By Louella Fernandes, Quocirca
Nuance Document Imaging (NDI) saw strong bookings growth in FY 13, boosted by global deals and further print management acquisitions of SafeCom and Copitrak. With a mature product range across print management and document capture, can Nuance continue this momentum into 2014 and increase its penetration in these diverse and competitive markets?
Nuance Communications is a company that has largely grown through acquisition (about 50 in the last 10 years), it now encompasses products that include medical transcription, print management, document capture and voice recognition (the technology that powers Samsung’s Galaxy and Galaxy Gear). Nuance’s FY 2013 revenue reached $1.855.3 million, a 12.3% increase compared to FY 2012.
At its analyst event in Miami in December 2013, Nuance discussed its strategic priorities for its document imaging group in 2014, which include integration of its scan and print products and expansion of its channel engagement cross the US and Europe. Nuance’s Document Imaging division (NDI) is better known by its products which include established brands such as PaperPort (desktop productivity), OmniPage (optical character recognition/OCR), Equitrac (print management) and eCopy (document capture and workflow). In 2013, it added SafeCom (print management) and CopiTrak to its imaging product range. Revenue reached $243.4m in FY 2013, with Nuance securing new business with key imaging customers including Adidas, Bank Danamon, Bart’s, Canon, City of Edmonton, Datev, HP, Ikea, Kodak, Nationwide, Ricoh, Steptoe & Johnson and Xerox.
This article focuses on the Nuance range of SMB and enterprise print management products.
Global MPS deals boost growth
Nuance’s Equitrac print management platform has for some time been a key enabler for Managed Print Services (MPS) engagements, with the majority of business won through OEM and reseller partnerships with vendors such as HP, Ricoh and Xerox. By virtue of being vendor agnostic, Nuance’s print management and document capture products can bridge the gap in multivendor MPS deals where it is necessary to manage, monitor and report on usage across a mixed printer and MFP (multifunction peripheral) fleet. As MPS reaches maturity amongst large enterprises, the need to drive further cost-savings and efficiency out of existing implementations becomes the main focus. Many are turning to the advanced capabilities of Nuance’s intelligent print management capabilities, such as Equitrac and SafeCom, to address this need; for example through rules-based printing, secure printing, document workflow automation and comprehensive reporting.
Equitrac remains the shining star of product range
Equitrac, Nuance’s flagship print management product, is a well-established and leading brand in the control and monitoring of print usage and costs across many verticals.
The Equitrac product range has evolved from a primarily departmental print management product to one that supports large deployments that have much wider impact and scope supporting cost reduction, enhanced security and reduced waste through automatically enforcing printing rules, authenticating users and identifying and allocating costs.
Its large global partner network has enabled Nuance to serve major global accounts with its route to market primarily through major printer and copier vendors, which Nuance estimate represent up to 70% of its business. The SafeCom acquisition has also enabled Nuance to broaden its footprint by accessing the HP channel that has traditionally been loyal to SafeCom’s print management products. Together with its eCopy MFP document capture product, Nuance now has a strong presence across almost all major MFP, printer and scanner manufacturers worldwide.
Notable features recently added to the Equitrac product include
• I-Queue (Intelligent Print Queue). This eliminates the need for print servers, reducing network traffic. By creating a single print queue for every print job, I-Queue moves the processing of jobs to the desktop and intelligently deploys the native print driver for the printer selected by the user to securely release their job. Effectively a business can replace all its print servers with one Equitrac server or even deploy a hybrid approach. This capability is particularly appealing to organisations operating large mixed fleets and as part of an MPS engagement can further drive down costs.
• Capture & Send. Through a single interface at the MFP, Capture & Send component provides integrated printing and scanning capabilities. Using Nuance’s OmniPage optical recognition (OCR) technology, Nuance OmniPage, paper documents can be converted to PDF, searchable PDF, Microsoft Office formats and image formats. For instance, users can scan paper documents and store digitised images in common destinations such as – email, fax, network folders and Microsoft SharePoint.
• Mobile Web Release. Enables users to use “Follow-You” printing through a simple workflow displayed on their mobile device to release their jobs and charge them to the appropriate account. Users can locate a printer either from a list, or scan a QR Code associated with the printer to automatically select that device.
• Environmental reporting. Total print activity is tracked, along with the resulting cost savings and environmental benefits, such as the reduced consumption of paper, gallons of water and CO2 emissions. Reports can be filtered by user, department, account and device, and can be run for any defined time period.
Expanded channel focus
Nuance is expanding its global and regional coverage to increase its footprint with OEMs and other channel partners. In Japan its expansion has been initiated by major global print management deployments and MFP vendors expanding local, domestic business. In Europe, a historically strong region for its print management products, Nuance is further expanding its distribution while in the US, it is restructuring its sales coverage model to exploit the growing independent dealer opportunity. Its new NDI Partner Program will be launched in early 2014 and is designed to support independent dealers where multiple brands are supported.
Future challenges and opportunities
Quocirca believes that Nuance Document Imaging has the product breadth, technical resources and channel reach to deliver a scalable set of print management and document capture tools to both SMB and enterprise customers. As it retains separate brands for each of its product lines, Nuance will need to continue to integrate its go-to-market approach. Ultimately it is uniquely positioned to offer an integrated print management and document capture platform that can provide the backbone of broader MPS engagements.
Nuance has a mature and established market position and its prime competition is from the MFP vendors who offer their own print management tools. As a premium brand in the market, Nuance will need to ensure it can maintain its market position as other third party products such as PaperCut and YSoft SafeQ also offer comprehensive print management capabilities, often at a lower cost. The market is also seeing the emergence of cloud-based MFP document workflow offerings from vendors such as HP, Lexmark and Xerox, with Nuance launching its own cloud service a couple years ago.
Nuance should also look to address the largely untapped opportunity for MPS in the SMB market, via its channel partners. With SMBs becoming increasingly receptive to cloud services, Nuance should consider offering a scaled down version of its Equitrac product, via the cloud, which is more cost-effective for SMBs. Given that Nuance relies on channel partners to reach this market, it will need to train and certify its channel, many of whom currently may many of the resources or skills to move to services led approach. Nuance’s new partner programme is a step in the right direction however it may take some time to transition its channel partners to a true solutions-led sales approach.
Overall the future for Nuance Document Imaging in 2014 looks bright. If it can broaden its channel participation as well as expand its engagement in larger MPS contracts, it should be able to push further growth into 2014. MPS will remain pivotal for Nuance’s future business and as more enterprises enter second and third generation MPS contracts it will be critical that Nuance remains engaged in these deals, particularly in mixed fleet engagements where it can differentiate and drive further business value. As such partnerships with printer and copier vendors will remain vital to ensuring Nuance can address each stage of the MPS continuum – from basic services to advanced managed print and document services.