Category: Document Workflow

Comparting 2017: “Digitalizing Communication! Digitalizing Business Processes!”

David Stabel and Pat McGrew
Nov 17, 2017

Under the motto of “Digitalizing Communication! Digitalizing Business Processes!”, this year’s Comparting conference, held November 9-10 in Germany, was all about how digitalization affects the document and output management for enterprises as well as print service providers. Keypoint Intelligence’s Pat McGrew had the honor to provide the keynote titled: “Let’s Get Digital!” Other presentations also focused around the topic of digital transformation of customer communications. And, of course, Compart’s latest innovation, DocBridge Impress, had a central role at the conference.

Harald Grumser, CEO
Thorsten Meudt, CMO

Compart, who celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, has successfully hosted this annual event since 2005 with the number of participants increasing each year. More than 400 people from 14 countries world-wide attended the conference, representing a 10% increase over last year. The number of participants outside of Germany almost doubled from 25% in 2016 to 40% this year and reflects Compart’s growing international business.

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Print17 – First Take

Pat McGrew
Sep 21, 2017

by Marc Mascara and Pat McGrew

PRINT 17 made timely return to Chicago as multiple hurricanes impacted the southern United States. Roughly 20,000 attendees had the chance to learn from this year’s display of innovation and technology from over 450 exhibitors. The top five vendors remained the same, with only slight changes in booth sizes and rankings, but there was a renewed excitement with more hands-on equipment demonstrations and theatre presentations.

Print 17 Size Table

While PRINT is not a packaging, label, or wide format show, all major vendors were talking about these applications alongside solutions for enterprise and commercial print. It is a big decision to bring hardware to a show, yet a significant number of presses, toner and inkjet, along with finishing solutions were on the show floor.

A focus on print quality resonated throughout the show floor with announcements of new and improved inks, color management and automated calibration systems. Exhibitors such as SCREEN and Xerox are bringing to market ink formulations that enable offset-like quality on standard paper stocks, broadening the debate regarding pre-treatment of paper for InkJet presses. The emergence of inksets and priming solutions for offset stock continues to grow causing end users take note of potential lower costs that give them alternative paths to the print quality their customers demand. While not yet a trend, it will be interesting how ink and priming options play out as a factor in the overall equipment purchasing decision.

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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.

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.

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Interacting with Ricoh Customers!

Pat McGrew
Jun 28, 2017

When vendors decide to host user meetings they have two obligations: provide value for the time spent and help customers build a network. The Ricoh INTERACT meeting in Boulder last week met both requirements. The agenda was the best mix of technical education, market education, motivation, and fun for the attendees.

2017 Interact Template

It is a big request when vendors reach out to customers and ask them to leave their businesses for several days on the promise that they will learn things they can take back and use to grow their business. It requires a delicate balance between presentations and discussions. The INTERACT meeting hit the right balance by including several of their customers as featured presenters.

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Are Millennials All That Different? Not Really.

Christine Dunne
Jun 1, 2017

Companies are eager to learn more about Millennials, or those born roughly between 1981 and 1997 (making them between 20 and 36 years old). As they enter the workforce and move up the corporate ranks, they are increasingly making decisions around what to purchase and how to conduct business.

Here at Keypoint Intelligence, we frequently receive questions from clients interested in how Millennials are behaving differently from their Generation X and Baby Boomer counterparts—particularly from an office printing and document workflow perspective. Perhaps surprisingly, a mounting body of research is showing they are quite similar in their habits.

European primary research as an example
Last year, we conducted a web survey of 250 Western European office workers (125 in Spain; 125 in the United Kingdom). Responses were balanced across four age ranges: 18-29 year olds, 30-39 year olds, 40-49 year olds, and 50+ year olds. Among the 18-29 year olds, the large majority of whom are Millennials, printing levels were similar to (and in some cases greater than) those of older workers. For example, similar percentages of Millennials are printing various document types.

Percent of respondents that print various types of work documents

Percent of respondents that print various types of work documents

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