We are actively launching our 4th edition of our Document Composition CCM market study; our bi-annual assessment of the technologies used to generate and manage customer communications. Over that time we’ve seen numerous changes in the market since our first assessment in 2002. Our early taxonomies included multiple tiers, as there was clear and distinct differentiation between the product sets, such as Doc 1 and Lytrod. Many of those distinctions are gone, and the tool sets are increasingly robust, making selection even more difficult for the consumer. We continue to provide project support to assist where we can.
Regarding GMC, we knew CEO René Müeller was looking to make a move, as he is closing in on retirement, even saying as much in his letter to the GMC community. The street scuttle was he had goals to go public, but needed twice the revenue in order for that to be viable.
Based in Appenzell Switzerland, there was a strong national desire to keep it in Europe, so we assumed that few, if any, of the US firms were really in play. A quick assessment of the EU options (back recently from Drupa, continent still in financial disarray), doesn’t overwhelm one with options. Perhaps Oce, before the acquisition by Canon, would have been in the mix (they also have had a long term relationship that ended in 2009-ish), but there aren’t many suitors left, correct? The Landa Nano press folks didn’t mention software in when we spoke with Benny, and the big iron guys are scrambling to figure out how to remain relevant in the digital age.
While we assisted (and recommended) Xerox in their acquisition of XMPie, most of these software acquisitions by larger hardware vendors makes little sense. When we review the game film, the recent transactions, including Group1 & Pitney Bowes, Doc Sciences & EMC, DocuCorp/Skywire & Oracle, Exstream & HP, and even Kodak with Creo (albeit not exactly the same), it’s hard to find the strategic value in those relationships. In almost every case, the acquiring firm struggles to value sell the components together. Its never made sense to us for most of these relationships. Even software buying software, as in the case of Metavante buying CSF, the seemingly large cross & up sell opportunities just didn’t materialize. Sure there is always the poster client that bought the entire suite, but we’d argue those are the exceptions, and not the rule.
We know a little about Neopost, however they lack a large US presence. This may actually be good for GMC, as it won’t alienate most of the current N.A. GMC partnerships or relationships. One thing our history of assessments and these acquisitions do tell us is that firms are never the same. Strategies and goals need to align with the parent company, budgets and R&D are more scrutinized, and go to market protocols are modified. GMC was the last “large” independent firm in the market, however there are others vying to take GMC’s spot. We’ll continue to keep watch.
Good Bye, GMC