Category: Konica Minolta

HP Moves Aggressively into MFP Apps with an Entire Ecosystem

Jamie Bsales
Nov 4, 2019

We’ve been talking for several years about the “appification” of document imaging software: The emergence of MFP-resident apps that use the device’s underlying (and increasingly powerful) embedded software platform to deliver enhanced functionality and, in some instances, eliminate the need for traditional “middleware” workflow solutions. And while HP had its share of on-board tools and connectors developed for it OXP embedded software architecture, it lagged competitors such as Xerox (with is App Gallery) and Konica Minolta (with its bizhub Marketplace, now just called Marketplace) when it came to an app portal where apps reside for resellers and/or customers to download to compatible MFPs.  Which made us wonder: What exactly was HP’s plan for the Printing App Center and Smart UX Center infrastructure HP snagged in its acquisition of Samsung’s printing business? We now have our answer. Late in October, HP officially unveiled a complete ecosystem for the development, deployment, management, and monetization of apps that can run on select HP MFPs. Here’s a quick look at the various pieces and how the puzzle seems to be coming together.

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What genARate Means to the Print Market

Colin McMahon
Dec 14, 2018

Released last month, genARate is a new software tool from Konica Minolta. The platform specifically focuses on applying augmented reality (AR) technology to print products. Although it is not the first tool to encourage AR application creation, or even the first to target the print market (see HP’s Reveal platform), genARate is notable for its ease-of-use and its application focus.

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Konica Minolta Acquires MWA Intelligence

Christine Dunne
Jul 11, 2018

On July 2, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. announced the acquisition of MWA Intelligence (MWA)—a provider of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for the imaging channel. Scottsdale, Arizona-based MWA offers the FORZA ERP solution, which is built on SAP Business One.

The platform provides visibility and control over a variety of business operations, including accounting and finance, sales and customer management, inventory and distribution, purchasing and operations, service and mobility, and reporting and administration. It has an open architecture, and can be customized by dealers for various functions and industries.

MWA employees will join All Covered, Konica Minolta’s IT services division.

Acquisition in context

ERP software helps businesses manage their core business processes, often in real-time and with the goal of operating more efficiently and effectively. The global ERP market is valued at approximately $34 billion; market leaders include companies like SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, and NetSuite.

Of course, the imaging channel represents just a fraction of this opportunity. Within the United States, for instance, about 2,200 office equipment dealerships are in operation—including about 600 with branch locations.

These dealers often use ERPs like Compass Sherpa and E-Automate, or internal systems, to manage their business. Considering that declining profit margins are considered a top threat to indirect office equipment vendors (dealers and resellers included) in both the United States and Western Europe, it is clear that an ERP can provide valuable insight into opportunities for operational improvement.

What are the three biggest threats to your business based on shifts in the industry?

Source: Office Channels Survey (Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends, 2017) Read more »

The Smart Workplace, According to Konica Minolta

Deborah Hawkins
May 24, 2018

The traditional work environment is fundamentally transforming, and visions of the future Smart Workplace are emerging. Through the combination of the Internet, mobility, cloud, sensors, and the Internet of things, work can get done virtually anywhere people can communicate, collaborate, and transact.

To better segment and organize the “Smart Workplace,” Keypoint Intelligence has created a taxonomy of services related to our industry. This taxonomy helps define and categorize disparate technologies and services into a more concrete and comprehensive view of the Smart Workplace solutions and services. Read more »

Making Efficient Workflows: 2018 Solimar User Conference

Pat McGrew
May 13, 2018

San Diego is known for being a hub of invention, from inkjet development to dynamic software solutions. Solimar Systems is embedded in that innovation hub, with 27 years of providing solutions to companies with workflow challenges. Their 2018 User Conference in San Diego (May 8-10) brought together their top users to share their solutions, learn about new features and provide feedback to the Solimar technical team. I am a huge fan of user conferences for the networking opportunities they bring for both the solutions staff and the customers. Face to face is always the best way to gain trust among users and for users to develop all-important relationships.

This year’s event began with a Customer Advisory Council meeting that included a Keypoint Intelligence Keynote: Like Childred, Your Workflow Needs Attention! The council consists of 23 Solimar users who meet on a regular cadence to provide guidance. The goal of the keynote was to talk through the power of workflow automation in driving efficiency and profitability. We are advocates of workflow assessments, as are the team at Solimar Systems, so the presentation walked through a ten step review of workflow processes, with supporting data from the latest Keypoint Intelligence North American Software Investment Survey.

The most interesting takeaways from the Customer Advisory meetings was the diversity of issues faced by Print Service providers of all sizes, and the variety of approaches they take to move toward efficiency. We heard from companies that approach workflow with multiple solutions and some that approach with a single-threaded workflow approach, all using the Solimar products to add efficiency to their production processing.

The Solimar User Group encompasses the Advisory Council and an extended group of Solimar Users. The event included presentations from partners, including Konica Minolta, SCREEN, Ironsides Technology, Reality BLU, BCC Software, and RISO. Customer panels included deep dives into Operational Efficiencies, Differentiated Services, Compliance and Security, and Customer Experience, allowing customers to share their best practices.

Two keynotes touched on tangential workflow issues. The first was the Keypoint Intelligence presentation by Pat McGrew: The Workflow Revolution: Are You On Board? The goal was to provide guidance on how to approach workflow as a moonshot, moving toward the best level of optimization possible. The theme was that operational excellence requires an executive commitment and an open mind to allow change. The goal is Smart Print Manufacturing that embraces automation.

The second keynote came from Tim Cooper, Chief Enterprise Architect at Harland Clarke. If you have not heard a Tim Cooper presentation you have missed something special. Tim has decades of experience in workflows and is a deep thinker when it comes to optimization and breaking down barriers. His presentation was A Discussion on Workflow Facts that Can Lead to Wrong Conclusions. He walked through how looking at data in a vacuum can lead to the wrong architecture and implode operational efficiencies.

Tim shared how he arrived at his philosophy of workflow, and how using the Solimar solutions he was able to wrangle multiple, disparate workflows in to a single workflow, and reduce processing time from more than 3000 hours to under a couple of days. That drew gasps from PSPs in the room struggling with the same challenges.

The true value of user group meetings comes from the networking and sharing, as well as guidance that analysts can supply to provide guidance for decisions about the next investments and architecture changes need to be made. The Solimar team did an excellent job of tuning the mix of technical sessions focused on products and solutions with partner presentations and announcements, and customer panels.

DirectMail2.0 Launches Their Inaugural Market-Edge Event

Pat Nolan
Nov 6, 2017

Market-Edge 2017: Direct Mail, Digital, and Beyond

From October 26th to October 27th of this year, DirectMail2.0 hosted their inaugural Market-Edge conference at Wyndham Grand Clearwater in Clearwater Beach, Florida. Sponsors included Pitney Bowes, Konica Minolta, AccurioJet, Alesco Data, and Enthusem. Discussing Market-Edge with DirectMail2.0’s Marketing Coordinator, Iris Shalev, I was able to shed some light on why they wanted to put on a conference and what they hoped that their business and attendees would take away from it.

The purpose of the event, she said, was to act as a hub for direct mail marketers and printers that is more personal than a trade show and to provide a face-to-face networking opportunity for attendees outside of the usual competitive context. DirectMail2.0 wanted to strengthen this community with Market-Edge, and bring stakeholders with different expertise together to learn from each other for a 360-degree experience, Shalev continued.

In his opening remarks, DirectMail2.0 CEO Brad Kugler also touched on his company’s intended outcome of the event. They wanted to host an open forum for printers and direct mail marketers to come together and solve their common problems. What is the root of those problems? The answer is represented both by what DirectMail2.0 does as a business – they are an integration platform that offers online services to printers and direct mail marketers – and by the theme of Market-Edge: to bridge the gap between offline and online, to bring print into the digital world.

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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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Konica Minolta Diversifying their Portfolio

Allison Correia
Mar 13, 2015

At Konica Minolta’s Art of Disruption Dealer meeting last month in Los Angeles, California, they discussed what they believe are the industry’s biggest trends, how Konica Minolta plans to transform their business through these evolutions, and what their dealers should do to evolve with them to continue to be successful. A core message at the conference was that of diversification through new technologies to “disrupt” the industry. Read more »

Konica Minolta Acquires Copytronics Information Systems

David Ramos
Jun 5, 2014

Will report to 2013 acquisition CopySource President and Chief Sales Officer Tim Marshall, demonstrates continued focus to strategic investments.

In June of 1972, Paul Shields moved his family to Jacksonville, Florida. With $1,500 to invest, a fresh contract for a copier dealership in his pocket that still had a signature with wet ink from his pen, Paul created Copytronics, Incorporated. With one employee and through hard work, dedication and a lot of late nights, he managed to sell $150K in sales revenue during the first year. After you factor the rate of inflation, that $150K would be roughly the equivalent to $838K in revenue in 2013 US Dollar value. That is some impressive productivity! 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

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