Jan 24, 2013
Last week, EFI held its 14th annual Connect users conference, which has evolved to become an important industry event where customers, partners, press and industry analysts from all over the globe meet with EFI executives and are updated on the latest the company has to offer. This year’s exhibitors included Xerox, Kodak, Konica Minolta, Esko, Ricoh, Metrix, and more. Special guest was Benny Landa – an update about what he had to say can be read here.
EFI CEO Guy Gecht kicked off this year’s conference with a keynote built on his theme from last year in which he explained that in changing industries there are only short periods of time in which companies can adjust themselves to new market realties. He explained that if those Windows of Opportunities are missed, it will be incredibly difficult, if not impossible to remain relevant. Gecht also mentioned that after last year’s presentation he received many questions on what the Windows of Opportunities for EFI were.
For EFI, Gecht identified the following windows of opportunities:
- Enabling more on-demand printing
- Enabling productivity in a shrinking but stronger industry
- Enabling moving digital processes to traditional areas
Guy Gecht went on to describe the focus that EFI places on innovation and their continued effort to consolidate the industry and grow the company through mergers and acquisitions. Although the M&A effort has been very aggressive, he assured the audience that EFI is very selective about the companies they acquire and for every acquisition, they pass on 20 or more companies that don’t quite meet their requirements.
Gecht’s keynote aligns with what we’ve seen from EFI over recent years. EFI has evolved from a software player to – for lack of a better description – a “business enablement” provider that helps companies transform their business using a varieties of technologies, and focus on delivering productivity improvements and new growth opportunities. Part of this strategy is a strong inkjet offering that spans wide format, label and industrial inkjet (tile printing). While software remains important for the company, EFI is seeing significant growth in inkjet and the size of the that business is about to overtake the combined Fiery and MIS software revenues.
Despite the growth in EFI’s inkjet business, many of this year’s highlights revolved around software through a combination of recent software announcements and acquisitions. Here is what stood out to us:
- Fiery JobFlow: Late last year, EFI announced Fiery JobFlow, a new workflow automation solution to automate digital short-run print production. It is built on the latest web technologies and leverages the power of Enfocus PitStop. The solution focuses on small to medium sized print shops and is available for a 30 day free trial that can be downloaded here.
- Fiery FS100Pro: FS100Pro, which was announced at Graph Expo last year, will be the latest release of the Fiery RIP. This version is the first to receive a perfect pass rating by VIGC for PDF/X-4 Compliance, and has better support for multi-core processing, leading to significantly faster ripping times. The FS100 PRO is expected to become available in the next few weeks.
- OPS Web-to-print Acquisition: EFI acquired OPS (Online Print Solutions) Web-to-print solutions in October of 2012 for its cross-media capability, a feature often noted as missing from EFI DSF (Digital StoreFront). While both web-to-print solutions currently remain in the EFI portfolio, eventually they will merge.
- Technique MIS Acquisition: EFI also acquired Technique MIS just before the 2012 holidays citing Techniques’ strong customer install base in more than 20 countries and 4 continents. During Connect, Technique appeared on the EFI MIS portfolio graphic as if it was part of the active solution set. However, this will not remain as Technique will eventually join the rest of the retired solutions. Nevertheless, Technique’s CRM component was noted as a key feature which will eventually make its way into the rest of EFI’s MIS/ERP solutions.
- Cretaprint Ceramic Tile Printers: EFI’s Cretaprint solution for custom inkjet tile printing is reportedly seeing good growth in China, Brazil, Egypt and India. The greatest interest is not in the original thought of custom tile order fulfilment, but in the unique patterns and designs that are not able to be produced during traditional tile or ceramic manufacturing processes.
Overall, we can expect EFI to continue to execute on its chosen strategy: expand the Fiery business with stronger workflow offerings, consolidate MIS and Web-to-print, and aggressively venture into the industrial and packaging markets.
EFI Connect appeared to be another successful conference for EFI. With 1,200 attendees, and more than 150 sessions that dive deep into the various tools and numerous solutions and partner solutions on display, EFI Connect is a valuable event for anyone currently using or considering investing in EFI’s solutions and would like to take a much closer look.
EFI Connect 2014 has been announced for January 21-24, 2014 at The Wynn, Las Vegas.
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