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 »

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” 

 kyo logo
databank logo

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.

HP Inc. – Positioned for Growth

Jeff Hayes
 Jun 19, 2017

HP Inc. held its Power of Print analyst briefing on June 15th at its headquarters in Palo Alto, CA to update the printing industry on its strategy and key initiatives. While there was essentially no new news, what was clear is that HP is building momentum as a leaner and more focused company nearly a year after its separation. Read more »

HP Announces 3D Printer Reseller Program

Jeff Hayes
 May 9, 2017

HP made several announcements related to its 3D printing business at the Rapid + TCT 2017 show being held this week in Pittsburgh.

  • New HP 3D Printing reseller program with over 30 partners
  • Multi Jet Fusion installations at leading service bureaus
  • 3D Printing Reference & Experience Centers in the U.S. and Europe
  • Henkel to join the HP Open Materials Platform

HP_LOGO_CMYK_Large

HP 3D Printer Reseller Program

The most significant news is that HP is rolling out a new 3D printing reseller program. HP traditionally has sold most of its products through distribution, and it should come as no surprise that it plans to develop a global reseller network for its Multi Jet Fusion products. HP will be selling through a two-tier model of distributors and resellers in North America and Europe with some direct sales to very large customers with “transformative” projects.

HP is working with several of its key distributors for office equipment to carry the Multi Jet Fusion product line and related supplies and parts.

  • Synnex, based in Freemont, CA, is a $14B distributor that sells 30,000 technology products (active SKUs) to more than 20,000 resellers, system integrators, and retailers throughout the United States, Canada and Japan. HP is Synnex’s largest supplier. Synnex also carries 3D Systems printers.
  • Westcoast, based in Reading, UK, is a privately held IT distributor with turnover in excess of £1.6B and over 1,000 employees across multiple sites in the UK and Europe. The company primarily carries IT gear, printers, and supplies (ink, toner). While HP is one of Westcoast’s largest suppliers, the company also carries 3D printers from MakerBot.
  • Also International, based in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, specializes in distributing OEM toner and ink cartridges to resellers, office supplies dealers, and retailers. The company claims to be the largest distributor of OEM supplies in Europe.

HP announced 32 authorized resellers across North America and Europe. Most of the resellers are VARs that are deeply focused on the engineering and manufacturing industries. The companies often carry other 3D printer lines (3D Systems and Markforged are most common), CAD and PLM software, and other specialty products and accessories. A few of the companies have an office equipment dealer heritage and have expanded into graphics and 3D printing applications. HP indicated that over 80% of the companies are entirely new to HP.

HP has been focusing on resellers that have service and support capabilities (a requirement) as well as market expertise, existing customers, and physical locations in target geographic areas. HP noted that unlike its open office printer reseller program, the 3D printer program is a “closed model” where resellers serve the installed base they create in terms of equipment, service, parts, and fusing agent.

HP Multi Jet Fusion Service Bureau Customers

Service bureaus provide a critical role in the evolving 3D printing industry as early adopters of technology with innovative business models. HP announced they have placed units with nine specialty service bureaus and large platform players including:

  • Forecast 3D
  • Proto Labs
  • SigmaDesign
  • Fast Radius
  • Go Proto
  • shapeways
  • ProtoCAM
  • Materialise
  • 3D Prod

HP Multi Jet Fusion Reference and Experience Centers

HP announced 11 locations in the U.S. and five locations in Europe where customers and prospects can see the HP Multi Jet Fusion devices in operation and test new 3D printing use-cases before purchasing equipment. These centers are primarily at HP reseller or service bureau locations.

Henkel Joins HP Open Materials Platform

Henkel Adhesive Technologies has joined the HP Open Materials and Applications Platform and will work with HP’s 3D materials lab in Corvallis, OR to develop customized, industry-specific solutions for HP Multi Jet Fusion customers. Henkel joins Arkema, BASF, Evonik, and Lehmann & Voss, to support HP’s platform for 3D printing materials and applications. Henkel has deep expertise in polyamide synthesis and formulation (the primary material used in HP 3D printers), and will be working to develop unique products that take advantage of the Multi Jet Fusion printing process.

Building Momentum

2017 is shaping up to be a critical year for HP and its 3D printer business. The company is actively shipping the Multi Fusion Jet 4200 and 3200 models in all major regions, has rolled out its reseller program in North America and Europe, has added some high profile corporate and service provider accounts, and has expanded its materials partner program.

While HP has extensive experience with the IT, office printer, and graphics reseller communities, it will take time for HP to build its 3D printer reseller base and deeply understand how to manage and drive this channel in terms of territories, market focus, selling model, sales training, promotional support, financing, field service, and other factors. The next key marker of progress will be HP’s rate of product placements and usage volumes over the next six to 12 months.

Canon Solutions America … Execution and Growth

Jeff Hayes
 Feb 25, 2016

CSA LogoCanon Solutions America (CSA) hosted about 50 industry analysts in Boca Raton, Florida this week to celebrate the third anniversary of the company’s formation, as well as to discuss their progress and direction. The company demonstrated increasing momentum in the critical areas of:

  • Enterprise solutions and services
  • High-speed production inkjet printing
  • Large format graphics and technical printing

Based on presentations, product demonstrations, and access to the Canon Solutions America management team it is evident that CSA has a robust product line, is tightly coordinated across business units and geographies, and is supported by highly data-driven field operations.

Toyo Kuwamura, President and CEO of Canon Solutions America, citing 2% revenue growth in 2014 and 2015 (and even better profits), stated “we are in very good shape now”. Mr. Kuwamura revealed that CSA’s 3-year plan calls for 3% revenue growth in 2016, 5% in 2017, and 6% in 2018 with a goal of being 20% larger in revenue and profits by 2018. CSA’s recent growth rates stand in sharp contrast to other large competitors that have been experiencing revenue declines in the mid to high-single digit range.

Toyo Kuwamura - CSA

Much of CSA’s success can be attributed to solid execution across all aspects of the operation, including product development, solutions selling, field service, and customer engagement.

Read more »

Xerox Pushes the Reset Button

Jeff Hayes
 Jan 29, 2016

Making a big transformative acquisition is kind of like going to war – it’s expensive and risky and doesn’t always work out like the planners envisioned. CEO Ursula Burns announced that Xerox is retreating from its strategy to transform into a single growth-oriented, business process outsourcing (BPO) and technology company. Xerox LogoXerox intends to create two separate public companies – one focused on BPO and the other focused on Document Technology and Outsourcing – effectively undoing its $6.4B acquisition in 2010 of Affiliated Computer Services (ACS).

Much of Xerox’s vaunted technology never really gave ACS a big cost or innovation advantage over other BPO companies, and ACS never seemed to get much lift from accessing the Xerox customer base, especially outside the US.

Meanwhile the Document Technology business always seemed to get the short end of the stick. R&D budgets were cut, the growing managed print services business was moved over to the Services side of the house (at least for financial reporting purposes), and much of its cash flow was used to fund share repurchases, debt payment, and add-on acquisitions for the Services business. Xerox R&D Spending Read more »

InfoTrends … The Next Chapter

Jeff Hayes
 Oct 13, 2015

As co-founder of InfoTrends and President of the company for the last seven years, I am very excited to let you know that Buyers Lab, LLC has acquired InfoTrends. Both companies have a long history of serving the document technology industry and share many of the same cultural traits around exceptional customer service, deep subject matter expertise, and commitment to providing high quality research, advice, and tools to our clients.

Read more »

HP Re-Shapes its Future with 3D Printing and Immersive Computing

Jeff Hayes
 Oct 29, 2014

Dion Weisler, EVP Printing & Personal Systems, HP

HP executive vice president Dion Weisler was on stage today for one of his biggest events: the introduction of two new products from HP’s Printing & Personal Systems group (soon to be HP, Inc.). In a live event in New York City that was webcast globally, Weisler and his team introduced two intriguing products designed to help customers unite the physical and digital worlds in a “Blended Reality” supported by HP technologies.

The first products to come out are Multi Jet Fusion, a 3D printer, and Sprout, an immersive computing platform.

Multi Jet Fusion 3D Printer

Steve Nigro, senior vice president of HP’s Inkjet and Graphics businesses, unveiled publicly for the first time HP’s production 3D printer, a product that he said will “trigger the next industrial revolution” through ground-breaking speed, quality, and cost. While being limited on technical details, Nigro stated that HP has taken some of its 2D print assets and applied them in a new way to achieve speeds that are 10 times faster than any other technology on Read more »

xpedx + Unisource – Will Bigger Be Better?

Jeff Hayes
 Jan 31, 2014

International Paper (IP) and Unisource Worldwide (UWW) Holdings have announced a definitive agreement to merge their distribution businesses and form a newly created, publicly traded company that will be the largest paper distributor in North America.

This is a big deal. Two of the largest distributors of paper, board, and related supplies for the commercial printing and packaging industries are merging. It would be like Sysco and US Foods, UPS and Fedex, or Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks merging — OK, maybe not that big, but you get the idea.

The new xpedx/Unisource (unipedx? I hope not.) will have an unparalleled combination of product assortment, availability, logistics services, operational efficiencies, and, potentially, pricing power in the market. According to IP, the combined xpedx and Unisource business will have projected annual revenue in the range of $9 billion to $10 billion, and will have about 9,500 employees across more than 170 distribution centers in North America.

xpedx (blue) and Unisource (red) North American Locations

InfoTrends graphic from xpedx and Unisource data

Read more »

International Paper Closes Another Mill…Wake-Up Call for the Office and Commercial Printing Industry

Jeff Hayes
 Sep 16, 2013

International Paper announced it will permanently close its massive Courtland, Alabama mill by the end of the first quarter of 2014. This is a huge decision for IP and speaks very loudly about the long-term demand for printing and communications paper. Printer and copier manufacturers, inkjet and toner vendors, office products and supplies resellers, and print service providers need to take notice.

International Paper Courtland Alabama Mill

Source: Decatur Daily

Read more »

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