Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Brainware Lands Big A/P Deal

Intelligent data recognition (IDR) software specialist Brainware has landed another large deal in the accounts payable space. According to a press release that came out today, the Ashburn, VA-based ISV has implemented a system for a Fortune 50 company that is also one of Fortune's "15 Most Admired Companies." You can imagine some of the names on that list. Oh yeah, and the customer has apparently integrated Brainware's software "as part of the largest single instance of SAP in the world."

Pretty heady stuff. According to the press release, "This project was fully operational in less than 100 days of contracting with Brainware for invoice processing automation, and resulted in an immediate redeployment of 80% of the full-time manual data entry personnel previously being used to process this company’s 6 million invoices per year."

Brainware also recently issued a press release in which it stated, "Brainware is pleased that in the last year it has closed 15 transactions that exceed $750,000, of which 10 exceed $1 million."

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ephesoft Announces Large Deal

A couple months ago when we profiled the Ephesoft in our premium newsletter, CEO Don Field had told us that the open source intelligent data capture (IDC) start-up had recently bid-on and won a large deal in which it competed against several leading established capture companies. Not sure if this is the result of that, but, it nonetheless sounds like an impressive deal, involving 450 million pages of mortgage files for a BPO.

Apparently, this BPO is putting a big ephasis on Linux and open source which gave Ephesoft the advantage. From the press release, "The current Ephesoft system uses Linux-based web servers and Windows-based Application Servers," said Ike Kavas, founder and CTO of Ephesoft. "However, they are planning to have a 100% Linux platform to support their business. Since Ephesoft is the only platform today that can deploy an IDC system running on Linux and work with other open source systems such as Ubuntu and RedHat, partnering with Ephesoft was the logical choice. "

Also from the press release, "The solution will process over 450 million pages of mortgage files by automatically classifying and separating a wide variety of document types and then extracting key metadata for further processing. Searchable PDFs will be created in a tabbed format and deposited into their IBM Content Manager ECM."

Friday, November 11, 2011

Canon Singapore Integrates Nuance's Scan-to-Cloud

Nuance has announced that Canon Singapore will be making Nuance's eCopy Scan-To-Cloud technology available as a standard feature on its ImageRunner Advance MFPs. The technology takes advantage of Nuance's OmniPage cloud service to apply OCR to document captured with the MFPs. The documents can currently be captured to three destinations: Evernonte, GoogleDocs, and/or The application interface is embedded in the touchscreen of the MFP.

According to a Nuance spokesperson, "Canon Singapore is the first MFP distribution entity to offer access to the eCopy Scan-to-Cloud service, and the only one at the moment. Nuance is making this service available to other distribution partners, and they expect that additional partners will begin to offer eCopy Scan-to-Cloud over the coming year."

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Crowley Acquires Wicks and Wilson

Imaging specialist Crowley Company has helped consolidate the microfilm scanning market with the acquisition of Wicks and Wilson. Crowley, which is based in Frederick, MD, got into the microfilm scanner manufacturing business with its 2003 acquisition of industry pioneer Meckel. As a result ,Crowley and U.K.-based Wicks and Wilson have been competitors for several years in the market for devices for digitizing microfilm, nmicrofiche, and aperture cards.

"This purchase will allow us to broaden our microform offering, strengthen our international presence and ensure that we continue to be at the forefront of microform capture technology," state Chris Crowley, president of Crowley Company, in a press release.

Crowley plans to maintain and the Wicks and Wilson brand. In addition to selling hardware, Crowley operates a service bureau that specializes in document archiving projects. "Having offices on two continents will allow us to take the next step in our expansion of services and technical support by allowing us to create production efficiencies and to solidify an international network of partners," added Chris Crowley.

Top Image Turns in Solid Numbers

Well, in the wake of Kofax's recent quarterly earnings report, we've been eagerly awaiting Top Image Systems (TIS) third-quarter results, which were released today. That's because TIS sells primarily in Eurpoe, which is where Kofax cited weakness that caused its quarterly numbers to fall short. Granted, TIS is probably one-ninth the size of Kofax, but still, its strong third-quarter number indicate TIS is not seeing any weakness in EMEA.

For the quarter, TIS reported a 32% increase in revenue compared to the previous year's Q3 and a 64% increase in operating income. This is pretty much in-line with the increases TIS reported in the first two quarters of the year. TIS CEO Ido Schechter gave no indication that the EMEA market was weakening and increased 2011 revenue guidance from $26 million - $27 million to $27.5 - $28.5 million. “This quarter we saw continued progress in our new growth geographies such as the UK and Asia Pacific, in addition to our traditional stronghold in Europe," said Schechter in a press release announcing the results.

So, there is certainly debate as to whether there is any significant weakness in Europe, especially to the level where it would force Kofax to lay off 60 people. There are certainly a number of people who view the weakness as a Kofax problem moreso than a market problem.

Michael Ziegler, a former managing director of Kofax EMEA who is currently working as a consultant and has co-founded the Docville group, acknowledged that whereas there may be some weakness in southern Europe due to macroeconomic conditions, the rest of the European market, including Turkey, seems very strong to him for document capture technologies. Ziegler blames Kofax's mismanagement of its formidable European channel for the company's current weakness in EMEA and said that ISVs like TIS and others have had success recently in recruiting Kofax resellers.

We'll have more on this discussion in our upcoming premium issue.

Adobe crashes Flash for Mobile

According to this article from Wired magazine, Adobe will stop development its Flash Player plug-in for mobile browsers, fulfilling a prediction made by the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs.  Apparently Adobe sent a letter to its partners yesterday telling them it will cease development of its Flash platform for mobile browsers. According to the Wired article, the e-mail says, "Our future work with Flash on mobile devices will be focused on enabling Flash developers to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores."

According to the article, "The move indicates a massive backpedaling on Adobe’s part, a company who championed its Flash platform in the face of years of naysaying about its use on mobile devices. Despite Flash’s near ubiquity across desktop PCs, many in the greater computing industry, including, famously, Apple Computer, have denounced the platform as fundamentally unstable on mobile browsers, and an intense battery drain. In effect, Flash’s drawbacks outweigh the benefits on mobile devices."

Apple, of course, has refused to support Flash in its iOS for mobile devices, which created a chink in the armor of the previously ubiquitous multi-media technology. Personally, I have not had much luck utilizing Flash plug-ins on my Android device either.

So, why is this relevant to our market? It's probably worth noting again that Adeptol, the ISV recently acquired by AccuSoft Pegasus, originally developed its viewer on a Flash platform. Adeptol has recently expanded to embrace the HTML 5 platform, which also seems to be part of Adobe's strategy.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Weak EMEA Market Hurts Kofax

Kofax announced its fiscal 2012 Q1 results early this morning, and they were not particularly strong, with weakness in EMEA being blamed as the main culprit. For the three months ended Sept. 30, Kofax total revenues were $58.5 million, which represented 7% growth over 2011 Q1 revenue of $54.4 million. However, in terms of "organic constant currency" - which we assume means accounting for currency fluctuations and acquisitions, Kofax reported only 1% growth.

The growth was driven primarily by increased revenue from maintenance contracts, which was up 18%, while software license sales were down 4% - including a 7% drop in applications software licenses, which was offset slightly by a 7% increase in revenue from OEM/POS software license sales (which includes VRS and Kofax Express.)

"The first quarter of fiscal year 2012 yielded mixed results," said Kofax CEO Reynolds Bish in a press release. "Software license revenues in the Americas and Asia Pacific regions as well as our OEM / POS business, and maintenance and professional services revenues grew in line with our September 2011 expectations. The EMEA region conversely experienced a decline in software license revenues."

The current financial turmoil in Europe is no secret, and Kofax is taking steps to account for continued potential weakness in this geography.  “We are concerned about the continuing uncertainty and deteriorating economic environment throughout much of EMEA and the potential effect this may have on other markets, and we expect these challenges to continue or worsen until more confidence and stability return on a global basis," Bish said. "While our pipeline of opportunities continues to grow and management and the Board remain confident in our business, we are nonetheless lowering our expectations for fiscal year 2012 to low single-digit total revenue growth in U.S. dollars on a constant currency basis. However, in order to maintain the absolute EBITA reported in fiscal year 2011 during fiscal year 2012, we are restructuring our EMEA sales organization and also reducing operating expenses in other functions to a lower level while preserving our new product development initiatives and a strong balance sheet.”

Sounds like a plan.

Kofax competitor ReadSoft recently reported its third-quarter results  (same time period) as well. For the quarter, ReadSoft reported a 24% growth in software license sales in terms of local currencies and 15% growth in overall revenue. This was led by exceptionally strong numbers in its "U.S. and rest of the world" revenue (includes Australia, Brazil, and Malaysia), which showed 31% growth. Nordic markets and Benelux were also reported as strong for ReadSoft, which indicates, ReadSoft must have seen some weakness in the Germanic and other EMEA markets as well.

While Readsoft reported Nordic region growth of 10-15%, its sales "other European markets" was essentially flat.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Databank Acquires ECM Software VAR

Databank IMX, which is best know throughout our industry as a conversion services specialist, recently expanded on its solutions strategy with the acquisition of Information Access Systems, (that's a link to the investor's press release, here's the Databank release) a Florida based reseller of Hyland OnBase Solutions. The acquisition complements Databank's current software practice, which also includes Hyland software.

The acquisition was Databank's first since securing investment from Svoboda Capital Partners, which has brought on Fred Zaeske as the new CEO. I recently caught up with Fred and will have a more complete story on the acquisition and Databank's strategy in an upcoming premium issue of the Document Imaging Report. Databank's top brass, as well as the management from Information Access Systems all seem to be onboard as the company moves forward.