Production print, TDS 2.0, apps, and higher speed A3 devices were front and center at the Kyocera dealer meeting.
(Pictured above: Guest emcee, broadcaster Hannah Storm, keeps the proceedings moving smoothly during the General Session at Kyocera's annual dealer meeting in Orlando.)
This year’s Kyocera dealer meeting in Orlando, April 9-11 showcased a company in transition—one all in on ECM, one making its first foray into high-speed inkjet production, and one still focused on expanding the core business—A3 and A4 hardware, and assorted applications to compliment those devices. The theme of the meeting was Innovate, and for Kyocera that Innovation was reflected in each of those areas.
Vive la Différence
The format of this year’s General Session was decidedly different from past years in that there was a special guest emcee, broadcaster Hannah Storm, best known for her sports reporting. While the sports theme of teamwork and the sports references might be considered clichéd by some, the overall format of the General Session was still a refreshing change of pace compared to previous year’s General Sessions which had become predictable and somewhat stale. All the usual pieces and players were there, however, the transitions from each segment and presenter was different with Storm expertly guiding the proceedings with just the right amount of sports and teamwork references as to not distract from Kyocera’s messaging.
If the star of the show was Kyocera’s first high-speed inkjet production print device, the Taskalfa Pro 15000c, TDS 2.0 was a strong supporting player as Kyocera announced that the time had come to fully leverage its DataBank acquisition of last year and the ECM solutions from Hyland Software.
Norihiko Ina, managing executive officer and president and representative director of Kyocera Document Solutions, Inc. Japan, began the General Session with an update on the company’s 2018 global performance, noting that when the numbers are released, the company expects to see increases in revenue and profit, and that sales will reveal worldwide double-digit growth of 14%. He attributed this strong performance to sales of middle and high-speed A3 color MFPs and the dramatic growth of entry level A4 color MFPs worldwide.
[caption id="attachment_48228" align="alignleft" width="300"] Kyocera Document Solutions America President and CEO Yukio Ikeda offers a financial update for FY18.[/caption]
Business in the Americas was not as strong, with Yukio Ikeda, president & CEO, Kyocera Document Solutions America, reporting that the company had experienced a flat year despite some single-digit growth in Canada, Mexico, and Chile. Looking ahead, Kyocera is expecting TDS 2.0, the TASKalfa Pro 15000c, and its core business products to lead to a financial resurgence in FY19. Admittedly, the production print and TDS segments of Kyocera’s business offer great promise along with challenges, but Kyocera is committed to providing the necessary resources to ensure that dealers are prepared to leverage these new offerings in their marketplaces.
Expanding the Core
Kyocera is launching 29 new products worldwide in FY 2019 as it expands its core business. In March the company introduced the TASKalfa 9002i, and it was noted that first month sales were promising. Other notable products were three high-speed black & white production devices, including the TASKalfa 9600, 1100 and 13600, which offer speeds of 96, 111, and 136 ppm, respectively.
[caption id="attachment_48229" align="alignleft" width="300"] Frank Cannata is mesmerized by the presentation on Kyocera Fleet Services.[/caption]
While traditional imaging hardware remains at the heart of the core business, a wide variety of apps are critical to its further expansion. Kyocera has long been app crazy and that hasn’t changed one bit based on what we witnessed in Orlando. In a world where hardware has become a commodity, apps remain a differentiator, and that’s something Kyocera dealers have been leveraging for a number of years now.
During his General Session remarks, Ikeda noted that the company is strengthening its Kyocera Fleet Services (KFS), its remote service monitoring tool. Additionally, in FY19, Kyocera will enhance some of its existing applications and introduce new applications to help customers simplify workflow processes. Here’s what’s new and improved:
- Kyocera Fleet Services – The latest enhancements for the coming year include enhancements to its integration with e-automate, including supply order integration, which allows for more proactive monitoring and ordering of supplies and service integration with e-automate that simplifies the dispatch process for service calls, including a notification to the user’s control panel that help is on the way. Additional enhancements include the ability to monitor maintenance kit life, enhanced dealer branding options, new reporting options, and a KFS mobile app for monitoring device status.
- Kyocera Net Device Manager - This customizable output management solution allows users to manage their print devices and control user access while monitoring their Kyocera fleet.
- DMconnect Pro – This turns the MFP into an onramp to a customer’s document management system. Files can be scanned directly from the MFP into the document management system and users can access specific preset workflows from the MFP control panel.
- XMedius Connector – This enables simple and secure faxing from a network-connected HyPAS-enabled MFP to an XMedius on-premise or cloud-based server.
- RightFax Connector - Kyocera’s new RightFax Embedded application includes features such as single sign on (SSO), card authentication, and the elimination of middleware to better connect and scale to organizations using a RightFax 16 Server.
- EAPPSMAKER – This is a cloud-based portal that allows for development of customer-specific workflows in minutes using the HyPASS platform without any programming.
All in on TDS 2.0
[caption id="attachment_48230" align="alignleft" width="600"] TDS 2.0 is one of the three key areas of growth outlined by Danielle Wolowitz in the General Session.[/caption]
TDS 2.0 is the latest incarnation of Kyocera’s Total Document Solutions (TDS), the centerpiece of the company’s product and solutions strategy. Kyocera’s TDS initiative is built around offering customers the right combination of hardware, solutions, and services. The big difference between TDS 1.0 and TDS 2.0 is the increased focus on software. According to Danielle Wolowitz, vice president Corporate Marketing Group, hardware is still a big part of the revenue mix, but the sale starts with content and content management software.
“With TDS 2.0, you’re more than a vendor of printers and MFPs. Your helping customers with their document and data flow,” Wolowitz told dealers during the General Session.
“This initiative has helped us mutually gain new accounts and deepen our relationships with existing customers,” added Ed Bialecki, senior vice president sales.
The recent acquisition of DataBank, an ECM solutions provider and the top reseller of the Hyland OnBase ECM solution in North America, is integral to Kyocera’s TDS 2.0 approach. DataBank also has a network of solution engineers that will be available to Kyocera dealers. In addition, dealers can also receive TDS 2.0 certification through Kyocera. Hyland Software had a strong presence at the meeting with Hyland Software President & CEO Bill Priemer providing attendees with a detailed overview of Hyland and its products. He also participated in a panel discussion during the General Session on TDS 2.0.
Internal estimates shared with us during an analyst briefing on the final day of the conference, are that between 50 and 100 dealers will likely engage with DataBank in the first year of this TDS 2.0 initiative. Considering the size of Kyocera’s dealers, their existing relationships with other OEMs and solutions providers, we expect the number of dealers engaging with DataBank will be closer to 50 than 100. What can’t be denied is that this is a forward-looking strategy that provides Kyocera and its dealers who are looking to expand their solutions offerings with ECM, a strong foundation to do so.
All Pro Production Device
[caption id="attachment_48231" align="alignleft" width="600"] Dealers waiting to view the demo of the TASKalfa Pro 15000c in the Tech Fair.[/caption]
Kyocera’s entry into the production print space is long overdue, but with the show preview of the TASKalfa 15000c production printer, in this case it’s better late than never. During the Tech Fair dealers were lining up outside the enclosed display area where the device was located to see and hear all about it. Even though the device won’t be ready for release until Spring 2019, Kyocera now has what appears to be a strong offering in this segment. According to Ed Bialecki, for customers who don’t have any production machines, the TASKalfa Pro represents a cost-effective way to enter this market. (See Frank’s article for a more detailed overview of the TASKalfa Pro 15000c.)
Here and Now
[caption id="attachment_48232" align="alignleft" width="300"] The core business, hardware and apps, are still critical to growth and were prominently featured in the Tech Fair and in the General Session presentations.[/caption]
This is not a bad time to be a Kyocera dealer, particularly if you have been patiently waiting for an inkjet production device. Finally, that patience is about to be rewarded. For those who see value in ECM and want to get all in on TDS 2.0 it’s also a good time. For those who have been waiting for higher speed A3 devices and who are looking to differentiate their Kyocera hardware offerings with the many apps available, Kyocera keeps delivering in this area. And for those dealers more interested in maintaining the status quo, Kyocera still has an evolving A3 line and a strong A4 line to satisfy you.
In the meantime, the imaging community will be waiting and watching to see how things develop with the TASKalfa 15000c and Kyocera’s TDS 2.0 initiatives. The company has some catching up to do on the production front, but it is in a much better position today than it was a year ago and will likely be in an even better position a year from now when that product officially launches.
Access Related Content