By Andy Slawetsky – On August 2, 2017, Kyocera announced they acquired their ECM partner DataBank. The purchase of DataBank firmly places Kyocera into the ECM market and gives them instant credibility as they bring Hyland OnBase’s “#1 reseller” into their portfolio. I was fortunate to be one of two analysts to sit down for an exclusive interview with KYOCERA Document Solutions Inc president Nori Ina and KYOCERA Document Solutions America president & CEO Yukio Ikeda. Mr. Ina had flown from Japan for this announcement and to address his team, who at the time of our meeting, still did not know about the move.
Kyocera has been working with DataBank for about a year now, officially announcing their partnership about nine months ago. While at first, the partnership was made available to Kyocera’s direct offices, they rolled the program out to dealers at their show in April. DataBank is headquartered in King of Prussia PA and they have seven image processing centers, as well as several sales and service offices spread across the US with over 600 employees who are now joining the Kyocera family.
Mr. Ina told us they are “very pleased and proud to work with DataBank,” and executives likened the move to taking “dating” to “marriage”. Clearly, Kyocera likes what they see behind the scenes and wants to take their integration to a higher level, building powerful ECM services portfolio and connectors into the Kyocera product line..
DataBank is very strong, particularly in Healthcare. As Hyland’s #1 reseller, the move provides Kyocera with everything from support to hotline to image processing facilities. Two major areas of focus for DataBank are Capture as a Service and Distributed Capture. “We have a way to get people their stuff just about any way they can cook it,” says DataBank CEO Chuck Bauer. Indeed, DataBank has a range of products for everyone from Enterprise accounts down to SMB.
DataBank was acquired by KYOCERA Document Solutions Inc. However, operationally, it will report to KYOCERA Document Solutions America, Inc. The move brings a wealth of not only knowledge, but also key support for Kyocera’s branches and dealers. As DataBank has their own sales force, Kyocera is in the process of working out the rules of engagement that will (hopefully) keep dealers, branches and DataBank sales people out of each other’s way. The acquisition brings powerful ECM products and support to the US, Canada and Latin America. DataBank does not play in Europe (at least for now).
As for DataBank partners, Chuck told us they will continue the ECM relationships with current partners, meaning they’re not cutting off these partners or pulling support for companies that are now considered competitors. Good news for all! It will be business as usual at DataBank for the foreseeable future. Kyocera is not looking to rock the boat.
As dealers continue to look for peripheral products and services to offer, ECM represents one of the greatest opportunities. Content is out of control and it’s only getting worse. Customers need help, especially in SMB, where many companies don’t have content experts on staff. Not only does this acquisition provide dealers with expert help, support and products for SMB, it also could help dealers land Enterprise accounts. As Chuck mentioned during the meeting, “Kyocera now has hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of ECM customers.” This expertise and authority in ECM will no doubt provide potential customers with a level of comfort that most of Kyocera’s competitors can’t match.
This was the biggest announcement by Kyocera since they merged with Mita many years ago. I was surprised by the move after only nine months of partnering together, but the two companies quickly realized there were significant opportunities that could be realized by bringing DataBank into the Kyocera family.
In all, I believe this to be a very strong move for Kyocera. It brings a new level of support to dealers already in ECM and provides a great opportunity for those who aren’t. I appreciate the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Ina and Mr. Ikeda. This is an exciting move for KDA and it was an honor to be brought into the fold before the announcement was made. I look forward to watching the evolution of this process over the next few years.