ECi Software Solutions Acquires PrintFleet

Steve Pearl
Jan 5, 2018

Consolidation in the document imaging space continues, with ECi Software Solutions adding PrintFleet to its portfolio of business-management tools for office equipment dealers. That makes ECi the purveyor of two of the leading fleet-management platforms that underpin MPS (managed print services) practices. The company acquired FMAudit in 2011 to expand its dealer-focused software portfolio. According to ECi, this latest acquisition represents its commitment to the field service industry by expanding its service offerings and providing a global reach in print and service management. The President of PrintFleet, Chris McFarlane, will continue in his position—as part of ECi’s Field Service Division. Ron Books will maintain his role as ECi’s CEO.

Some background: ECi Software Solutions (Fort Worth, Texas)

For over 30 years, ECi’s approach to enterprise resource planning (ERP) has been vertically oriented—targeting specific industries such as manufacturing, wholesale/retail, construction, and field services. ECi’s portfolio offering for office equipment dealers is quite comprehensive and touches nearly every aspect critical to the running of an office equipment dealer’s business. Some of its most popular offerings include: e-automate (field service and business management), La Crosse (business software management tools), DDMS (cloud based e-commerce), Naverisk (remote monitoring), and Red Falcon (integrated e-commerce.) ECi is privately held and has offices throughout the U.S., Canada, England, the Netherlands, and Australia.

ECi itself was acquired by private equity firm Apax Partners in August of 2017, with the expectation that the company would be making additional acquisitions in this space. The latest news is the first example of this approach. It is worth noting that activity is quite strong in this MSP or Managed Service Provider space, as competitive companies such as Continuum, SolarWinds MSP, Autotask, and Kaseya are also owned by private equity firms.

Some background: PrintFleet (Kingston, Ontario, Canada)

Founded by Brian Cosgrove in 2005, PrintFleet has developed a suite of products centered around data-driven device management and assessment software solutions, with a claimed 3.5 billion managed pages worldwide. Over the years, PrintFleet has expanded its services to include training, business development, and support programs for dealers, distributors, and manufacturers in the imaging industry. Some of the company’s partners include Canon, Dell, Epson, Konica Minolta, Kyocera, HP, Océ, OKI, Ricoh, Samsung, Xerox, and Brother. Key products that will now be under the ECi banner include PrintFleet LINK, PrintFleet Vision, PrintFleet Enterprise, PrintFleet Corporate, and PrintFleet QuickAssess.

According to the latest Managed Print Services forecast by Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends, MPS-related revenue is expected to grow to over $13 billion in North America and over $9 billion in Western Europe, by 2021. The vendor landscape for providers of MPS services includes all the major office-equipment hardware players, including Canon, HP, Kyocera, Konica Minolta, Lexmark, Ricoh, Samsung, Sharp, Toshiba, and Xerox. These companies deliver MPS programs (directly, through their channel partners, or both) that employ tools developed in house or, in some cases, customized platforms sourced from a third party—FMAudit and PrintFleet among them. Other third-party tools include offerings from Print Audit; Netaphor; and several upstart players in Europe and Latin America including Business I.T. Systems Ltd. (BITS), MPS Monitor, NDDigital, and Nubeprint.

Industry impact

With this purchase of PrintFleet, ECi Software Solutions continues in its strategy to double down on the value the company can provide resellers as well as OEMs in this space. ECi has stated that its justification for the purchase of yet another print management company comes from additional services, global reach, and the added coverage PrintFleet provides. Indeed, with this latest acquisition, ECi indicated that it will now have more than 2,200 customers in its field service group—managing nearly 10 million devices worldwide.

From the comprehensive offerings it has, combined with the grassroots data ECi gains from being so close to its customers, we expect to see expanded innovations in capabilities that could help transform and continue to evolve the industry for managed print—ultimately furthering its continued growth.

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