Sepialine Just Bought Technesis and Has Huge Plans for the Future
Q&A with Sepialine CEO Jeremy Evans
Corporate acquisitions are nothing new in technology—especially so in the digital imaging space—and you’d be forgiven for losing track of who’s buying who at any given time. In October, Dell made headlines when it bought EMC for a staggering $67 billion . Aurea Life Sciences bought NextDocs, Lexmark capped a string of acquisitions with a $1 billion purchase of Kofax (and may now itself be for sale), and even we here at BLI looked to strengthen our company by acquiring InfoTrends. And in the continuing consolidation in the print management market (where Nuance Commincations has cobbled together Equitrac, SafeCom, and Copitrak to become the 800-pound gorilla), Sepialine has purchased Technesis to better compete with Nuance and offer customers more value. With every purchase comes both exciting opportunities and challenges. We reached out to Sepialine for some of their thoughts. Here’s what CEO Jeremy Evans had to say.
What inspired the decision to purchase Technesis?
Sepialine and Technesis have a long history of healthy competition. Both companies formed almost 15 years ago to serve the same industry—reprographics and AEC—and have had various competing products over the years. I have always admired the innovation and forward-thinking we see from the team at Technesis. We realized that by collaborating, not competing, we could build better products. Over the years we have independently spent a lot of time solving the same problems relating to wide-format print tracking, authentication and billing. When the opportunity to purchase Technesis came up, we were very enthusiastic about pursuing it.
From the perspective of servicing the customer, what stands to be the biggest challenges in transitioning from Technesis Print Control System (PCS) to Sepialine Argos?
Argos is a subscription-based product, and Technesis PCS is not. So long-time customers of PCS who made a hefty initial purchase and are used to a low yearly service contract price will see a rise in their yearly price. However, we see a huge add in value when moving from PCS to Argos, and so far customers have been receptive to the change. Features like secure release/pull print, onBoard copy/print/scan tracking, and support for a much wider range of devices have helped keep conversations with Technesis converts positive.
The Technesis inside sales team is working closely with our support team to ensure that PCS customers get priority access for upgrade support and technical questions, so the switch from PCS to Argos will be smooth.
Company consolidation is nothing new among software developers. In what ways do deals like this benefit service providers as well as customers?
Technesis has a great product management team and has spent years researching solutions to business problems that affect the industries and partners we serve. By collaborating we are able to work faster, better, and more efficiently to develop great products. Sepialine and Technesis are both small, nimble companies and we are looking at innovative ways to put the Technesis knowledge to work in our organization.
How many (soon to be) former Technesis clients do you expect to convert to Sepialine products? How do you predict this number?
As mentioned above, Technesis PCS was not a subscription-based product, therefore we have two target groups which we need to convert to Argos. First are the Technesis installations that are current on support. These customers clearly still have a business need for print and copy tracking and we are confident we can get the vast majority happily moved over to Argos. Technesis’s strength was in the AEC market, and there is no product on the market that can match the AEC-specific focus of Argos. With extremely tight integration with wide-format devices from Océ, KIP, HP, Canon and Xerox, along with our advanced accounting integration with Deltek products, transitioning to Argos is a no-brainer for current Technesis customers.
The second group are the Technesis installations that are not current on their support. This group is a bit more of an unknown as they may be happily using an unsupported product or they may have stopped using print and copy tracking in their office. Such is the difficulty of perpetual software licenses.
What is your target turnover?
Our goal is to have the majority of supported Technesis customers converted within one year. For unsupported customers, we are currently reaching out to them to determine which customers are still using the product, and which have either stopped tracking expenses or have moved to a different platform. From there we’ll make a plan of how to address their needs.
How do you plan on tracking wide-format page output going forward with this acquisition?
We always strive for the most reliable and flexible tracking options. For this reason, we leverage manufacturer APIs to track print, copy and scan activity when available. For HP Designjet and Canon imagePROGRAF devices, we will continue to track devices using device-based APIs, which allow us to not only see the most accurate “as-printed” tracking information, but also provide ink coverage and print category usage information so print jobs can be billed based on the type of print - monochrome line drawings, color line drawings, low density color, high density color, etc. With LED-based devices from Océ, KIP and Xerox, we also continue to track “as-printed” directly from the device, rather than using print driver information.
While we have a great niche in the wide-format world, it is not our only focus. We take the same “as-printed” mentality to small format MFPs. With our OnBoard embedded solutions for small format, we track copies and scans, but also prints, directly from the device, for the best level of accuracy.
As manufacturers release new devices, we continue to evaluate the best methods to track and bill print activity. For example, we recently announced support for the HP Pagewide XL series. We work closely with the major manufacturers to ensure Sepialine products will meet the needs of their customers and help facilitate a profitable business model for equipment providers. While we primarily will use the same methods already in place in Argos and Printerpoint to achieve this, if we find better technology within the Technesis code base we will definitely take advantage of it.
Be sure to check out our coverage of Sepialine products in Solutions Center.