Where does an 800 pound gorilla sit?
Anywhere it wants.
And in the case of Lexmark, it wants to sit in the enterprise software space.
Brian Anderson, Chief Technology Officer for enterprise software at Lexmark, told CMSWire that the combination of Lexmark's hardware business, plus the enterprise content management capabilities gained through its 2010 Perceptive buy, plus the business process management spoils from its recent Kofax acquisition will turn Lexmark into an 800 pound gorilla.
A Growing Portfolio
The Kofax deal won’t officially close until the end of May or early July, so details about the acquisition are still limited.
But Lexmark isn't sitting around waiting for the deal to close. Yesterday it announced a new logo, tagline and branding, meant to represent the evolution of the company and bring its growing portfolio of hardware, software and services under one banner.
While the Perceptive solutions and software -- which had retained the Perceptive name post acquisition -- will not not change, they will now go to market as Lexmark enterprise software. The Perceptive name will be maintained in the product portfolio.
The Kofax addition will contribute significant business process management muscle to Lexmark’s existing portfolio, with Kofax bringing its "First Mile" expertise -- the first interactions between organization and customer -- into the ECM space.
The combination of Perceptive’s capture technology and Kofax’s smart process applications will create one of the broadest and deepest capture portfolios on the market.
Kofax’s financials were a selling point as well. In 2014 Kofax reported revenues of $297 million with over 20,000 customers worldwide, including 80 on the Fortune Global 100 list. It also boasts a presence in all geographies as well as more than 850 channel partners globally.
Paul Rooke, Lexmark chairman and Chief Executive Officer said in a statement that Kofax will be used to build up its industry-specific solutions while at the same time expanding its reach in the midmarket.
A One-Stop Gorilla Shop?
Back to Anderson and his gorilla.
Organizations will be able to buy not only hardware, the foundation of Lexmark's business, but will also be able to connect all their information silos, as well as automating most of their business processes.
So the Kofax deal, along with previous acquisitions, is about offering organizations a way of managing unstructured content and helping organizations use that content in their processes, Anderson told us.
For us though, this really comes down to content and process management. And in terms of trying to manage the end content, we are trying to go deeper in what we can do with it, how we can use it and how we can make it available to our customers to run their businesses," he said.
Isn't this what all vendors promise? Yes, but Lexmark is focusing on a handful of industries with a view to turn itself into the go-to enterprise content management (ECM) provider for those industries. They include government, banking, healthcare, higher education, K-12, manufacturing and retail.
The idea, he added, is to provide a one-stop shop where organizations won’t have to “finagle” their systems into providing them with the solutions to information management problems,
We can make it easier so they [organizations] don’t have to finagle it, or set up different shadow systems, shadow processes different to those that they use to engage the people or processes inside he organization and outside the organization,” he added.
The Kofax acquisition falls squarely into the Lexmark vision that emerged in 2010. This vision had four main focuses:
- Capture: Information capture and the intelligence needed to make it repeatable and reliable
- Content management: This includes the lifecycle, the record and the feature capabilities
- Processes and workflows: Making information accessible in workflows and allowing that information to drive business and business decisions
- Search: The ability to find information wherever it resides in the enterprise, in related as well as unconnected silos -- e.g. email, portals, content management systems and even some of the structured ERP systems
The ultimate goal is to combine all of these through an integrated, common architecture platform. Anderson says that even before the Kofax acquisition, it was able to do this. But with Kofax and its process management capabilities, it will become a lot easier and will set its enterprise software business apart from others working in the same space.
This has been the driving point in a lot of the acquisitions we’ve made and we really excited because we feel like we are pretty close. If we’re not quite the 800lb gorilla in the space, we ready to go and stand on the Empire State building and bang our chests” he said.
Asked about integrating the Kofax technology under the Lexmark umbrella, Anderson said that while it is always a bad idea to underestimate the challenges of bringing new technology into an established portfolio, Lexmark has been lucky to date in that a lot of the acquired technology was designed to work with other systems. But this is not enough:
It’s not enough for us and it’s not enough for the customers in the end. But we can really quickly start to differentiate ourselves because of the semi-openness of some of these systems we have and then really double-down as we invest our time and energy on the R&D side to deliver on the Lexmark vision," he said.
The Kofax acquisition is due to close at the end May or early June. At that point, we should get a better picture of where it will fit in the Lexmark portfolio and if the buy gives Lexmark the edge it needs to enter the ranks of the software gorillas.