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Ricoh Makes Strategic Investment in Avanti (Commentary by Cary Sherburne)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Press release from the issuing company

Avanti Brings Print MIS to the Ricoh Portfolio

TOKYO and TORONTO – Ricoh Company, Ltd. (Ricoh) today announced that it has made a multimillion dollar investment in Avanti Computer Systems Limited, a leading provider of Print Management Information Systems (MIS) solutions for the print industry. Avanti provides Print MIS software that helps commercial and in-plant printers streamline their workflow, resulting in greater productivity, customer satisfaction, and improved profit margins.

With hundreds of installations throughout the commercial print and in-plant marketplace, Avanti will now be able to bring its MIS tools, including job costing, tracking and billing, scheduling, CRM, inventory management, warehouse and direct mail management, to an even broader global market. Avanti’s core technologies are uniquely positioned to complement Ricoh’s offerings with advanced solutions for mixed environments with wide format, digital cut sheet, continuous forms, offset, and fulfillment and kitting operations. Ricoh is committed to providing printers with alternative solutions that support open industry standards and connections to key production print technologies across vendors.

This is the most recent investment by Ricoh to expand its reach across the print industry in an effort to ensure customers have access to the critical information they need, when they need it. Ricoh previously invested in PTI Marketing TechnologiesTM, a leading provider of marketing automation solutions for both enterprise users and print service providers. Ricoh is continuing to make these investments to further enhance the development of new management tools to help enterprises and commercial printers on their continued path toward efficiency and growth.

"Avanti's Print MIS capability is a perfect complement to our portfolio.  In the same way we automate print workflow, Avanti automates the printer's back office systems: inventory management, job pricing, estimating, and billing.  The investment also speaks to our "imagine.change." initiative – by enabling commercial and in-plant printers to streamline their businesses and seek efficiencies to lower costs, and improve their bottom line," said Yasuhiko Hosoe, associate director and deputy general manager, Ricoh Production Printing Business Group, Ricoh Company Ltd. "This strategic move, like our investment in PTI, further demonstrates our commitment to help companies imagine the changes that they can make to automate and improve their businesses, and most importantly, their customers' experiences."

Ricoh enables companies of all sizes around the world to help expand their businesses with tools such as data intelligence, document management software, industry-leading digital printers, and oother solutions - all aimed to provide them with a sustainable, competitive advantage.

"At Avanti, our priority has always been to invest in our people and our technology, which in turn, provides our customers with innovative, effective and award-winning software solutions," said Patrick Bolan, President and CEO of Avanti. "This strategic investment by Ricoh means that we can accelerate product development and expand into new markets, and most importantly, ensure that both current and future customers have options when choosing a Print MIS system."

In addition to Ricoh, Avanti will continue to actively market its products through all channels, including its current partner vendors.

Special Commentary from Cary Sherburne

Ricoh is deploying an interesting strategy here.  As the release references, the company recently made a similar investment in PTI. Both companies (PTI and Avanti) are free to pursue sales through their normal channels, but obviously there will be collaboration with Ricoh, possibly on Ricoh-specific solutions.  For both companies, the Ricoh investment gives them additional investment capital and the potential for a global footprint.  In addition, Ricoh’s ultimate acquisition of InfoPrint Solutions, formerly IBM Printing Systems and now a brand under the Ricoh umbrella, brought them into the high end of the production market with transactional printing systems and high-end workflow, as well as access to great engineering talent.

Avanti President & CEO Patrick Bolan told WhatTheyThink to expect major announcements at Print 2013, and indicated that Avanti and Ricoh have been in discussions for about a year.                                                                                  

Ricoh’s Sam Hosoe, associate director and deputy general manager, Ricoh Production Printing Business Group, added, “As the printing industry continues to consolidate, Ricoh will focus on providing customers with the best choices, based on leading technology and open platforms. Avanti’s open and highly connected MIS technology allows us to support multi-vendor environments and tightly integrate with Ricoh technology.” Hosoe also indicated the intent to integrate Avanti MIS with former InfoPrint software as well as offering the solution in the commercial print and in-plant environments.

Avanti has a current installed base of about 400 sites, mostly in North America.

Bolan concludes, “This sends a strong signal to the marketplace that we are in this business for the long term and that we are not going to be acquired by another MIS vendor.  This is very exciting news for us.  We have grown nicely on our own over the last eight years.  This gives us an opportunity to significantly accelerate that growth.”

 

Discussion

By Pat Berger on Jul 11, 2013

Integrating with the Fiery front end will be a significant challenge.

 

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