Kodak's Software Focus

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Kind of ironic that an old photography giant like Kodak should spend so much time talking about focus at its recent Global Directions conference in Las Vegas. But, that’s exactly what the Rochester-based imaging vendor did this week. Subscribers to our newsletter will get full coverage later today, but basically, Kodak spent the conference spotlighting its two new software product, Info Activate for SharePoint capture and Info Insight for IDR, as well as ISV partner solutions in areas like records management and creating taxonomies.

And hardware, well, it was barely mentioned. I think there might have been a session or two on Kodak’s new Asset Management Software for remote scanner management, but that was about it. No, Kodak certainly hasn’t given up on the document scanner market – according to Dolores Kruchten, who is now the president of DI, Kodak still invests more in hardware development than software development. It’s just that like the MFP vendors, Kodak knows there are better margins and growth in software and services going forward than in hardware. After all, Harvey Spencer Associates has projected an 11% CAGR for the capture software market through 2016. We’re not sure when the last time was that the document scanner market saw double digit annual revenue growth.

Of course, many of you already know that this is not Kodak’s first venture into software. Originally, there was the initiative that eventually spawned Kofile- basically a digital microfilm retrieval software package that eventually became a lower-end document management system (not sure I got that description completely right, but I think it’s close). Then, there was the 1997 acquisition of Eastman Software, which DIR once labeled “The $260 Million Mistake,” when the charred remains were sold off in 2001 (although Kodak did ended recouping some, if not all, of that money through a patent deal a few years later).

But Kruchten assured us that this time will be different, and Kodak will succeed because of the focus it is now placing on its software business. That focus was certainly evident at Global Directions. I don’t ever remember Eastman Software getting its own conference, for instance, and it was a $50 million business when it was acquired. DI is also counting on whoever buys it to help it even further increase its investment in its software product lines going forward.

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