Nuance Buys Equitrac

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As you probably saw, yesterday, Boston-area recognition specialist Nuance agreed to acquire print management ISV Equitrac. Kind of a cool deal on several fronts. First off, eCopy, which was acquired by Nuance in 2009 has a long-time partnership with Equitrac. The Equitrac Connector for tracking scanning for billing purposes in law firms, has traditionally been the most used of eCopy’s third-party integrations. So, there is a natural connection there.

Robert Weideman, the GM of Nuance Document Imaging, who did most of the talking during the analyst conference discussing the deal, talked about the strength of both companies’ desktop technologies. Of course, Nuance has its PaperPort, PDF, and OCR desktop apps that are either market leader or in the case of PDF, second. I’m not as familiar with Equitrac, but assume they have some sort of desktop print management application. And that’s where it really starts to get interesting.

I came across an IDC report on Equitrac from 2006 and it said something about Equitrac expanding outside of  the cost-billback market and into the area of helping customers realize savings through print management. If that is indeed the case, the puts Equitrac’s technology squarely in emerging managed print services (MPS) space, an area Nuance really wants to play in as well.  

I’ll admit, it’s kind of hard for me to think of the current offerings of Equitrac and Nuance as being a complete MPS offering, but I also had an interesting conversation earlier this week with  Doug Johnson of cloud-based MPS pioneer  Supplies Network. Basically, he brought up that only a relatively small percentage of organizations who say they are offering MPS are really delivering an advanced MPS solution. Most people are just offering pieces of MPS and calling it MPS. From that perspective, Nuance now certainly has two pretty important pieces. 

Michael Rich, president and CEO of Equitrac, who was also on the conference call, said something along the lines of  “Both Equitrac and Nuance have a  very substantial,  large install base of global clients. Those companies are looking for solutions in area of MPS. We have many opportunities to build on that strong base, and we already have a very broad value proposition that covers a lot of what customers want to do.”

I think that makes sense and immediately entrenches Nuance as player in the MPS market.

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