Nov 9, 2012
On Tuesday October 30th, Pitney Bowes (PB) invited a select group of European industry analysts to attend its first ever European Analyst day; held at the five star Jumeirah Carlton Tower hotel in Knightsbridge, central London. The day provided an excellent opportunity to get an update on where Pitney Bowes is going, see demonstrations of the latest software, and to have in-depth one-to-one discussions with PB executives.
Ian Davidson, president of the Global Mailing Solutions (GMS) group kicked off the day with an overall presentation outlining PB’s strengths across the various PB divisions and how Customer Communication Management (CCM) is the unifying theme connecting all parts of the business.
During the day, presentations were given by:
- Bernie Gracy — Vice President of Business Development. Gracy stressed the capabilities that PB has in data analytics and how innovative companies like Facebook leverage PB technology for location-based data analytics. Gracy also talked about how their digital mailbox offering, Volly, is expanding internationally.
- David Newberry — Chief Marketing Officer of PB Software (PBS) talked about the capabilities PB Software group has in customer experience management, data analytics and location-based intelligence to meet clients’ evolving CCM needs.
- Dr. Christoph Stehmann — President of Document Messaging Technologies (DMT) talked about the trends in the print & mail markets — while overall mail volumes are in decline, PB is making inroads with their “white-paper factory” digital colour IntelliJet solution,Â complemented by PB’s solutions strategy helping service bureaus solve complex production requirements.
- Matt Harding — International Business Development Director, Volly. Harding explained the digital mailbox concept and talked about PB’s strategy in Europe. A liberalised postal market, as well as differences in legislation and competitive landscape between countries make a uniform approach difficult. The UK is PB’s prime market for Volly’s European debut, however, Harding was not in a position to provide an indication on when he expects Volly to go live.
- Richard Thompson — VP Sales and Marketing International of Pitney Bowes Managed Services (PBMS) explained how PB is a leading Document Process Outsourcing company that takes over document and statement printing as well asmailing for large international clients, typically active in the B2C space with strong consumer retention needs.
- Ian Davidson — President of GMS talked about how PB is developing innovative services around mail meters and is deploying new technology such as PB SmartEssentials to help small & medium sized business become more effective in their marketing.
After lunch, PB demonstrated a number of recent software solutions, including PB SmartMobile, a mock-up version of Volly, and Portrait Software. Especially the Portrait Explorer product deserves to be called out. Using a nice graphical user-interface, it presents data from a database in “customer cards”, which can then be visually explored for further analysis. This allows non-technical users to intuitively perform advanced data analytics.
Pitney Bowes as a company is heavily diversifying as their traditional core markets in print and mail are under pressure. Over the years, they have acquired and built an impressive range of solutions to help businesses — whether large or small — transform their communication strategies and embark on the digital communication journey.
While the diversifying strategy is undoubtedly the right thing to do, it is not an easy task considering the size of the company ($5.2 billion; 29,000 employees) and the speed at which the communication landscape is changing. The current economic conditions are also not helpful; the last two quarters even saw the group’s growth engine, PB Software, post declines in revenues.
The most pressing challenge for PB is to re-align the organisation in a way that maximises synergies between the groups. To help realise this goal, PB is changing the way it develops software and will be taking an integrated software approach across all groups, based on practices such as Lean Startups and Agile Software Development. This should enable PB to leverage products and expertise across the company (e.g. adding data analytics capabilities to Volly) and get to market faster with more relevant products.
InfoTrends’ clients can read a recent analysis on Pitney Bowes from Jeff Hayes, Jim Hamilton and Matt Swain after the U.S. version of the analyst day. Alternatively, it can be purchased through InfoTrends’ Report Store.
Other relevant InfoTrends research in this area includes:
- Capturing the European SMB Marketing Automation Study
- Customer Communication Management — Overcoming Implementation Challenges in Enterprises
- Service Expansion Opportunities for Document Outsourcing
- The Future of Multi-channel Transactional Communications
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