ECi Software Acquired by Apax Partners

Jeff Hayes
Aug 15, 2017

Apax Partners LLP announced it has agreed to acquire ECi Software Solutions (Fort Worth, TX) a provider of enterprise resource planning software solutions for small and medium-sized companies in the distribution, field services, building and construction, and manufacturing industries. The sellers are The Carlyle Group, a global asset management and private-equity firm which acquired ECi in March of 2014, and Level Equity. No financial terms were disclosed, but clearly the timing and price were right for the sellers.ECi Logo

Apax is a leading private equity firm headquartered in London and New York that primarily invests in companies across four global sectors of Tech and Telco, Services, Healthcare, and Consumer. The company has investments in 23 companies in the Tech and Telco sector including Exact Software (Delft, The Netherlands), a provider of subscription-based shop management, ERP, accounting, and CRM software for small to mid-size manufacturing companies. Read more »

Do You ChannelCon?

Sheryne Glicksman

CompTIA ChannelCon event was held in Austin,Texas in August. It was an amazing event filled with tons of educational seminars, interactive events, several vendors, great dialogues along with fun things to do like participating in a 5K walk/run and going to an event where we were fitted for cowboy hats. Everything is big in Texas!

ChannelCon’s message of Be the Change was apparent throughout the event. Cool posters were on the wall all over the venue such as the one highlighted that I captured while walking to another session. Discussions around diversity drove home the need for everyone to focus on unconscious bias and prioritize inclusion to help change a rigid culture. I believe one of the most important elements to a successful digital transformation is a collaborative culture with diversity at top of mind. Diversity IT Matters.

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Community forums such as Advancing Women in Technology, Advancing Diversity in Technology and the Technology Lifecycle Services held various meetings throughout the week. Women in Technology had a great discussion on the importance of mentorship including insights on reverse and pacing partner mentoring. Advancing Diversity had a launch party to kick off this new community and we were informed that the old ITSS Community now includes the MPS group and has a new name.

In one of the sessions, it was stated that disruptive trends such as Cloud, Mobility, Big Data, Automation and IOT will result in $2 trillion of IT spend in the future. These trends are creating different expectations from our customers as we change our conversations from product focus to the experience of impact focus. A large corporation we all know stated they are flooding the market with technical resources to help partners craft solutions. Many experts stated that subscription or pay as you go licensing programs will continue to emerge and new companies will be born in the cloud.

Customers will continue to look for partners who understand their business goals and drivers and can help them solve their problems. Sales reps & IT professionals need to move beyond conversations around speeds, feeds, solutions and have dialogues around business outcomes to eliminate the analog mindset. Sales and marketing departments will need to work closer together breaking down silos to drive brand awareness and a better customer experience for everyone.

Did you know that 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years? This led to discussions on data silos inside companies, the importance of data driven decisions and the continued growth we will see with data along with future career opportunities in technical roles associated with data security.

It was noted that three breakthrough accelerators in 2016 were processing power, storage and bandwidth. Did you know processing power is doubling every 2 years and storage is doubling every 12 months? 5G bandwidth is next on the horizon which will provide us 100X faster connectivity, 50X faster data access and 90% less energy used. By 2030, over 100 billion devices will be connected. The number and nature of the devices that are connected to the internet are concerning to businesses with BYOD and Security at top of mind all related to the Internet of Things (IOT).

In closing with the future of technology, it was stated again that customers said they are using technology to drive business outcomes however many of these small to mid-size customers also stated they aren’t as confident yet in their internal IT staff. This gives opportunity for our future leaders in the IT world to help impact change. I would suggest taking the time to review all different types of candidates coming into the IT world today that can help make a difference in your business tomorrow and into the future.

Overall fabulous event. Look for details on next year’s ChannelCon and join me to Do ChannelCon in 2018.

 

 

Kyocera Hits the Accelerate Button with DataBank Acquisition

Jeff Hayes
Aug 4, 2017

Kyocera Hits the Accelerate Button with DataBank Acquisition

Synergies that go “Beyond the Document” 

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KYOCERA announced they have acquired DataBank IMX, a nation-wide provider of distributed capture and business process automation services and enterprise content management (ECM) solutions.  Specific terms of the deal were not disclosed, but although KYOCERA Document Solutions Inc. acquired DataBank, operationally DataBank will report to KYOCERA Document Solutions America, Inc.  This deal is an important move by Kyocera, which typically has focused on organic growth initiatives, and has the potential to create significant new revenue streams and further strengthen their close relationships with independent office equipment dealers.  After meeting with Norihiko Ina, President of KYOCERA Document Solutions Inc., and Chuck Bauer, CEO of DataBank, I had the opportunity of learning first-hand of this latest industry acquisition.

Some Background:  Kyocera’s Total Document Solutions (TDS) Strategy

During their April 18, 2017 Business Technology Conference, the President and CEO of KYOCERA Document Solutions America, Yukio Ikeda, explained that Kyocera’s alliance with DataBank, announced on 9/13/16, was critical to the next phase in their Total Document Solutions (TDS) strategy. Mr. Ikeda described this next phase as TDS 2.0, offering Business Process Improvement, Business Process Outsourcing and IT Services as expanded Kyocera offerings. In his presentation, he went on to explain that all business processes, not just document-related ones could benefit from these additional services.  He announced that within FY18, their North American dealers would be able to “offer business process improvement services through Kyocera and DataBank’s team of BPI specialists.” This acquisition confirms that Kyocera has executed on this approach by fully incorporating the services provided by DataBank – now a wholly owned entity.

Why DataBank?

DataBank claims to be the single largest North American reseller of Hyland OnBase with over 800 ECM installations across the country. The company offers solutions built on a variety of leading document capture, enterprise content management, and business process automation tools.

Kyocera has been focusing on distributed capture and document management solutions for Hyland OnBase and Microsoft Sharepoint customers in document/workflow intensive industries including healthcare, education, and legal. DataBank enables Kyocera to accelerate and deepen its offerings in these areas, as well as provide additional direct sales and professional services capabilities. A quick thumbnail on DataBank:

  • Founded in 1991 with headquarters in King of Prussia, PA
  • Variety of solutions based on Hyland OnBase and Microsoft Sharepoint
  • Extensive professional services for re-designing complex document and data-intensive business processes and implementing and managing automated and outsourced solutions
  • Over 620 employees across 7 Imaging Centers and 6 sales offices in the U.S.
  • Approximately 65% of revenue from healthcare and public services accounts

Other DataBank technology partners include:

  • Hyland OnBase (DataBank is a platinum reseller in North America)
  • Microsoft Sharepoint
  • Anydoc, AvePoint, DocuSign, Hyperfish, K2 Nintex
  • Leading scanner & mailing system vendors

DataBank solutions also connect with a variety of MFPs from other vendors, and Kyocera has indicated that they will not disrupt the support offered to those customers, but will look to shift customers to Kyocera-based devices and solutions wherever possible.  Kyocera also believes they can more tightly integrate their devices with DataBank solutions as part of future product development.

Why Now?

Kyocera clearly sees solutions as integral to their business strategy and has been impressed with the DataBank management team and offerings. The company is focused on offering customers a new level of consultative expertise in simplifying complex workflows, managing mission-critical information, and optimizing business performance.  Kyocera has also been steadily building out their Total Document Solutions portfolio through internal development and industry partners, with nearly 50 software offerings focusing on distributed capture, data extraction, document management, device management, output management, and security.

Kyocera also has the financial resources to make a mid-sized acquisition, and has not been burdened with integrating previous acquisitions like some competing OEMs. The company has outperformed the industry recently with revenue up 104% over the previous year and has reported 8 consecutive years of growth.  With the steady economy, strong balance sheet, and a good partner in a strategic part of the market, Kyocera believes now is the time to make a move. 

Industry Impact

This acquisition doesn’t change the structure of the industry, but clearly indicates that Kyocera is committed for the long term. Keypoint Intelligence believe this move is important because it:

  • Signals Kyocera’s strategic direction further into the solutions business and enterprise accounts
  • Strengthens Kyocera’s position in important vertical markets (healthcare, government, legal)
  • Significantly expands Kyocera’s professional services capabilities
  • Creates a new services revenue stream around business process automation
  • Provides new opportunities (solutions) and capabilities (integration) for Kyocera dealers
  • Has long-term potential for Kyocera to expand within the U.S. and other regions

InfoTrends’ Opinion

Expansion and contraction has become common place in our industry, with Xerox and Lexmark recently divesting its solutions and service entities, and now with this acquisition by Kyocera – clearly vendors are trying to find ways to better serve the expanding needs of their customers for services that go beyond the document.  Acquisition is one way to accomplish this, and this recent course taken by Kyocera and DataBank, which began as a partnership a year ago, may have been a prudent one that could work to their mutual benefit.  During this past year, both companies have had a chance to familiarize themselves with their respective product and solution portfolios, as well as their corporate cultures. It is also likely that their sales channels have had a chance to work closely together, aligning resources and finding ways to combine forces to better serve their customers.  With this acquisition, it is anticipated that Kyocera will be able to continue on the path in offering expanded technologies and services to their customers, and realize phase 2.0 of their Total Document Solutions strategy.

How effective is your MPS program?

Sheryne Glicksman

On a recent webinar, it was stated that 65% of total cost for an MPS program is associated with consumables and supplies. This can be as high as 75% when we consider the A4 conversion going on. Business firms that offer MPS to their customers must continue to focus on this area to improve their MPS programs.

There are many variables that stack up to make an effective MPS program for your customers. One of the variables is associated with shipping consumables. Customers don’t want to stock extra supplies and you don’t want to ship too many supplies, so how we do find the happy medium? First, it’s important for customers to know that they don’t need to replace the toner cartridge the minute it says running low. Are your reps and specialists speaking to customers about your process for shipping toner and why they don’t need to duplicate efforts? Have you invested in dedicated staff to track toner usage and help proactively manage the program? Do you have any kind of system alerts, such as email notifications to customers, before the toner ships? One of the things you can do is make sure your sales reps can easily explain your MPS program to your customers including the importance of managing the supplies.

Another trend we are seeing is the potential growth of inkjet. According to a recent KeyPoint Intelligence study, 2017 was the year that inkjet in the office is expanding. Epson, Canon, HP and Brother continued making investments in business class inkjet and Riso launched the first high speed (120 ppm) inkjet for the office market. How does your MPS program handle inkjet? What are your plans to proactively consider the growth here to incorporate it into your program? How will you track it? As you can see in the chart below, Inkjet serialized segment 3 forecast the highest growth in the next several years.

Business Inkjet vs Laser: 2016 – 2021  North America Placements Forecast

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We’ve heard the term “Everything as a Service” associated with the future of Managed Print Services. Let’s also consider “Print as a Service”. In a recent study, we found that vendors will intensify efforts to increase user loyalty by offering various plans to add service components to supplies. MPS is well-penetrated in large organizations, but it has not had the same success in SMB. OEM’s are looking for the right formula to convert SMB’s from transitional to a contract sale or a subscription type program. Other plans, such as fleet supplies, auto-order or individual device re-order will continue to be analyzed and developed.

Fleet optimization is another variable to look at. Talk to your customers about how you can help them design solutions around their workflow during your quarterly business reviews. Most dealers successful in the MPS world are adjusting or making tweaks along the way that help customer’s control their costs in printing. A simple thing like swapping one device for another one based on volume, removing the costliest devices and shifting pages to workgroup printers are all good examples of fleet optimization and right-sizing of the fleet conversations you should be having on a regular basis.

Are you using tools that can help track page yields per cartridge, volume per machines and end-user printing? By adding advanced behavior modification software, you can help drive down costs of printing by 20% or more. Simply by having tools to indicate where to send print job based on the specific job is one way this type of software can help. It can also eliminate printing and with the savings from not printing, you can help your customers use these dollars in process automation tools for their business workflow.

Currently digital tools like email are most likely replacing print though many other options exist with document collaboration tools and business process automation. Does your firm have a paper reduction policy? If so, what resources and tools are being used? How are you marketing this to help your customers? Are you considering factors such as security in printing?

Paper Reduction Policies in SMB’s and Enterprises

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The dealers who intensify efforts to increase user loyalty by offering various plans to add service components to their supplies, move into subscription programs such as “everything as a service” and offer security services will continue to be on the leading edge of MPS.

The future of MPS is today and beyond.

Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. Announces Acquisition of Muratec America, Inc.

Barbara Richards
Aug 3, 2017

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Muratec has more than forty years in the industry entering the U.S. market in 1982 as Muratec Business Systems to sell fax machines through private-label agreements with multiple U.S. companies. The company changed its name in 1992 to Muratec and realigned to focus sales and distribution exclusively through a national business-to-business dealer channel.  They are typically seen as a strong tier-two player and have a loyal dealer network.

According to Rick Taylor, President and CEO, Konica Minolta Business Solutions, U.S.A., “Historically, we’ve had a mutual and complementary product lineup with Muartec making this acquisition a great platform to create new synergies together.” Taylor further added “The fundamentals of both of these companies align and we both strive to be the best in every region, makes this a perfect fit.” In fact, KM has been supplying Muratec with their A3 MFP engines for some time. The Muratec MFX-Series business-class MFPs are just the latest example of that long standing OEM relationship.

Muratec MFX-Series Business Class MFPs

muratecMFXseries

In addition to their A4 and A3 MFPs, Muratec also sells and services industrial label presses both inkjet and toner based technology. These digital label presses are designed for short run, high-definition digital color labels.

Muratec Precision Label Series (toner-based) Models

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Muratec Digital Label Presses & Packaging Printers (Ink-based) Models

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Read more »

Epson Announces Partnership with Nuance and showcases new products at “Prism of Possibilities” NYC Event

Barbara Richards
Jul 27, 2017

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Epson and Nuance form Strategic Partnership

On July 25th, Nuance Communications, Inc., and Seiko Epson Corporation announced a worldwide strategic partnership to enhance the Epson customer experience by providing Nuance document imaging solutions through Epson distributors and resellers. According to Epson, this new partnership brings together the low running costs, reduced intervention and environmental impact as well as the high reliability of their printers, with the ability to securely control and manage print and capture to enhance productivity, while reducing operating expenses for their customers. 

Under the new partnership, Epson will sell and distribute Nuance eCopy ShareScan and Equitrac Office/Express software on their family of inkjet MFPs including the high-speed WorkForce Enterprise WF-C20590 (launched in Spring 2017)http://client.keypointintelligence.com/bliQ/InfoCenter/Document/Item/52413605-84e7-47cd-9f6a-a5e10fb45b1d and LX -10000/7000 series of linehead technology for SMB and corporate workgroups.

In addition, Epson will also integrate the Nuance Omnipage SDK and Epson scanning applications for better OCR accuracy within document workflows and will bundle Nuance’s Power PDF software with a select line of Epson document scanners.

Nuance Solutions to be made available to Epson include:

Epson products Nuance products Nuance products Nuance products
WorkForce Enterprise/Pro Printers Equitrac Office Express Equitrac Express eCopy ShareScan
Document Scanners OmniPage Capture SDK PowerPDF

New DS-410 Document Scanner

At the event, Epson also announced a new commercial document scanner, the DS-410, complete with a 50-sheet automatic document feeder, duplex scanning and 26ppm/52 ipm scan speeds. It offers support for ISIS and TWAIN drivers for seamless integration into most document management software along with a three year limited warranty. According to Mark Pickard, Senior Product Manager of Scanners, the DS-410 is ideal for environments that require a fast and flexible document scanning solution that provides paper-intensive businesses an affordable solution to save, store and protect critical documents. The DS-410 is available today through select resellers and distributors nationwide at a MSRP of $379.

Figure 1- Epson DS-410 Document Scanner

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In addition to the new scanner and partnership announcement, Epson also showcased products from their commercial and enterprise divisions as well as new wearable technologies that will be available later this year.

 

Read more »

From Chaos to Calm: The Power of Print MIS

Pat McGrew
Jul 20, 2017

Power of Print MIS

If you come from the transaction side of production workflow, you have an array of business systems that control how jobs are accepted for production, when they are released into production, and how reporting is managed for compliance. If you come from the graphic arts side of production workflow, you have the same need to control job onboarding, the touchpoints of a job while it is in process, and to record the relevant information about the job all of the way to the point of billing. In some shops, the process is managed using a Print Management Information System (Print MIS) that integrates all facets of accepting and producing print work using software programs, data capturing tools, and reporting dashboards to ensure that all work is tracked and reported. On the other hand, in many shops some or all of these are activities achieved using sticky notes, whiteboards, projected spreadsheets, and envelopes with job notes carried from desk to desk and machine to machine during production.

If you are in that latter camp, this is a good time to start considering some automation. Many of your competitors are already adding automation to their business software portfolio to allow them to onboard and produce jobs more efficiently. This gives them an advantage at several levels. A good Print MIS program offers insight into the jobs that are onboarded, where each job is in production, what jobs are experiencing delays, job costs, and ultimately a view of the revenue. Most can generate e-tickets for job tracking, and even track waste data. Most importantly, a Print MIS becomes the system of record for all jobs, which means if job specifications change during job execution, the information is entered into the Print MIS and available to all departments immediately.

Read more »

According to Recent InfoTrends SMB U.S. Office Primary Research Study 46% of business content still remains on paper today

Barbara Richards
Jul 18, 2017

According to 216 U.S. SMB IT decision-makers surveyed, 46% of their business content currently remains on paper today. Nonetheless they are moving along the digital transformation path, if at a slower pace than larger Enterprises as they are more worried about the cost of conversion. Our study found that cost was the number one hurdle associated with converting to digital processes. Furthermore, SMBs main cost concerns are training, time constraints, legal requirements and IT resources. In addition, survey results also found that 32% of SMB decision makers indicted a preference for paper for business processes. This was most prevalent in the Manufacturing, Education and Prof. Service’s sectors.

What are the major hurdles to converting paper processes to digital?

Read more »

Bobst and Radex Announce Launch of Mouvent – a New Digital Print Focused Company

James Hanlon

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July 6, 2017 — Bobst and inkjet technology developer Radex, officially announced the launch of Mouvent, a new joint venture company that will become the digital printing competence center and solutions provider of Bobst. Mouvent to be led by the co-founder of Radex, Piero Pierantozzi, will bring to market 3 digital devices this year, two single-pass label machines and one multi-pass textile printer, with two additional textile printers to be announced later this year.

Radex was founded by Piero Pierantozzi, Peter Brandenberger, Marcel Galliker and Walter Urech, all of whom were also the founders of Graph-Tech AG, which was sold to Domino Printing Sciences in 2012. Mouvent, co-founded with Bobst in June 2017, has headquarters in Solothurn and Wetzikon Switzerland with 80 total employees. Mouvent shares are held 50.1% by Bobst with the remainder being heled by Radex shareholders.

Read more »

Three New Videos: One Book Review and Two on CMYK+ Special Effects

Jim Hamilton
Jul 10, 2017

I recently completed three short videos on topics of interest to the print community:

  • “Postcard Marketing in an Online World” by Joy Gendusa – Joy Gendusa is the Founder and CEO of Postcardmania. Her common-sense approach, numerous examples, and years of experience provide a fascinating look at the world of targeted postcard campaigns. Highly recommended, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses. Many thanks to Konica Minolta for providing this book to all attendees of the recent PROKOM user group meeting in Vienna.
  • CMYK+ Effects on a Calendar – This 2017 calendar was printed on a Ricoh Pro C7100 series digital color printer and sports foil effects produced on a Kurz DM Liner. This calendar is a fascinating example of the use of special effects beyond four-color, specifically white toner and metallic foils. Papers used in the calendar come from Favini, Arjo Wiggins, G.F. Smith, and James Cropper. The design work was done by Silk Pearce. The symbol on the front of the calendar box is from a font called FE203 that was designed by Craig Ward. Thanks to Andy Campbell of Ricoh Europe for sending the calendar!
  • Bennett Graphics ‘Senseational’ Sample KitBennett Graphics in Tucker, Georgia sent me this sample kit highlighting digitally-applied spot gloss and foil special effects. The kit was produced on an HP Indigo 10000 and a Scodix Ultra Pro. Each sheet also received a satin aqueous coating that was applied conventionally using an offset press. The resulting designs are stunning. Thanks to David Bennett for sending the kit!

My other videos can be found on the Jim Hamilton YouTube page. I have recorded over 100 print sample videos over the past five years. Other industry-related videos are also there.

2016 InfoTrends, Inc.

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