Thursday, November 29, 2012

BancTec Article on Co-Sourcing

Document and payment processing specialist BancTec has invested a lot of resources in the past few years increasing its footprint in the business process outsourcing (BPO) market. But according to Michael J. Alfonsi, BancTec's managing director of financial transaction processing services & finance transformation solutions, the BPO market has not grown as fast as many people had expected. From a recent article entitled, "Rethinking Document Outsourcing and Co-sourcing:" "One would think the economic downturn would have accelerated the growth in BPO, but it did not. The prevailing view on the reason why is that for many BPO adopters, the so-called low-hanging fruit has already been picked, and the next level of outsourcing, which involves full functions, got stalled as capital was being conserved during the downturn."

As a solution to this, Alfonsi is suggesting BPO providers expand their business into the area of co-sourcing.  "BPO is no longer an either/or proposition, and companies now can have both/and," he says. "Both/and is a graduated solution in which basic tasks go to the outsourcer, but both the outsourcer and the client discover the right point at which the analytics or the expertise – the very productivity – is optimized for the partners."

For more details on how to create a successful co-sourcing strategy, check out Alfonsi's full article

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Crowdsourcing Capture Acquisition

At Harvey Spencer Associates annual Capture Conference this past September one of our fearless predictions was that the crowdsourcing market would converge with the recognition applications. While we're not quite there yet, but we are definitely getting closer. Waltham, MA-based Lionbridge, one of the market leaders in crowdsourcing solutions, yesterday announced it had acquired Virtual Solutions. While not an automated recognition ISV,  Virutal Solutions, which is based in Camp Hill, PA, near Harrisburg, is clearly in our market. Historically, it has offered a document imaging-based service for capturing data from primarily state tax forms.

Virtual Solutions has some pretty cool technology for distributing only snippets of documents to ensure security and also has a team of home-based keyers in the U.S. to satisfy the requirements of state tax agencies. Coincidentally, we published a story this past August, in which we discussed Virtual Solutions as a crowdsourcer, even though they didn't advertise themselves as such at the time. 

Lionbridge is a $450 million organization that does the bulk of its business in translation services. It has recently expanded into more general crowdsourcing services and offers its technology as an alternative or compliment to BPO or traditional outsourcing services. It plans to leverage Virtual Solutions' task management platform to help it grow its crowdsourcing business. It also looking at expanding into document imaging-related market like claims and mortgage processing.

According to the press release, "Lionbridge expects to acquire Virtual Solutions, Inc. for a total estimated purchase consideration consisting of $3.6 million to be paid upon closing using Lionbridge’s existing cash resources, $1.0 million of deferred cash consideration, and a $3.0 million earn-out potential payable in cash over the course of three years, subject to the attainment of certain annual revenue metrics."

More on this, including interviews with principals from both sides in an upcoming issue of our newsletter.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Bish Puts Positive Spin on Kofax Results

Kofax's Q1 fiscal 2013 results were announced today. Certainly not great numbers by any means. Total revenue of $60.1 million, which represented slight (2.8%) net growth, but a .8% decline when measured in organic constant currency. Software license sales and professional services numbers were down with only increasing maintenance revenue preventing a more serious dip in revenue. And, historically, relying on increasing maintenance to drive revenue growth has not been a good sign for an ISV.

Here's an article from a U.K.-based tech Web site that does a nice job summing up Kofax's performance. Although the company is now headquartered in Irvine, CA, it still trades publicly on the London Stock Exchange.

It is worth noting that Kofax's adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was pretty much the same as last year and the company still generated $11 million in cash, ending the quarter with $90 million in the bank.

Here was CEO Reynolds Bish's spin on the numbers, "Our first quarter produced seasonally weak software license and professional service revenues and continuing growth in maintenance service revenues due to increasing renewal rates with total revenues being consistent with historical trends. This was accomplished during a quarter in which we changed our head of global sales and services in order to strengthen leadership in those areas and began implementing initiatives to gradually improve sales execution and productivity. We’re therefore pleased to report essentially the same EBITDA as that realized in the prior year period and strong cash generated from operations."

Bish also reaffirmed his guidance for the whole fiscal 2013, "which is for mid to high single digit total revenue growth on a constant currency basis and an adjusted EBITDA margin of at least that reported in fiscal year 2012."

It's my opinion that capture market conditions are changing and although Kofax is pushing forward with more cutting edge products like Mobile Capture and Web Capture, which are both highlighted in the press release on the financials, Koafx still has a large legacy traditional client/server-based business to support. Not that the market for client/server capture is dead by any means. But, trying to support this quarterly $50-million-plus  legacy business, while ramping up in new areas that might be influenced by subscription-based pricing - well, it's a bit of a conundrum. We kind of agree with Bish that the profitability number is impressive, especially (and he doesn't mention this, at least in the press release [haven't listened to the conference call  yet])  when you consider the investments Kofax is making in its new products lines and potentially new business models.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Percetive Growth Still Not Fast Enough for Lexmark

This week's issue of the DIR newsletter features a cover story on the re-branding that is underway at Perceptive Software. Perceptive was an ECM vendor that was acquired by Lexmark in 2010 and is now operates as the Enterprise Software Group within Lexmark. Its ECM suite has been fleshed out by a series of software acquisitions that Lexmark completed in 2011-2012. These include capture, search, and BPM technology, as well as vertical market specialist ISV. The details of how these products are being integrated, as well as still taken to market separately, are in the DIR article.

This week Lexmark reported its third-quarter results, and Perceptive's quarterly revenue came in at $41 million, which represented 88% growth from the previous year's third quarter. A good bit of that was due to the aforementioned acquisitions, but organic growth was still 22%. This is no doubt above market growth rates, but, it is apparently significantly below what Lexmark had budgeted.

According to Rooke (as quoted in a transcript of Lexmark's recent conference call to discuss quarterly results, "While Perceptive Software's revenue was up strongly year-to-year, it was less than we expected, driving a larger-than-expected operating income loss as we continue to invest for growth. Now for the next several quarters, we plan to limit Perceptive Software's expense levels to allow expected revenue growth to catch up and deliver positive operating margins in 2013."

Unfortunately, despite Perceptive's growth, Lexmark reported that its segment operating income was negative $8 million. This begs the question: What kind of growth is Lexmark expecting?

Lexmark certainly paid a good premium for Perceptive and some of the complementary ECM technology it bought, so it obviously was expecting some significant returns. But, to tell the truth, a lot of people I talked with thought an MFP hardware vendor like Lexmark could not successfully run an ECM software operation like Perceptive. But, to date, it seems that Lexmark has done everything it can to nurture Perceptive's business, buy acquiring complementary technology, while also allowing it to operate fairly autonomously. And this has worked to the tune of 22% organic growth - which certainly seems like a far cry from failure. Let's hope that unrealistic expectations don't spoil this success and that limiting expenses doesn't end up limiting Perceptive's success.

 
Rooke added that Perceptive's growth reflects, "slower growth in EMEA than expected and the delay in the closure of a number of large transactions in North America. With regards to EMEA, we continued to make progress, although slower than expected, and are making changes in sales leadership that we believe will accelerate growth. In North America, although we are disappointed that several large transactions did not close in the quarter, the majority of them, we believe, were deferred and not lost, and we expect them to close over the next several quarters."


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

PPO Using Perceptive Cloud Apps

PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) Preferred Health Professionals (PHP), based in the Kansas City-Topeka (Kansas-Missouri border area) has selected Perceptive's hosted ECM platform. This includes utilizing Perceptive Intelligent Capture (powered by Brainware) for the classification and processing of medical claims.

This is cool for two reasons:
1. We haven't seen a lot of adoption of hosted data capture systems. Brainware announced a version of its software hosted on Azure more than a year ago, but we haven't heard of many (if any) wins to date.
2. The Brainware software (which was recently re-branded as Perceptive Capture) has primarily been used for invoice capture historically. Part of the charter following Brainware's acquisition by Lexmark earlier this year, and it's integration into the Perceptive Software business, was to expand the uses of its automated data capture technology. Getting into medical claims forms is an example of this expansion.

For those not familiar with the U.S. healthcare model, a PPO is basically an insurance plan that has agreements with a network of physicians. PHP is based near Perceptive's headquarters, so it's somewhat of a local deal, but still, it's a good place for Perceptive to start with its hosted capture and ECM solution.

Crowley Contracts Imaging 411 for Service

Crowley Company has signed on Imaging 411 to provide service to its image capture hardware customers. Crowley, which is based in Frederick, MD, sells a variety of microfilm- and document-capture scanners. Vendors that Crowley represents include Mekel Technology, Wicks and Wilson, InoTec, Zeutschel, Qidenus, Extek Microsystems and HF Processors. 

Historically, Crowley has serviced its own products, but has expanded to the point where it was beneficial to bring in a third-party provider. "With the addition of the Wicks and Wilson UScan and the Zeutschel zeta to our scanner line this year, our equipment sales have considerably increased, affecting our ability to service maintenance and technical support customers to the degree they deserve," said Chris Crowley, co-owner and president of Crowley.  "From the customer standpoint. The Crowley Company remains the point of contact and the contracting agent. The only difference noticed will be faster turnaround.”


Based in Long Island, NY, Imaging 411 offers third-party service on a wide variety of scanning equipment from almost all leading vendors. Imaging 411 has some federal large government customers and also has a contract for scanner service with national service bureau Databank IMX. Imaging 411 also makes its service available to resellers who are looking for an alternative to vendor-provided service.

"Imaging 411 techs will receive intensive training on all Crowley brands and will be well-qualified to support the units in the field," said Chris Crowley.

Imaging 411 will also act as a distributor of Crowley’s Wicks and Wilson, InoTec and Zeutschel products. Imaging 411 also offer Sunrise microfilm scanners as well as pre-owned scanners and equipment.






Monday, October 22, 2012

Kofax Debuts Mobile App for Mortages

At the Mortgage Bankers Association's annual convention being held in Chicago, Kofax announced a new mobile document capture app. The Kofax Mobile Capture for Mortgage app is based on the technology Kofax announced in January, which involves capturing and processing document images on a phone and then passing them onto a cloud server, which connects with Kofax Capture. Kofax Capture can be used to perform data extraction, document classification, and other process, as well as to connect line of business and BPM systems.

The Mortgage app is designed "to enable lenders, brokers and borrowers to use cameras in smartphones and tablet computers to capture, perfect and extract relevant information from supporting documents and deliver it directly into the appropriate loan processes."

“We’ve seen ready adoption of electronic document management and mobile banking, making the integration of mobile capture into mortgage loan processing the natural next step," said Mark Swift, VP of Opus product management at ISV Mortgage Cadence, in a press release. Mortgage Cadence develops software for the mortgage banking industry and Opus is its document management offering. It is already a Kofax Capture customer.

 Kofax CEO Reynolds Bish expects the flood of refinancing to drive adoption of mobile capture apps.

Harvey Spencer Associates has projected the market for mobile document capture technology to reach $1.5 billion by 2015 and this is clearly the type of repeatable and useful app that can help drive strong growth in a space that is just now emerging. A couple months ago, Kofax announced four Mobile Capture wins in four different markets. So, it appears as if mobile capture is at developing a wide footprint. It will be interesting to see if a killer app emerges out of these early wins and product announcements.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Toshiba's Forward Thinking

In my last newsletter, there's a story on Toshiba America Business Solutions (TABS) launching a new business unit - Toshiba Managed Business Services (TMBS). No surprise here that an MFP vendor is trying to expand further into services. After all, we've written about Ricoh, Canon, Xerox, and HP all trying to do the same thing. With paper volumes declining, hardware just isn't enough to pay the bills anymore.

What's interesting about TMBS, however, is the range of its focus. It is targeting four main areas within the enterprise market:
  • Managed Print Services
  • Document security, workflow/capture
  • Barcode systems
  • Digital signage and kiosks 
Now we all know what MPS is, but here's what Chris Applegate, Director, Enterprise Services, TMBS, had to say about his organization's focus on MPS. “The MPS space has become overcrowded. You’ve got MFP vendors, big box office equipment providers, VARs, and even large technology distributors playing there. And their value propositions all sound alike.

“Basically, they tell the same story. They provide a baseline assessment and an analysis. They then help customers right size their fleets by doing things like replacing inefficient desktop printers with workgroup models. And they provide software to manage that new fleet of printers.

“We believe that creating a lower cost per printed page is only a foundation for managed services. The true value is in reducing print. The paperless office is a myth, but running an office with less paper can be a reality today. We help customers choose when paper is the best solution."


The focus on digital signage and kiosks is designed to offer an alternative solution to printing. In a world where more and more formerly printed materials is now being read on tablets, this makes a lot of sense. I always tell people that a number of years back at a Xerox Tech Expo I saw a lot of "digital paper" solutions previewed that I think foreshadowed today's tablets. I think even better "viewing" technology is on the way.

Healthy Coopetition
The other forward thinking strategy employed by TMBS is its vendor-agnostic approach. Included in TMBS software portfolio is Lexmark's Perceptive software suite, as well as some HP security software. Yes, both HP and Lexmark make MFPs that conceivably compete with Toshiba. This is the second time I have heard TABS commit to this vendor-neutral approach. The first was two years ago, when they launched a professional services group - and they said that it was not about the hardware anymore. I can't say for sure whether this is lip service or reality, but it certainly makes sense. Integrators selling scan-focused document imaging solutions realized it was not about the hardware brand several years ago.



Monday, October 08, 2012

E-Puzzler - Reverse Shredding

Not to sound snooty, but I caught a brief report on NPR this morning on some technology currently being used to piece together documents that were ripped up by the former East German secret police- the Stasi. Developed with help from the Fraunhofer Society, German research organization, the technology is known as the e-Puzzler. According to the NPR report, "The E-puzzler is basically a shredding machine in reverse. You scan torn-up documents into it. It matches up the pieces using color, paper texture, fonts, tear lines and other details."

A conveyer-belt is apparently used in the scanning device, which I can only imagine looks like the open track devices developed by IBML and BancTec. According to an article that appeared in The Guardian a few years back, "The machine works by scanning the document fragments into a computer image file. It treats each scrap as if it is part of a huge jigsaw puzzle. The shape, colour, font, texture and thickness of the paper is then analysed so that eventually it is possible to rebuild an electronic image of the original document."

More from the NPR article: "For the past few years, the E-puzzler has been used under a pilot program funded by the German government. But it has processed only a few hundred sacks. There are more than 15,000 to go. Joachim Haeussler, the archivist in charge of digital reconstruction, now wants to greatly step up the use of E-puzzler technology. "It will help us enormously," he said. "We couldn't even employ the amount of people that would be needed to put together the tiny, tiny pieces of files, because some files are only half a fingernail's worth in size." Ahh, the beauty of document capture.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Canon's I.R.I.S. Strategy

A couple weeks ago, Canon, through its European subsidiary, announced it was planning to acquire document capture ISV and systems integrator I.R.I.S., which is based in Belgium, outside of Brussels. Following is a Q & A put together through a correspondence with the Canon PR department about how the two companies will work together going forward. Basically, it sounds like Canon will enable I.R.I.S. to operate primarily independently, but that the companies will now be able to share more intellectual property. (As far as I know, the only current jointly developed product between the two organizations is the Advanced Scanning module in Canon's UniFlow platform.)

1. How will the acquisition change the way that Canon is currently working with I.R.I.S.?        

Canon anticipates leaving I.R.I.S. Group as a stand-alone company within the Canon group (in line with the acquisition of other software companies in the group). This should allow I.R.I.S. Group to keep its focus on high-quality product development.

Canon has no intention to change any of the strategic relationships in place between I.R.I.S. Group and third parties.

2. What will change at I.R.I.S. as a result of the acquisition?


See answer to question 1.

3. Does Canon have plans to market the I.R.I.S. products through its channels worldwide, or still primarily in Europe?


Canon anticipates leaving I.R.I.S. Group as a stand-alone company within the Canon group (in line with the acquisition of other software companies in the group [Therefore and NT-Ware]). This should allow I.R.I.S. Group to keep its focus on high-quality product development.

4. How will the operation of I.R.I.S. Professional Service group change under Canon?


See answer to question 1.

5. Can you tell me anything about the timing of the acquisition? e.g. why the decision was made to buy the whole company after spending three years as an equity partner?


The relationship between Canon and I.R.I.S. Group has developed very well since 2009 with Canon contributing well to the sales of I.R.I.S. Group’s products and both companies working together to develop new solutions.

However, the relationship is limited in its nature to that of a strategic commercial relationship due to the mutually agreed rules between Canon and I.R.I.S. Group that govern sharing of information.

Canon has a long standing strategy to develop end-to-end solutions in the business environment for its customers. This is better achieved when the relationship between Canon and I.R.I.S. Group is stronger and not subject to the current restrictions.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Kodak's Software Focus

Kind of ironic that an old photography giant like Kodak should spend so much time talking about focus at its recent Global Directions conference in Las Vegas. But, that's exactly what the Rochester-based imaging vendor did this week. Subscribers to our newsletter will get full coverage later today, but basically, Kodak spent the conference spotlighting its two new software product, Info Activate for SharePoint capture and Info Insight for IDR, as well as ISV partner solutions in areas like records management and creating taxonomies.

And hardware, well, it was barely mentioned. I think there might have been a session or two on Kodak's new Asset Management Software for remote scanner management, but that was about it. No, Kodak certainly hasn't given up on the document scanner market - according to Dolores Kruchten, who is now the president of DI, Kodak still invests more in hardware development than software development. It's just that like the MFP vendors, Kodak knows there are better margins and growth in software and services going forward than in hardware. After all, Harvey Spencer Associates has projected an 11% CAGR for the capture software market through 2016. We're not sure when the last time was that the document scanner market saw double digit annual revenue growth.

Of course, many of you already know that this is not Kodak's first venture into software. Originally, there was the initiative that eventually spawned Kofile- basically a digital microfilm retrieval software package that eventually became a lower-end document management system (not sure I got that description completely right, but I think it's close). Then, there was the 1997 acquisition of Eastman Software, which DIR once labeled "The $260 Million Mistake," when the charred remains were sold off in 2001 (although Kodak did ended recouping some, if not all, of that money through a patent deal a few years later).

But Kruchten assured us that this time will be different, and Kodak will succeed because of the focus it is now placing on its software business. That focus was certainly evident at Global Directions. I don't ever remember Eastman Software getting its own conference, for instance, and it was a $50 million business when it was acquired. DI is also counting on whoever buys it to help it even further increase its investment in its software product lines going forward.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Kodak Global Directions 2012

Out here in Las Vegas (JW Marriott up in the hills a bit) for Kodak's first Global Directions conference. About 200 people here, which Kodak described as 60% SIs, and 30% end users. Rest our technology partners and analysts. Certainly smaller than Kodak Breakaway events in the past, but also not necessarily trying to be Breakaway.

To get a taste of what's going on out here, check out Twitter #kgd2012.

Tony Barbeau, GM of Kodak Document Imaging has described the event more of as an industry than a vendor event, of which Kodak is a sponsor. And Kodak has mostly delivered on this promise. There is not a lot of Kodak vendor content in many of the presentations. I'm sitting in Kodak DM Director of Technologies Roland Simonis' presentation on IDR right now, and he certainly has not mentioned a Kodak product 45 minutes into his talk.

Kodak did introduce an IDR product at the conference, InfoInsight, powered by German ISV ITyX. But, Simonis is clearly presenting an educational, not an advertorial track. Lot of good, diverse presenters here, including Shad White of CloudPower, Brian Dirking of Box, and Rai Wasner of Kollabria, who helped put the agenda together.

Interesting this is that scanning hardware, Kodak DI's bread-and-butter for many years, are really not playing a prominent role. This was a deliberate move to Kodak to really spotlighting their software. I'll get into reasons for this in my next premium issue, but it certainly seems like a good idea, as expanding into software and solutions are clearly the future for Kodak DI.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Canon to Acquire I.R.I.S.

Canon, working through its subsidiary Canon Europe, has made a bid to acquire Belgium capture ISV and systems integrator I.R.I.S. The two companies have been partners since Feb. 2009, when Canon Europe became a reseller of  I.R.I.S. products. A few months later, Canon followed-up by buying a 17% stake in I.R.I.S.

I.R.I.S. is probably best known in North America for its OCR/ICR software. Several big-name companies like Adobe, HP, and Evernote license I.R.I.S.'s technology in this area.

 I.R.I.S. also has a batch capture product - which has its roots in software it formerly licensed to Kodak through an OEM agreement (Kodak Capture, the predecessor to Kodak's current Capture Pro software). In 2008, I.R.I.S. acquired German IDR ISV Docutec and markets a document classification and extraction product - IRISXtract, based on the Docutec technology. I.R.I.S recently ramped up its North American efforts around Xtract, which includes licensing Xtract to Salumatics, a Canadian outsourcing firm, that is using the technology to capture healthcare patient records.

 I.R.I.S. has several other software products and some hardware, like mobile scanners and a pen scanner, as well. I.R.I.S. also has a ECM systems integration/professional services business that mainly operates in the Benelux region. This integration business has historically accounted for more than half the company's revenue.

For 2011, I.R.I.S. reported revenue roughly the equivalent of $158 million, but it also went through a reorganization last year. For the first half of 2012, I.R.I.S. revenue was down 33% to around $58 million, but its EDITDA (cash flow from operations) was actually improved over 2011.

Commented, Denis Hermesse, CFO I.R.I.S. Group, “We have seen a shift in our revenue mix with an increase in revenue from license, maintenance and services (including system performance and remote monitoring) and less hardware sales with low margin."

The deal
The offer Canon has made is for EUR 44.50 per share, or the equivalent of $92 million for the remaining 83% of I.R.I.S. This represents a 50% premium over what I.R.I.S. shares were trading for, before trading was suspended as the deal works itself through. It values I.R.I.S. at around $111 million, which is considerably less than the $184 million valuation related to Canon's $31 million investment in 2009.

In 2009, I.R.I.S. was coming off a 2008 in which it reported an EBITDA of Euro 9 million on revenue of Euro 108 million. Based on the first half, 2011 EDITDA projects to Euro 7 million on Euro 85 million.

Commented I.R.I.S. CEO Pierre de Muelenaere in a press release, “We are very pleased to have reached this important milestone for I.R.I.S. Group, and proud that Canon intends to bring our company within the Canon group. The entire board of I.R.I.S. Group fully supports this bid and we are committed to making this transition a success, which we believe will be to the benefit of our customers and all our stakeholders.”

For Canon, the move represents part of the overall trend of MFP manufacturers moving more toward software and solutions. Commented Rokus van Iperen, President & CEO, Canon EMEA, "Canon has identified business solutions and professional services as important focus areas for future growth and we believe this investment will bring long term opportunities to build on our success in the solutions and consultancy businesses to date. We will be working closely with I.R.I.S. Group, as a stand-alone company, to deliver more advanced solutions and services and greater customer value.”

For the record, "More acquisitions of Capture/DM/BPM ISVs by Hardware Vendors," was one of the six predictions for 2012-2013 I made at the Harvey Spencer Associated Capture Conference two weeks ago.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

ABBYY Acquires Reseller Partner

ABBYY has acquired ECM systems integrator Digital Documents. D-Docs resells multiple ISV products including Hyland OnBase, EMC ApplicationXtender, and Open Text Alchemy on the ECM side, and ABBYY FlexiCapture and Cardiff's Teleform and LiquidOffice on the the capture side. ABBYY's plan is to enable D-Docs to continue to sell all these products - while adding the tagline "an ABBYY company" to its marketing materials.

D-Docs has some 250-300 customers in the U.S., and is especially strong in the healthcare and higher education spaces. It has less than 20 employees and has won multiple awards from its ISV partners throughout the years.

This is ABBYY USA's first acquisition and the Milpitas, CA-based recognition and document capture ISV hopes to mine D-Docs expertise to help it continue to built out its VAR channel.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Kofax Q4 Details

As expected, Kofax has posted a strong Q4 for its fiscal 2012. This included 17.2% growth in terms of organic constant currency for applications software-the company's core business. Applications software generated $30.2 million for the quarter and software licensing overall was about 50% of Kofax's overall revenue of $75.3 million. To give you an idea of what positive trend this is, for the fiscal year 2012 (including Q4), software licensing made up just 45% of overall revenue.

Commented CEO Reynolds Bish in a press release, "“Our fourth quarter produced strong results, with software license revenues, service revenues and revenues in all geographic regions, our core capture business and acquired businesses being equal to or greater than our expectations. This allowed us to meet the guidance we had provided and realize record total revenues and Adjusted EBITDA for the fiscal year. In light of our transition from focusing on EBITA to Adjusted EBITDA and for purposes of clarity, during fiscal year 2012 we achieved an EBITA of $42.0 million compared to $40.2 million in fiscal year 2011.”

Good stuff.

For fiscal 2013 Bish is projecting "mid to high single digit total revenue growth on a constant currency basis and an adjusted EBITDA margin of at least that reported in fiscal year 2012."

Two geographic notes:
1. EMEA saw the strongest growth in Q4 with a 53.2% growth in software licenses contributing to $30 million in total revenue.
2. Kofax continues to struggle to gain a foothold in Asia-Pac, generating just $5.4 million in revenue for the quarter - a decline of 27% over fiscal Q4 2011.

For the second half of FY2012, Kofax reported 56% of application software license sales came through channel partners, which is pretty close the mix Bish envisioned when he took over the company.

Kofax released its results on Monday (a holiday here in the States) and its stock share price seemed to dip slightly before recovering today.



Friday, August 31, 2012

A Data Capture Systems Book Review

Yes, Dr. K. Bradley Paxton of ADI (for Advanced Document Imaging) has written a fairly comprehensive book on implementing and maintaining forms processing systems. Paxton spent 32 years at Kodak and is probably best known in our industry for his work encouraging the U.S. Census Bureau to adopt digital imaging technology. He has plenty of experience in our market and it is certainly leveraged in this comprehensive book.

 Here's my complete review of his book on the Amazon page. The title is Handprint Data Capture in Forms Processing: A Systems Approach, but it's really about automating any type of document capture, from OMR to OCR to handprint. Paxton offers plenty of sound advice on how to really make your system hum - and then how to make adjustments to help it keep humming going forward.

As I say in the review, some of the statistical formulas went right over my head, but there is plenty of valuable stuff in there. It's probably the most comprehensive, neutral (meaning non-vendor) piece I've ever read on implementing automated data capture for documents. Can't see how this could not provide an ROI for anyone doing any volume of capture.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why Sale is Good for Kodak DI

Over the past year, I have more than one conversation with people concerned that Kodak could potentially be using profits from its Document Imaging business to fund its money-losing print ventures. I'm not saying this was happening, as Kodak DI continues to invest in new technology and is even holding a fairly large industry event next month. But, there were clearly concerns that Kodak corporate's money losing ways could eventually drag down DI, which by all accounts was a profitable and growing business.

Here are some facts: In a "public lender presentation" put out by Kodak earlier this year, "document scanners" were listed as one of three core businesses (along with "retail systems solutions" and "digital plates") that generated $214 million in profits in 2011. Kodak also listed four growth businesses, consumer inkjet, digital printing solutions, workflow software and services, and packaging solutions, that combined to lose $415 million in 2011. There were also a number of "manage for cash/value" entities that pretty much broke even in 2011.

Basically, at that time that presentation was published, it appeared Kodak's strategy was to fund the "growth" entities with profits from the "core businesses." Of course, this is not really that attractive a proposition for a business unit like DI, which certainly considers itself a growth business as well. This is one reason why a sale is attractive to DI.

Here's a quote from Dolores Kruchten, who has spent many years in management at Kodak DI, which I thought was pretty telling. “From Kodak DI’s view, it’s business as usual, with the caveat that we are very excited about working with a potential buyer and really being in a position where DI is a core focus of whatever business it ends up being part of going forward.”

As for Kodak corporate, I really don't understand the production print market, so, I guess I really don't understand its strategy. I'll just leave it at that.

Of course, I probably should point out that the bankruptcy and accompanying re-org will likely enable DI to shed some of that onerous pension/retirement obligations that had been a drawback to potential acquirers in the past. This is good for the health of DI as well.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kodak DI For Sale

Not exactly sure of the strategy behind this, but here's my guess:
1. Document imaging is not printing, so it's not core to Kodak's future direction
2. Kodak is not getting as much money as it hope from the sale of the digital imaging patent portfolio, so they need to raise some additional money to pay off debts
3. Kodak Document Imaging (including the service business) is a healthy, profitable entity that Kodak can get $1 billion? for.

What do you think?

From a press release that was issued today, ".... [Kodak] has initiated sale processes for its market-leading Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging businesses."

Also from the press release: “The initiation of a process to sell the Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging businesses is an important step in our company’s reorganization to focus our business on the commercial markets and enable Kodak to accelerate its momentum toward emergence,” said Antonio M. Perez, Chairman and CEO.

"Kodak said it would move forward as quickly as possible and has targeted completing these transactions in the first half of 2013."

So, who are the potential buyers?

Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/2012/08/23/4209859/kodak-takes-next-steps-toward.html#storylink=cpy

Study Exposes the Efficiency of Paper

Yes, I know that sounds counter-intuitive. After all, the tagline to my newsletter is "Business Trends on Converting Paper Processes to Electronic Ones." And, why would we want to go through all the trouble doing that if not to make the processes more efficient. Hold on a minute, and I'll explain.

Here's a quote from a recent IDC white paper commissioned by Ricoh, entitled, It’s Worse than You Think: Poor Document Processes Lead to Significant Business Risk.  Discussing the results of a survey on ineffective document processes, "The least effective processes are also the least paper based. This exposes the myth that simply driving paper out of processes necessarily makes them more efficient."

Basically, I think we all understand the second part - electronifying a bad processes doesn't necessarily improve it, it just codifies it. But, read that first sentence again. It indicates that the paper-based processes are actually more effective than the electronic ones. To me, this could be great marketing material for the document imaging industry. Logistically, it would follow maybe eliminating paper processes is not the most efficient route. Rather, improving them, through strategic capture might be.

Bottom line: In many cases paper processes are more efficient than electronic ones, so why try and replace them? Why not just improve them through document imaging? Does that make sense?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Forrester Capture Report

Has anyone seen this new Forrester Wave report on Multi-Channel Capture? Kofax, which is absolutely the leader, top and to the right with EMC Captiva slightly behind, is making the report available if you register. There is also an AIIM Webinar scheduled for next week.

Anyhow, the report has caused some controversy in the industry. Most obviously, there are only nine vendors ranked, when seriously I think there are about 100 competing in the document capture software space - not to mention the "multi-channel" capture market, which would seem to bring even more ISVs into the mix.

I'll start off by saying that I like the term "multi-channel capture" as a moniker that identifies where the industry is headed. Automating the capture of data from paper documents, while greatly increasing efficiencies, is not enough anymore as paper use declines and new forms of electronic input emerge. I also like Forrester's stressing the analytics is going to become an increasingly important part of this market going forward. I'm not sure they utilizing the same framing of "analytics" that I would, but I think their concepts in this area are strong at least.

On the flip side, ranking only eight vendors seems like a great disservice. I mean they left out clear market leaders like Nuance and ReadSoft, while ranking their competitors like NSi, IteSoft, Brainware, and TIS. Not sure of the rhyme or reason behind the vendor choices although Forrester attempts to link it to customer demand. Some speculation is that Forrester's background is in ECM and not data capture, so maybe their choices were influenced by that. Either way, I think the number of vendors included comes up way short.

I'll have some more details in an upcoming premium issue, but as a word of warning, here's what one ISV (whose company was ranked) said to me regarding the report: "Something like this is supposed to help clear up confusion in the market for end users. This report only adds to it."

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dicom and KLake Partnership Paying Early Dividends

Sounds like Dicom's partnership with KnowledgeLake is off to a good start. Today, the European value-added document imaging distributor "reports a consistently growing demand for products and solutions from KnowledgeLake Inc." [Click for press release.] The companies have been working together for almost a year. It was at last year's Sept. DMS show that Dicom announced it would act as KnowledgeLake's distributor for the EMEA territory.

KnowledgeLake is an ISV that specializes in software for document imaging enabling SharePoint. It has grown its U.S. business primarily through direct sales and a handful of resellers. The EMEA business is being pushed primarily through Dicom's extensive reseller channel. KnowledgeLake had one of the first software products added to the Dicom porfolio in the wake of the distributor's splitting with Kofax.

According to today's press release, "Since September 2011, DICOM was successful in closing a whole series of KnowledgeLake partnership agreements with system integrators in Germany, Switzerland, the UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Nigeria and South Africa and managed to win a significant number of projects throughout EMEA. In addition, DICOM also reports a strong pipeline for the month ahead."

According to Joachim Froning, CEO and co-owner of DICOM, "We have been able to draw to the attention of system integrators and VARs in the ECM- as well as the MS SharePoint and Dynamics space to KnowledgeLake. Amongst already signed partnership agreements are renowned integrators like SP Integration, COI, Data One, Sword, Informed Consulting, Innobit, Intervate, FOXit, iSPartners, Infographic and ProActive, just to name a few."

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Thoughts on Parascript/AIIM Forms Processing Study & White Paper

Lot of interesting information in a recent study conducted by AIIM and sponsored by Parascript.

Parascript develops a slew of recognition technology including handprint and cursive recognition. Not surprisingly, a follow-up article written by Parascript's Don Dew highlights some of the shortcomings in adoption of handprint/cursive recognition. According to Dew, "In most organizations, hand-written fields are prevalent on a significant number of forms. 42% of respondents indicated they have hand-written data fields on half or more of their forms. In addition to being prevalent, these hand-written forms are also important to the efficiency of the business process. 40% of respondents say they are quite important; 20% say they play a key role."

 "However, many organizations are not taking advantage of this information. 88% of respondents say they scan forms, but only 32% say they perform text recognition to automatically make that data readily available for use in their organizations. The majority of respondents (55%) report they scan images and manually re-key the data as part of their workflow."

 Of course, this is where Parascript's technology could come in, or, the crowdsourcing data-entry solutions from companies like virtualsolutions and Captricity, which were featured in our last premium issue. Some combination of the two may actually form the most efficient solution.

Another interesting point made in the study is that users cited a multitude of forms as the number one reason that they are not using forms processing technology - in other words, they feel the templates are too hard to set up. This should be interesting news to companies like ITyX, a German artificial intelligence vendor that DIR was recently introduced to.

Anyhow, there is a lot of interesting stuff in this white paper about forms processing adoption, what end users are implementing it for, and why they are not in certain areas.  The bottom line to me seems to be that parochial/departmental management of many forms capture operations prevents users from looking at the top tier capture automation solutions out there. They just don't have the bandwidth to consider the cutting edge technology that is most often included in enterprise capture applications. SaaS/Cloud services may prove to be the way around this.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

New Tweets: ReadSoft Hire, DocuWare Move

If you're not following us on Twitter @DIREditor, please do. As I wrote in a recent e-mailer, it's a great way for me to quickly and efficiently distribute links to relevant news stories, like these two the moved today:

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Visioneer-Xerox renew licensing deal

Scanner vendor Visioneer has renewed its brand licensing agreement with Xerox. First signed in 2003, the agreement" extends Visioneer’s current exclusive rights to develop, market and support the award-winning Xerox DocuMate line of Xerox-branded document scanners."

A relatively unique deal when it was first negotiated, Visioneer's partnership with Xerox has been a key growth driver for the Pleasanton, CA-based scanner vendor's business over the years. Perhaps due to the fact that it is using the Xerox brand, Visioneer has had a tremendous amount of success selling through Xerox sales channels. Here's a quote from an interview with former Visioneer VP of sales Bill Kouzi in 2009:

"The majority of our new sales now come through Xerox. We are now focused primarily on building
our relationships with the Xerox community. This includes focusing on Xerox enterprise accounts. We
are also focused on cultivating the Xerox channel, which includes Xerox Global Imaging, Xerox Global Services, Xerox Peak Resellers, and Xerox’s direct sales force. We have someone focusing on Xerox Canada and our business with Xerox in Latin America has grown tremendously...."'

So, obviously, the extension of the partnership for at least another five years, is an important event for Visioneer.

We first Tweeted about this announcement earlier this morning @DIREditor.




Tuesday, July 24, 2012

ReadSoft Reports $29 Million Quarter

The numbers for ReadSoft's first full quarter with foxray as part of the business are in. For Q2, the Swedish capture and workflow ISV reported the equivalent of around $29 million in U.S. dollars. This represented 25% overall growth from Q2 2011, 13% of which was organic. ReadSoft's operating profit was down slightly, to approximately $2.5 million.

Said CEO Per Ã…kerberg in a press release, "Our strong growth takes us back to black figures with regard to our EBITDA result, both for the quarter and the half-year. We are still not where we want to be in terms of results, but we believe that the investments we make in connection with the acquisition of foxray and in new product generations ensure good long-term growth. We have continued to work intensively with the integration of foxray and this is now essentially complete."

ReadSoft showed growth in all three of its major geographical markets, with the non-Nordic European market leading the way, thanks likely to foxray's established business in Germany.

Kofax Hits Q4 Projections; Dratler Back w/ Bish

Big day for Kofax. Couple of important announcements this morning. First, the Irvine-based document capture ISV seems to have hit the fourth-quarter numbers that CEO Reynolds Bish projected after a sluggish third-quarter. When the third-quarter results were announced, Bish had projected at least $69 million in revenue from Kofax's core capture business in fiscal Q4 (ended June 30), which would have represented 5% growth over Q4 2011.

According to the Kofax press release, "The Company ended the fiscal year with record total revenues in the range of $261 to $263 million and expects to report an EBITA of at least the $40.2 million realized during the previous fiscal year, both of which are in line with Company expectations previously communicated to the financial community."

There is a conference call scheduled for this morning. I'm on vacation and haven't had a chance to review the details yet, but, the London investment community seems to approve of the Kofax preliminary report. Kofax shares were up almost 5% in early trading. Of course, that could also be reflective of the news that Kofax has named Howard Dratler as its new EVP of field pperations. Dratler held a similar position at Captiva.

Bish probably would have liked to hire Dratler as his right-hand man when he first took over Kofax. In fact, here is a quote from Bish in our April 4, 2008 issue: “The new EVP position is pretty much identical to the
position I created at Captiva, for which I recruited Howard Dratler who had experience at Veritas. Howard is a very talented guy who did a very effective job. Unfortunately, he is not currently available."

At the time Dratler was occupied as the CEO of Anacomp and Bish hired former HP sales executive Alan Kerr to fill the EVP of field operations role. Kerr enjoyed mixed success, but Kofax seemed to recover more slowly from the 2009 economic downturn than many of its competitors and really didn't have a very strong first three quarters of its fiscal 2012.

Dratler was with Bish when he built Captiva from a company with market cap of less than $10 million to one he was able to sell to EMC for $300 million in a matter of three years. So, the Bish-Dratler combination clearly has a history of success in driving up investor valuation - which was Bish's main charge when he was hired by Kofax, and a goal I'm sure he is still working towards, as by my calculations at least, Kofax's current market cap of around $350 million is about the same as the Kofax (then known as Dicom) market cap when Bish was brought in.This unrealized goal of driving up the value of the company and the recent hire of Dratler would also indicate to me that the rumor circulating about Oracle buying Kofax has no substance behind it.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Psigen Completes Strong Fiscal 2012

Psigen has announced that it achieved 70% growth for its latest fiscal year, ending June 30. According to a press release, "Growth has come from a strong expanding domestic market, and significant growth in Europe and the Asia Pacific Region." Psigen is an Irvine, CA-based ISV that offers a versatile document capture software application.


On the additional strength of some OEM deals, Psigen had reported 90% growth for the six months ended Dec. 2011. Bruce Hensley, president of Psigen, said the new year was off to a good start with a strong July. He cited sales to large companies, including competitive replacements, as helping to drive Psigen's growth.

“In this past year, we brought on a large number of Fortune 500 clients who were looking to enhance their current capture application set and lower their total cost of ownership," said Hensley in a press release.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Kofax Mobile Early Wins


Back in March, at Kofax's annual Transform end user and reseller conference, we told you that the Irvine,CA-based Mobile Capture application was the hottest topic in town. It seems like some of that interest has already turned into business for Kofax, which today announced four Mobile Capture wins in a variety of markets. Three of the wins are with end users, in the areas of service, sales, and healthcare, and the fourth is a Mobile SDK sale to an ISV that will embed the technology in a transportation app for capturing shipping documents.

Said Drew Hyatt, SVP of Mobile Applications at Kofax, " We already have prospective users testing and evaluating Kofax Mobile Capture for mortgage applications, insurance claims, expense management, proof of delivery and accounts payable.”

Last year, while working for Harvey Spencer Associates, Dave Wood had published some fairly aggressive growth numbers for the mobile capture software market. He predicted the market to grow from a couple hundred million dollars in 2012 to more than $3 billion in 2018. Embedding the technology in other mobile apps was one of the key strategies for driving growth.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Canon Announces Print/Scan Mobile Apps

Canon has announced a pair of apps that enable users to scan to and print from their mobile phones and tablets utilizing ImageRunner MFPs. The apps are for the iOS and Blackberry operating systems.

From a press release, "The Canon Direct Print and Scan for Mobile application provides communication between Canon multifunction products (MFP) and an iPhone and iPad, allowing users to perform print and scan functions between the two devices, such as scanning from the MFP to an iOS device or printing from an iOS device to an MFP."


The iOS app is free at iTunes and will work with compatible ImageRunners and Image Runner ADVANCE devices. "Through the app users can remotely manage "scan options from an iOS device (e.g., select paper size selection, select scan resolution, duplex printing, color vs. black and white, select number of prints, collate and more)."


The app for Blackberries is also free and does basically the same things as the iOS app. It does require that users purchase a MEAP application to run on their hardware. (Go figure, a Blackberry app being more inconvenient than an Apple app....market dynamics are hard to change.) Canon seems to have an Android mobile app for scanning and printing photos but not yet for documents. Not sure why Blackberry was ahead of Android in the development cycle. Probably made sense when development started.

DIR on Twitter

Some, I'm totally new to this, so I apologize for anything I do that involves ironing the bumps out if you will, but just Tweeting my first message on Ralph Gammon @DIREditor. Does that give you enough info to find me? Tweet has to do with TIS' partnership with Saperion, announced today.
 
 Twitter seems like a great way to try and update you on some of the cool and interesting press release I get everyday, without have to set up a blog post on them.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Kofax Lands $2 Million Deal

During Kofax's third-quarter financials conference call, CEO Reynolds Bish certainly expressed confidence that the Irvine, CA-based document capture and BPM ISV would rebound strongly in the fourth quarter. A couple of large wins indicate that Bish's predictions may be on target. A little more than a week after announcing a $5 million sale to "an agency of the U.S. government [that] has selected Kofax for a large scale, nationwide capture project," Kofax has followed up by announcing a sale exceeding $2 million to "a top 10 global banking group headquartered in Western Europe."

The deal is an extension of a current Kofax implementation and includes Capture, Transform, and Monitor licenses. In addition to helping Kofax reach Bish's Q4 goal of $69 million in revenue from Kofax's "core capture business," the deal should help boost Kofax's European sales, which have been sluggish as of late.



TIS Scores Singapore Mailroom Deal

Earlier this week, Top Image Systems (TIS) announced it has "won an $855,000 project to deploy eFLOW® Digital Mailroom (DMR) at a public administration in Singapore. The solution will optimize and accelerate processing of all incoming documentation – free text and forms, paper and digital, estimated to reach a volume of tens of millions of documents annually."

According to Alex Toh, VP, Asia-Pac for TIS, the organization is "a long time customer of ours doing traditional big volume scanning and have recently been convinced that our DMR solution can further increase their efficiencies through automation and STP."

According to the press release, "The agency processes, audits and archives the 2-4 million forms and 8-16 million semi-structured and unstructured documents it receives each year, including letters, bills, statements of account, identity cards, etc. The project involves complex indexing and comprehension of unstructured documents written by people with different levels of command of the English language and from every walk of life. The DMR system will achieve document recognition rates of 90% for forms and 30% for semi-structured documents. The system is expected to go live in the first half of 2013."

This is the fourth significant announcement TIS has made in the last month regarding capture software sales. They have also announced a logistics win, a census win, and four significant European wins.




Tuesday, July 10, 2012

SaaS Features Highlighted in Kofax BPM

Kofax has announced a new version of its TotalAgility BPM software. Kofax is touting TotalAgility 6.0's ability to be deployed through a SaaS (software as a service) model. Kofax added TotalAgility when it acquired Northern Ireland-based ISV Singularity late last year. At the time, Kofax touted the ability of TotalAgility to be run as a SaaS, and the latest version seems to re-enforce that position.

According to the press release, "TotalAgility 6.0 has been also been enhanced to accelerate deployments through an intuitive process design and execution experience. TotalAgility Workspace and TotalAgility Builder are now completely browser-based, making it much easier for users to design, deploy and operate these solutions. Multiple form factors are also now supported, delivering better user experiences to mobile device users."

There is no mention of the introduction with cloud-based capture, which is something Kofax promised would be on the way, as part of TotalAgility - not as a standalone offering.

The SaaS version of TotalAgility runs on Windows Azure.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Fujitsu Releases New Portable ScanSnap

Fujitsu has released a new version of its popular mobile ScanSnap unit. The S1300i can capture "up to 12 double-sided color pages per minute (ppm), even while using its advanced intelligent image-processing technology...1.5 times faster than its predecessor." It also comes bundled with Scan to Android and Apple iOS capabilities through Fujitsu's ScanSnap Connect capabilities.

Connect still requires a laptop to act as an intermediary, but, utilizing the connect app, images can be automatically transferred from the laptop to a mobile device. Check out this video (the limited words are in Japanese, but you'll get the picture.) There is also improved scan-to-cloud and scan-to-folder capabilities. The device can be USB powered and continues with Fujitsu's tradition of ease-of-use for creating searchable PDF files through the ScanSnap product line.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Kofax Deal May Top Them All

The theme on our blog all week has been the preponderance of large capture software deals that have been announced recently. This included a $7.5 million Latin American deal by Brainware. Not sure if today's announced deal by Kofax is quite that large, but it is billed as being worth in the "mid-seven figure dollar amount" to Kofax. So, it's somewhere around a $5 million sale to U.S. government agency for a "large-scale nationwide capture project."

The sale includes a slew of  Kofax products, including KTM (Kofax Transformation Modules for intelligent data capture) and the Kofax Front Officer server for capture from MFPs. This is also a part of a trend of seven-figure MFP capture deals, as NSi and Nuance were each involved very large sales of MFP capture software last year. The NSi deal was also with a Federal government agency - the DoD.

Let's hope these trends continue.

info 360 re-brand

Apparently, going forward the combined info 360/On Demand event is going to be known as Content On Demand. Not a horrible name when you think about the content management technologies represented by the traditional AIIM community and printing/output stuff traditionally shown at On Demand. I guess the question comes down to, does anyone care about this event anymore? The only attendance number mentioned in the Questex press release about this year's info 360/On Demand event is the vague "thousands." (My observation is that it was definitely on the low-end of that scale.)

Regarding next year, "In the Spring of 2013, Content ON DEMAND will launch as a two-day sponsored conference focusing on the lifecycle of content from consumption through delivery."

Monday, July 02, 2012

Brainware, TIS Make More News

First there was the $7.5 million deal to increase its presence in Latin America, now Brainware has signed a deal with Content Concepts to distribute its software in the Asia-Pac region. A certified EMC parnter, Content Concepts, which is based in Singapore, advertises solutions in invoice/order processing, mailroom, and healthcare. They are the "only certified Brainware partner" in Asia-Pacific.

From the press release, "While Content Concepts will market Brainware’s applications for the automation of accounts payable operations initially, their long-term vision includes delivery of capture-driven efficiency across a number of vital back office processes."

TIS also announced another large deal today with a "one of Europe's largest logistics companies." The deal with worth $350,000 to TIS software will initially be deployed to process invoices for the company's German operations. TIS' eFlow capture software will be integrated with an SAP ERP system. From the press release, "In the second phase, the system will be expanded to the company’s other European locations. This growth-oriented enterprise also plans to expand to a fully automated Digital Mailroom solution."

These deals continue the strong momentum we have seen recently in the capture market. It's interesting to note that while both start with invoices/AP, both are talking about expanding into the wider capture market of digital-mailroom type solutions.

HP Article

I met with HP at the recent info 360 show, and Palo Alto-based technology giant really seemed to have lot of good stuff going on in the ECM market. This includes the recent release of its Capture and Route document scanning for MFP  solution, as well as improvements to the TRIM records management system to make it more enterprise-ready. Word is that some of the Autonomy search technology is now being incorporated in TRIM, and that the Cardiff (remember Cardiff Teleform?) capture platform is at least being considered. HP also had some nice refreshed scanners at its booth.

That said, we recently read in Brian Bissett's excellent MFP Report that HP is having all kinds of problems with the software for its popular Digital Sender network scanner and that a fix is not expected until this fall - a year after originally planned. Not sure how much of that is reflective of the macro issues at HP, but here is an excellent article from CNN that details some of the problems HP has been having. (It's a long one but well written.)

Here's an excerpt that talks about some of the struggles that technology developers at HP have faced as a result of cost cutting measures to improve HP's struggling bottom line: "Hurd's early initiatives to pare spending were valuable and necessary. But as time went on it became harder to find waste, and the results became extreme. Employees practically needed an act of Congress to get approval to buy a piece of software. The headquarters of the tech company did not have Wi-Fi. And some minions took Hurd's edicts to self-defeating lengths. At HP's office in Fort Collins, Colo., for example, the lights shut off automatically at 6 p.m. every day, effectively forcing workers to go home. An intrepid few brought their own lamps to the office, only to be scolded by facilities managers, who told them to remove the lights."

Yes, that's pretty harsh. I'll only say that, at least in our market, HP certainly has an impressive collection of technology, people, and services - with not only their own developed stuff, but acquisitions of Autonomy, Tower, and EDS contributing as well. I'd like to see HP figure it out, but I'm not sure how much dead weight it is carrying in the overall organization.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Slew of Large Capture Deals

As we mentioned yesterday, there have been a number of large capture software deals announced in the past couple weeks, by market leaders. Here's a look a few of them:

Brainware Announces $7.5 million Deal: Brainware, now a wholly owned subsidiary of Lexmark, under its Perceptive subsidiary, announced a huge deal with the Dominican solutions and service provider Novosit. I am not at all familiar with Novosit, and its Web site is in Spanish, but Hyland, Kofax, Fujitsu, and ABBYY products are all listed. Novosit will both "use and distribute" Brainware's intelligent data capture software. We're assuming this is a multi-year deal. Brainware specializes in large deals, having announced they closed more than 10 deals worth over $1 million in 2011.

Top Image Systems (TIS) continues to build on its recent momentum. TIS recently announced four wins in Europe that combined account for over $1 million in revenue. In addition, TIS announced a $1.2 million deal for software to process the 2013 Bosnia and Herzegovina Population Census. This continues a string of successes for Top Image in the census market, which by our account includes at least a dozen wins worldwide in the past couple years. TIS also announced an expansion of its implementation with the Czech Post - one worth several hundred thousand dollars to TIS. The Czech post, as well as several other European postal services that TIS has contracts with, acts as a service bureau for processing payments and documents - a business DIR has long encouraged the USPS to get involved with. The bottom line is that TIS, which reported $7.7 million in revenue in Q1 has announced somewhere of around $3 million in software sales in just that last couple weeks.

ReadSoft recently announced a couple of invoice processing deals totaling more than $700,000.  Both are in A/P in SAP environments, which has been ReadSoft's sweet spot for awhile now.

Finally, Kofax recently announced a couple of A/P wins totaling more than $1 million. One is with "a leading provider of security and related monitoring services for homes and businesses in North America," which is adding KTM and MarkView to its existing Kofax Capture implementation. This other is with a leading supplier of components to the automotive engine industry, which is implementing multiple Kofax products, including Capture, KTM, MarkView, MarkView Advisor, SupplierExpress, and e-Transactions for integration with an SAP system.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pingar Offers Advanced Meta Data Extraction

There have been a number of news stories that I hope to get to posting links to shortly. Been tied up catching up on some stuff, but here's one more thing from info 360 a couple weeks ago that I wanted to get to. Caught up with former Microsoft ISV manager for SharePoint partners Owen Allen at the event, and he is now working for a company called Pingar.

Based in New Zealand, Pingar does some cool stuff in the area of advanced meta data extraction. This basically involves taking batches of unstructured documents and finding relevant indexing information like people, places, business names, e-mail addresses, etc., and then taking this information and dumping it into an ECM or other back-end system. Pingar advertises its technology as a tool. It currently has a hosted/cloud version that you can play around with.

Here's the lead for the article about Pingar in my last premium issue of DIR:

There has been a lot of talk in technology circles recently about the concept of managing “big data.” Big data basically defines the rapidly growing amount of information that enterprise systems are being inundated with due to increasing electronic communication and transactions. Of course, paper documents, by their nature mostly fall outside the realm of big data—that is unless they are imaged and the information on them is somehow translated into a format a data management system can understand.

That’s where Pingar comes in....Click to read the rest of article.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Favorite Hardware Device from info360

Yes, there were some people there debuting cutting-edge technology. PiQx actually debuted this device at CEBIT, but I believe info360 was its North American debut. This product is not shipping yet, but it's very cool and has some potential.

It's a "document camera" that attaches is a laptop, but it's not the hardware apparatus that was so impressive. It's the software. You basically toss a document down on a decent background - PiQx even provides a fold-up platform you can place over your keyboard, hit scan, and the software automatically applies perspective correction and crops, rotates, and orientates the image. It even offers "finger removal" if you're flattening book pages. The high-quality images produced in such a short time were what was so impressive. PiQx advertises them as being the equivalent of 300 dpi images captured with a flatbed scanner.

Product is schedule to start shipping in Sept.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

IBML Shows new Scanner at info360

IBML, the Birmingham, AL-based manufacturer of the ImageTrac line of high-volume scanners, showed off a new, not-as-high volume model at the info360 show. An OEM tabletop scanner, the new ImageTracDS 1150 still advertises throughput at up to 150 ppm. What makes it special is that it includes two output pockets and comes with IBML's Softrac Capture Suite. This potentially enables users to leverage the same scanning workflows they use with their traditional ImageTrac open track models, which are often utilized when outsorting items like coversheets and checks.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Kofax Hires ex-Mitek Exec

In response to Mitek's announcement yesterday that it has hired a new senior VP of sales, Kofax announced that it had hired Mitek's previous senior VP of sales. Drew Hyatt has joined Kofax as senior VP of mobile applications. He will be based in Irvine, CA, and assuming he lives in San Diego (where Mitek is headquartered) he will join a number of ex-Captiva employees who make the commute north to Kofax (many by train).

 Kofax introduced its Mobile Capture technology earlier this year. There was a ton of end user interest in it at the Kofax Transform event, but CTO Anthony Macciola cautioned that the product/toolkit was still in its early stages. That said, Kofax certainly has some aggressive sales plans for the technology. 

An interesting sidenote is that Kofax's technology, to me at least, seems clearly to cross into the patents Mitek has in this area, but neither Kofax or Mitek has commented this issue (even though I've asked). Part of the USAA lawsuit that we mentioned yesterday involves trying to invalidate these patents.

Kofax's stock has seen a decent bump up this week, but it may just be due to general market conditions. That said, Mitek's stock was up another 13% through mid-day, so maybe mobile capture is attractive to investors.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hiring Spurs Stock Uptick

Investors seem to be in favor the mobile capture ISV Mitek's hiring of a new senior VP of sales and business development. Michael Diamond has experience in the mobile payment space, as well as the electronic transaction space in general (with S1 Corporation). He also spent time at IBM.

Mitek's stock value rose 14% today after Diamond's hire was announced. The value had sharply declined from a high of more than $13 per share - to a low of less than $2 per share in April after USAA sued Mitek for stolen technology and called out the validity of their patents around mobile imaging. Mitek is fighting the claims and its stock closed today at $3.35 per share, giving it a market cap of $85 million - still not bad for a company that reported just $1.2 million in revenue last quarter.

Mobile technology space is still clearly valued by investors.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Info 360 Follow-up

So, that may be the last one. At least that was rumor circulating around following the show. Apparently, Questex was talking about moving the event to a hotel in New York for next year and focusing more on educational seminars. You know, kind of the like what AIIM is already doing. I talked with one long-time event attendee, who commented something to the effect of, "That shipped has sailed."

When all was said and done, I counted somewhere north of 80 exhibitors for the info 360 (former) AIIM event and 40 for the On Demand side. Ricoh was probably the biggest name on the On Demand side (former staples like Xerox, Canon, and Sharp were all missing), and I think they were a very late addition. Personally, I had a great time networking at the event, even though it was really small and compact. I'd say I had close to 20 quality conversations/contacts at the event, and didn't even get to a couple booths I had wanted to. But, the exhibitors were not happy. Not a one that I talked to, which probably spells doom for the event.

On Wednesday, there was actually some decent traffic for a few hours early, then that was about it. Early on, everybody seemed satisfied that some end users had apparently made it to the show floor - after all, New York is a good market for imaging and content management. But then things pretty much dried up and on the second day or the event, which was actually shortened to two days for the first time I remember, there was really nobody there. 2,000 attendees total over the course of two days - that would be my generous guess.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ricoh Convergence 2012

Out here in Vegas the Ricoh Convergence conference before heading over the New York this afternoon for the info 360 event. Convergence is Ricoh's annual dealer event and there are more than 600 people in attendance. (Heck, it may turn out to be bigger than info 360 - just kidding, I hope.) The Ricoh event is being held at the Wynn, which is really a sweet location. Full casino, for those who go in for that, and electric curtains in the rooms for us less adventurous types.

Ricoh is an interesting dichotomy in a couple ways. A dual-dichotomy, if you will. First, like many organizations in our market, it is battling with the whole dealer/reseller vs. direct sales channel conflict. Of course, Ricoh's acquisition of IKON in 2008 didn't help things on this front. IKON had a huge national sales force that has now been merged with, after many fits and starts, Ricoh's direct sales force.

At Convergence, Ricoh stated a couple times that the digestion of IKON is now complete so it can re-focus its resources on growing its business. Then, someone from Ricoh indicated the IKON assimilation is "almost" complete, and we heard that there may be more changes in July. Ricoh has already changed its management team pretty extensively since last year's Convergence event.

The current CEO of Ricoh Americas is Martin Brodigan. He's been with Ricoh a long time, most recently serving as COO of Ricoh Americas. He's been in his current position less than two months. Brodigan has been charged with turning around U.S. sales, which last year he said were "unacceptable." Ricoh apparently lost quite a bit of money. In addition to declining paper use (which, at the event, was reported at 10% worldwide and accelerating), which obviously hurts printer sales, Ricoh had supply problems caused by the Japanese tsunami/earthquake, as well flooding in Thailand. Exchange rates also negatively affected the company.

Ricoh's dealers accounted for 32% of units sold in 2011, up from 30% in 2010, which is a good trend for the dealers, but were not sure how good of  a trend that is for the former IKON.

Ricoh's second tricky conflict has to do with its legacy as a copier/printer business and its desire to move more toward professional services. Ricoh seems to have a few visionaries that are at the forefront of leading the company towards a "services-led" business model. However, there is still a ton of inertia-related to hardware sales and print click-charges that these visionaries have to fight. Much more on this in our next premium issue!

Friday, June 08, 2012

MetaSource Hosting AppX Conference

MetaSource, one of two national distributors for EMC's ApplicationXtender product, will be hosting its Second Annual National Partner meeting next week. According to a press release,  "The three-day conference for MetaSource partners and guests who offer EMC’s ApplicationXtender and Captiva Software Solutions will be held at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey, June 10th-12th."

I just thought this was interesting because I just got back from the annual Cranel reseller conference, where EMC ApplicationXtender was also featured. Cranel is AX's other distributor. Even though its been years since EMC has had a major new release of this product, it apparently continues to make improvements, such as this application integration module.

MetaSource is expecting "over 80 attendees from 32 AX/Captiva partners."

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

ReadSoft Lands Large Capture Deal

ReadSoft's acquisition of foxray has started to pay some dividends. Today the Swedish capture and business process automation ISV announced one of the largest deals in the history of its company--worth almost 2 million Euros in an XBOUND capture software sale. XBOUND is the document capture platform that ReadSoft picked up with foxray.The customer is Debeka, which ReadSoft lists as "Germany's largest private health insurance company."

According to a press release, "The first stage of the project will be to migrate Debeka’s old input automation solution processing approximately 76 million pages per year. In the second stage the organization is planning to expand the new input automation solution across all Debeka Group’s classes." We're not sure whose solution ReadSoft is replacing. foxray does already list Debeka as a reference, saying, "For many years, foxray AG has realized various projects with Debeka. The xbound platform is used to automate the processing of housing applications for the building society and has been in active use since January 2008."

Paradatec also counts Debeka as a customer. According to a Paradatec newsletter, Debeka processes 200,000 claims and invoice images per day utilizing Paradatec's data capture. Of course, foxray and Paradatec are partners, so even though ReadSoft has its own invoice and claims capture technology, we don't necessarily see Debeka moving away from Paradatec. (XBOUND is more of a document capture/batch management workflow platform than a data capture application.)

On the document capture side, this is certainly a great win for ReadSoft. Said Bob Fresneda, who was recently promoted to president, ReadSoft North America, "I think with this nice win due to our acquisition of foxray and a couple of nice, normal wins here in our SAP AP space within the US you can see that the ReadSoft business model is working well."