Nuance on Dealer Solutions & New Initiatives13 Jul, 2011 By: Editorial Staff imageSource
Nuance on Dealer Solutions & New Initiatives
Recently, Nuance Communications, Inc. acquired Equitrac Corporation. The acquisition expands Nuance’s document imaging portfolio by adding Equitrac’s market-leading print management products. Chris Strammiello, vice president, marketing & product strategy at Nuance, spoke with imageSource to help the dealer community learn more about this important initiative, as well as how he sees the channel trending today.
imageSource (IS): Document scanning and print management are solutions that have strong, singular market positions. Where do you see the synergy in bringing a combined solution to the dealer channel?
Chris (CS): Both scanning and print management are critical technologies in emerging Managed Print Services (MPS) engagements. Bringing them together enables the dealer community to achieve greater differentiation in customer engagements than ever before. It does this by creating a broader platform for innovation both today and in the future by providing integrated, cross-platform document solutions that deliver on the promise cost reductions.
Also, it can be difficult for dealers to manage a large ecosystem of vendors. Being able to access scanning and print management from a single vendor can help dealers consolidate partners and reduce their managerial effort. That can make life easier for the dealer community.
IS: What added value do you see document scanning and print management contributing to Managed Print Services Offerings?
CS: Managed Print Services is a quest to drive costs out of a customer’s business while at the same time, add new revenue streams for your business as a dealer. That’s a challenge which gets more difficult over time. It is easy in the early days to drive down toner and paper volumes.
But over time, the way you differentiate yourself in MPS is by creating more efficient workflows so customers don’t print as much and eliminating wasteful printing for those flows that end up in paper processes. Document capture and print management are the bookends to a solid solution that’s ultimately the core of a successful MPS engagement - and a way for you to differentiate yourself as a dealer. If MPS stays only about hardware then it is on the way to being a commodity offering.
IS: Managed Print Services typically requires dealers to work in a diverse multifunction printer (MFP) environment. What should dealers look for in software solutions for MPS?
CS: A mixed fleet of multifunction printers (MFPs) is the way of the world in many cases today. MPS needs to handle any fleet your customer has and you need to expect that fleet won’t be turned over as quickly as it once was. So dealers need to look for software that works well in mixed fleet environments. This type of software architecture is critical when you will not be able to go into a customer’s environment and put in all new uniform hardware.
Increasingly, software will be the fabric that weaves together heterogeneous devices. Software helps dealers deliver workflows and user ‘look and feel’ that are the same no matter what MFP fleet is in place. And that makes it easier for customers to scan and manage printing – which boosts adoption rates, costs savings, and the overall ‘stickiness’ of the solution.
IS: Nuance recently made a major move with its acquisition of Equitrac. How will this move impact the marketplace?
CS: Combining the best of breed in both document scanning and print management will bring more cost savings to end-user customers than ever before. While we view everything through a partner/dealer community lens, it should not be lost that the customer is the center of all our universes. Customers can expect even stronger returns on their investment because Nuance will apply the great breadth of our technology to our imaging products. We will leverage our significant presence in mobile, healthcare and embedded technologies to accelerate innovation. The new combined entity will help organizations further drive down costs – and that’s what dealers want to provide as trusted advisors to their customers.
Our ability to facilitate the dealer channel and apply deep resources is what motivates our actions. Dealers can expect we will continue to provide the marketing programs, professional services, and broadest set of employees dedicated to their business – to help them be successful in the market.
IS: What are the key steps in managing a big acquisition with the dealer channel?
CS: For any company making an acquisition, there are a number of work integrations that need to happen. But from a dealer perspective, we want to make this combination as seamless as possible.We want to keep the products and brands the same. We want dealers to be able to order products in the exact same manner they do today. A successful acquisition means there is minimum interruption in the dealer community’s business and they are allowed to operate business as usual.
While new products and promotions will certainly be brought to market, dealers should feel the same support that they have always had.
Additionally, we see acquisitions as another way for us to create more value for dealers and provide a more consolidated, integrated offering for them to present to customers. We are heartened when we hear from our dealer partners that an acquisition is as much a win for them as it is for us. In fact, on our Equitrac news, we had one dealer tell us it was ‘like having your two best friends get married to each other.’
IS: What’s the opportunity for dealers in connecting scanning and print management with other business applications in the enterprise?
CS: Dealers need to feel confident that whatever environment they are entering, they have the product portfolio that fits seamlessly inside the environment. These environments include vertical applications, back-end systems and any brand of MFP hardware. The ability to connect scanning and print management into each customer’s unique situation expands business opportunities. There are also great opportunities for dealers to deliver advanced imaging functions, such as scan and redact, and forms processing, bringing production capabilities to MFPs.
IS: Can you provide some examples of how these combined solutions work in vertical markets and what this means for the channel?
CS: We are hearing from the dealer community that they are looking to go deeper into vertical markets. The markets we hear most often about are legal, healthcare, financial services, education and government. Software providers should bring an expertise and heritage that dealers can tap. For instance, Nuance brings unique perspectives to healthcare with our deep connections with large hospitals. Also, broad software portfolios can deliver multi-product offerings for specific markets, increasing business opportunities. An example is print management and PDF software; both garner widespread interest in the legal market. Another is capabilities like document markup and redaction, which are of interest to financial and government organizations.
Chris Strammiello, VP, Marketing & Product Strategy of Nuance Communications, directs the worldwide Marketing & Product organizations for the Nuance Imaging Solutions Business Unit, which has transformed from a desktop software focus to a complete product portfolio of desktop, enterprise and OEM offerings. Full information at www.nuance.com.… the dealer community is looking to go deeper into vertical markets.