Xerox may soon own ACS. A great move if you ask me - for tactical and strategic reasons. XGS -the services arm - has been making some "toe in the water" moves over the last few years towards BPO in markets such as E-Discovery, Mortgage Processing, and growing organically core processes such as invoice processing and customer on boarding. These made sense in the quest for higher value conversations with customers but did not have the juice to really transform the company into a services-led player of the 21st century or position the company to expand into cloud and SaaS offerings. This deal has the power to do just that -adding solutions, project and change management skills as well as a mature labor arbitrage infrastructure.
Pitney Bowes announced it is launching a new production color printing system for high volume transactional mailers. Called the Pitney Bowes® IntelliJet™, it is based on a strategic alliance with HP and will use their color inkjet printing system to produce transactional statements. Under the Mailstream Solutions Management division, Pitney will now have a more complete document processing solution that can balance and support integrated in-bound and outbound communication. Prior to this, on the output side, Pitney was limited to on-premise output management software that provides authoring and workflow solutions to control and manage production. This alliance –to be hosted in Pitney Facilities – adds the hardware and finishing component. Tighterin-bound and outbound communication, and use of high-speed color print is an inevitable trend for transactional customer communications for the direct channel, and this is a step forward for Pitney.
Kofax announced yesterday the acquisition of 170 Systems. Why did Kofax do this? Well, good acquisitions have a mixture of tactical and strategic complements — and this one is long on both. With over 800 invoice processing customer using Kofax for front-end capture they now can add invoice workflow — exception management and payment for full invoice processing solutions. Add in the purchase of a Swedish EIPP provider 18 months ago and this indeed covers all bases. The 170 Systems customer base alone is a gold mine: 40% have no automated capture. There’s plenty here to give ReadSoft a run for their money.
But, really this acquisition is about moving up the value chain. Customers are looking for more complete solutions, and this deal underscores the trend by the larger capture, imaging, and ECM companies to move further into the business process applications markets.
In addition, Kofax gains better visibility into the economic buyer, and picks up a solutions-oriented sales force and the platform to grow their top resellers into top-notch integrators of supply chain and ERP financial deals, not to mention 170’s existing partners.
Also, they are primed to go into to other un-tamed processes, such as sales order processing and contract management. All in all, it’s thumbs up for this bold move by a company that has historically been timid about venturing from its paper roots.
I just finished a Webinar on Medical Information Management sponsored by Kofax, a process automation firm whose core expertise is paper capture and elimination. It is available on their site www.kofax.com. We are entering an interesting period here, and may experience a tech bubble in medical or at least a somewhat less desperate Y2K experience. Clearly there is energy and investment around medical information management that increases each month, and that has not been seen in a quite a while. Concepts like “results-based medicine” that will open up a new market for analytics in medicine — see my colleague Boris Evelson’s open letter for Information Week.