all information electronically."

Atalasoft was founded in 2002 and for 2010 reported revenues of $3.6 million, an EBITA of $1.0 million. It lists some 2,500 users of its SDK. Its business compares favorably to the Pixel Translations scanning and capture tools business that Kofax CEO Reynolds Bish ran while at Captiva.

Bill Bither, Atalasoft's founder and CEO, said he will continue as GM of the operation. He will also be receiving a good portion of the close to $10 million Kofax is paying for Atalasoft.

In the wake of its sale of its hardware distribution business, Kofax has been on the hunt for acquisitions. This is just a small (but very strategic) one, so we expect more to follow.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

EMC Partners with Box

Probably should have seen this coming, ever since former EMC Chief Marketing Officer Whitney Tidmarsh was named the general manager at Box.Net. Last week, at EMC World, EMC and Box.Net announced a partnership. According to the press release, "EMC is working with Box to deliver integrated content management in the cloud."

I think this paragraph from the press release best describes what the partnership could accomplish: "The Post PC era gives birth to the 'new user,' who interacts with information from a variety of sources, across a multitude of devices, and considers Microsoft applications as part of the experience, not the driver. Integrating Box's cloud layer and user-friendly interface with EMC Documentum delivers the new mobile and external collaboration capabilities required for businesses to make better, faster decisions. These cloud-enabled joint solutions strike the right balance in giving users easy-to-use tools for accessing information regardless of device, with the control IT expects for capturing, managing, processing and preserving content."

Basically, at the AIIM show this year, where Box made a big splash, it received high marks for its user interface, but the ECM-savvy AIIM crowd was not at all impressed with Box's traditional content management capabilities. Hence, the marriage with Documentum. Good stuff I think.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Autonomy Acquires Iron Mountain Digital Assets

I'm not sure why this is a good move for Iron Mountain aside from the fact that it generates some cash. According to a press release, Autonomy has agreed to pay $380 million in cash for a business with a run rate of $130-$140 million that includes "selected key assets of Iron Mountain's digital division including archiving, eDiscovery and online backup." I'm assuming this includes Iron Mountain's growing document scanning business, which was certainly integrated with the e-discovery business.

I like the deal for Autonomy and have echoed the setiments of CEO Dr. Mike Lynch in the past: ""In 2007 we correctly predicted the merging of regulatory archiving and search, and we believe we are now seeing the next phase where the convergence of regulatory archiving, back-up and data restoration with operational processing of data in the cloud is coming to pass." - A lot of my view was formed by conversations with Dr. Johannes Scholtes, the CEO of Zylab, another vendor with a focus on search, so I guess it would make sense that I agree with Autonomy's strategy.

Apparently, Iron Mountain felt it couldn't compete in the emerging cloud-based storage market.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Quest Buys RemoteScan

In addition to the more publicized Nuance acquisition of Equitrac, there was another smaller, but still somewhat intriguing acquisition recently in the document imaging industry. Quest Software, which appears to be an approximately $800 software and services roll-up, recently bought RemoteScan.

I did a story on RemoteScan a few years back, and at the time, they had a pretty unique product for enabling scanning in Citrix environments, where it is hard to work with conventional scanning deployments and drivers. [Go to page six on the link.]

From the note I received from the RemoteScan/Quest management team: "Quest is thrilled to add RemoteScan’s innovative products to its growing desktop virtualization business. Quest vWorkspace is already one of the industry’s leading virtual desktop management solutions, and RemoteScan’s products make for a natural addition. As you know, seamlessly connecting and managing peripheral devices for local and remotely connected users is a critical element in virtual desktop environments."

Nuance Buys Equitrac

As you probably saw, yesterday, Boston-area recognition specialist Nuance agreed to acquire print management ISV Equitrac. Kind of a cool deal on several fronts. First off, eCopy, which was acquired by Nuance in 2009 has a long-time partnership with Equitrac. The Equitrac Connector for tracking scanning for billing purposes in law firms, has traditionally been the most used of eCopy's third-party integrations. So, there is a natural connection there.

Robert Weideman, the GM of Nuance Document Imaging, who did most of the talking during the analyst conference discussing the deal, talked about the strength of both companies' desktop technologies. Of course, Nuance has its PaperPort, PDF, and OCR desktop apps that are either market leader or in the case of PDF, second. I'm not as familiar with Equitrac, but assume they have some sort of desktop print management application. And that's where it really starts to get interesting.

I came across an IDC report on Equitrac from 2006 and it said something about Equitrac expanding outside of  the cost-billback market and into the area of helping customers realize savings through print management. If that is indeed the case, the puts Equitrac's technology squarely in emerging managed print services (MPS) space, an area Nuance really wants to play in as well.  

I'll admit, it's kind of hard for me to think of the current offerings of Equitrac and Nuance as being a complete MPS offering, but I also had an interesting conversation earlier this week with  Doug Johnson of cloud-based MPS pioneer  Supplies Network. Basically, he brought up that only a relatively small percentage of organizations who say they are offering MPS are really delivering an advanced MPS solution. Most people are just offering pieces of MPS and calling it MPS. From that perspective, Nuance now certainly has two pretty important pieces. 

Michael Rich, president and CEO of Equitrac, who was also on the conference call, said something along the lines of  "Both Equitrac and Nuance have a  very substantial,  large install base of global clients. Those companies are looking for solutions in area of MPS. We have many opportunities to build on that strong base, and we already have a very broad value proposition that covers a lot of what customers want to do."

I think that makes sense and immediately entrenches Nuance as player in the MPS market.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

DocuWare Reports Strong 2010

The DocuWare Group, a German-based ISV with a strong North American presence, recently announced a 19% growth in revenue for 2010. The brought the company, which specializes in document image management applications to 14.3 million Euros on annual revenue, the equivalent of more than $21 million. Almost all its sales come through a reseller channel, which had an estimated income of 66 million Euro, or $98 million related to DocuWare sales.

DocuWare Corp., the company's U.S.-based subsidiary reported 19.5% growth, after leading the company with 14% growth in 2009. In 2010, smaller subsidiaries in Latin America and the U.K. reported higher growth rates than the U.S., with growth also coming in EMEA and German-speaking markets.

In the U.S. market, DocuWare was a pioneer in selling document imaging solutions through the digital copier channel and continues to have success in that segment. The company also continues to invest in its technology, especially in its Web client. Work on a SaaS version is also well underway.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Canon Announces New Solutions-Focused Subsidiary

In a move that may have been somewhat previewed (check out the last two paragraphs) during our recent meeting with Canon at the AIIM On Demand show in March, Canon USA has lauched a new, wholly owned subsidiary dedicated to expanding Canon’s overall solutions business." Known as "Canon Information and Imaging Solutions, Canon USA "is targeting the company to exceed $500 million in sales by 2014."
Imaging and records management, business process optimization, security, ERP, cloud computing, IT services, and healthcare are all mentioned in the release. It doesn't say if M&A will be involved. Canon technology and that from leading "third party partners" will be utilized. We hope to have more on this in an upcoming premium issue.

Monday, May 02, 2011

DocSolid Signs Distribution Agreement with Supplies Network

DocSolid, an ISV promoting a universal document capture platform for managed print services implementations, recently announced a partnership with Supplies Network, which will be offering DocSolid's
Airmail2 platform to its MPS partners. Supplies Network bills itself as "the largest privately-owned wholesaler of IT consumables in the U.S. and an early innovator in MPS."

DocSolid was founded by document imaging industry veteran Steve Irons, a former reseller who also launched another ISV ImageTag. AirMail2 employs some of the same bar-code recognition concepts as ImageTag, but the eventual destination for scanned documents is a cloud-based computing environment, which currently manages e-mailing but will be made available for integration with other cloud-based applications.

Looking to take advantage of the MPS wave, Irons told us that instead of building a distribution channel for his software this time around, he was going to try to leverage one that already exists. He views capture as a natural extension of MPS with a cost of fractions of a cent per print - which is what the MPS charges are based on. More on this in an upcoming premium issue.