The document imaging industry reveals their most important product announcements, developments, and initiatives of the past year.
Despite the lingering effects of the pandemic, 2021 was still an active year in the imaging technology channel, with introductions of new products, solutions, and services, as well as changes in leadership and other initiatives. To recap this past year, we asked dozens of companies to share their 2021 highlights. The responses reveal an industry that continues to innovate and move the imaging channel forward.
- Flying in the “Clouds” – Entered the sustainable cloud space with PaperCut Hive, which created opportunities around market expansion, enhanced software delivery, and a flexible subscription-based pricing model.
- Our PaperCut-MF Vertical strategy for health care and education has proven successful with growth in net new logos.
- Launched a Customer Success company-wide program that focuses on partner retention, expansion, desired outcomes, and advocacy.
- Experienced exponential growth with our fleet management software, KPAX. Partners have appreciated the resilience of the Liberty Box, flexible pricing model, and ease of deployment driven by our professional services team.
- We believe analytics will play a bigger role soon. Storyboard, our business intelligence tool, has attracted more attention this year than ever before, providing more and more opportunities for partner collaboration.
Atlantic Tomorrow’s Office
2021 was Atlantic’s year to evolve! Although our products and services have changed over the years and we have been offering MIT, DMS services for 20 years, we still have many clients that view us as a copier company. We felt this is was an opportune time to rebrand our company with a new evolution of our logo and redesigning of our website to enhance engagement. The logo’s clean, modern look embodies our mission of helping our customers leverage technology solutions to securely streamline, simplify, and automate their workflow and operations. This has allowed us to expand our service offerings to now provide unified communications (UCaaS) as well as a co-managed approach to our managed services suite where we collaborate with an organization’s internal teams to alleviate bottlenecks and provide outstanding support. Lastly, we developed an interactive, Virtual Workplace Tour, which takes clients through various industry benchmarks and best-practices, resulting in a comprehensive report of next-step actions for your organization.
Offering print providers solutions designed to provide them with the ability to expand their business capabilities and captivate customers’ attention remains part of Canon U.S.A., Inc.’s overall goals. To that end, a cloud-based platform was recently added to our high-quality PRISMA solutions portfolio lineup, as well as the imagePROGRAF GP Series that is the world’s first large format inkjet printer to include aqueous pigment fluorescent pink ink.
- The PRISMA Go Suite, featuring the PRISMAprepare Go application, was designed to help small print shops and in-plant print centers streamline online job submission, providing one interface for users as well as an easy-to-use experience.
- Six new models were added to the imageCLASS X series of desktop printers and multifunction devices to support a hybrid work model. Also, several imageRUNNER ADVANCE DX multifunction printers were added to continue to help customers through advanced scan functionality, security features and easy-to-implement cloud-ready capabilities.
- When it comes to large format printers, the new imagePROGRAF TZ-30000 and TZ-3000 MFP Z36 large format solutions offer high-speed printing, security features, and advanced media handling.
CIT Group, Inc.
A key focus area for us in 2021 was supporting our clients’ (OEMs and dealers) digital transformation goals, both through our own custom-integration efforts and through strategic alliances and APIs that align us with industry-leading third-party platforms. Effective automation helps increase sales productivity, improves operational efficiency and enhances delivery of superior and timely customer service. The future of the office imaging industry is digital, and we are well-positioned to support it with the financing, tools, and technologies clients need and want.
We’ve also been agile in responding to the industry supply chain issues. By creating alternative finance products for used equipment and for refinancing programs, we’ve helped customers bridge the gap while waiting for back-ordered equipment. Our internal asset management, customer service, and collections teams closely monitor for potential issues, such as those that might impact equipment inventories, toner availability, and back-ordered parts, to name a few examples. This awareness empowers our teams to help customers head off or minimize supply chain problems before their equipment and business are affected.
While the industry worked to find its footing amidst the pandemic and other disruption, ConnectWise expanded its offerings and partner program to support the massive cybersecurity market surge, while also introducing new operational maturity offerings to help MSPs grow and scale their businesses. We finished the year strong, reporting increased investments in partner experience, launching the new Asio platform, and releasing ConnectWise RMM and many other innovations at the IT Nation Connect conference. Dealer participation at IT Nation Connect, the largest MSP event of its kind, was a year-end highlight. We also ushered in what we called the “Next Generation of ConnectWise” as we launched a new brand and closed out the year with three partner-first commitments to the market: more innovation, faster, greater investments in partner business growth, and even more focus on ease of business/partner experience.
2021 has been another challenging year, primarily due to the ramifications of COVID-19. We’re on pace to make the greatest number of placements in a year! We are grateful that we’ve been able to help our clients replace employees that they’ve lost over the past 1-2 years as well as help them source and onboard new, talented individuals to sustain, grow and evolve their businesses.
We’ve watched this industry go through a dynamic transition over the last two years, primarily due to COVID-related issues. We’re experiencing a generational and technological evolution within the office solutions channel exacerbated by once-in-a generation, unprecedented global public health and economic conditions. It has been extremely rewarding to be a partner for our clients and candidates to overcome the challenges of this period and help be a solution to this accelerated transition.
- Introduced a Green company initiative to reduce DocuWare’s corporate carbon footprint.
- Stayed connected and happy through virtual games, events, and a company mood barometer to measure happiness. In 2021, employees consistently scored ~80/100 on happiness.
- Helped in healthcare. Worked with customers on planned automation of administrative processes in hospitals.
- Released DocuWare version 7.5.
- Launched DocuWare in Japan.
- Focused on learning: Held 116 training workshops in four languages during virtual DocuWorld conferences.
- Celebrated milestones like +5000 DocuWare Cloud customers.
- Supported our communities with free STEM-based classes and job placements, coat, food, and toy drives and helped automate the rollout of SIM cards providing free calls and internet to those in need.
- 2021 brought growth in all directions:
- Kicked off the 2021 financial year with a 20% growth in customers
- 14 new babies were born to DocuWare employees
- 71 new employees joined our global DocuWare family
- Our network expanded to 15,000 customers and 750 partners who are as committed as we are to digitally transform businesses across the world
EFI developed our most-advanced digital front end (DFE) platform ever, a Fiery FS500 Pro DFE that gives OEMs and their customers higher security and less waste, faster processing, and higher throughput on short-run work. Our Fiery eLearning program earned the 2021 CEdMA Impact Award—a top tech education honor—for its channel certification initiative. Fiery FreeForm Create VDP software and Fiery integrations for finishing equipment earned 2021 Printing United Alliance Pinnacle Product of the Year Awards. EFI MIS/ERP workflow successes included a deal with Europe’s largest printing business. Our Display Graphics inkjet customers showed growth and EFI Nozomi single-pass inkjet corrugated printer users booked double-digit volume increases across the board. The EFI Reggiani industrial textile business saw a series of successes in its 75th anniversary year, with product launches, including the world’s fastest scanning textile printer; new growth in Russia; and a deal to supply an Egyptian operation opening in 2022, which is touted to be the world’s largest textile factory.
ELATEC Inc.’s U.S. production facility in Palm City, Florida, shipped its first 100,000 RFID systems as of July 30, 2021. This was an exciting milestone for our new U.S. production facility and for our customers. ELATEC first began production in the U.S. just one year ago in August 2020, delivering an essential expansion in its global production strategy. Each month this new team has increased production output while maintaining strict quality goals. ELATEC is a global industry leader and our RFID and mobile credential readers are an integral component for contactless secure printing. They are compatible with the devices of all major printer manufacturers worldwide.
The market has experienced monumental change in 2021. After two tumultuous years, we have learned that the dealers nimble enough to manage through circumstances, in partnership with the right suppliers, will emerge stronger. Epson’s biggest accomplishments of 2021 were supporting our partners and customers during a challenging time and the phenomenal growth of our A4 business. Epson has focused on helping our partners understand the fluid supply situation, ultimately allowing them to educate and manage expectations with customers to plan ahead. More importantly, identifying changes in the demand for print in a hybrid and more distributed work environment has led to an opportunity to capture revenue as the printing environment evolves. Dealers that are forward-thinking and have a differentiated approach are best positioned for success, and Epson has focused on helping our partners in these areas.
GreatAmerica Financial Services
The first of our three top highlights this year at GreatAmerica was recognition by both dealers via The Cannata Report’s 2021 Frank Award for Best Leasing Provider, and the Managed Print Services Association as Best Professional Services Provider. We take great pride in these honors, especially in challenging times, as they fuel our passion for our customers’ success. The continuation of new programs and product rollouts, including a relaunch of our Hardware as a Rental (HaaR) for financing IT solutions, help our customers evolve beyond print. This, coupled with our single invoice solution, 1nVOICE, supports providers as they layer in new offerings like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), security and workflow software to diversify further. Finally, our value-add solutions, Collabrance, a master managed service provider, and PathShare HR Services, a hiring and organizational development offering, were both in high demand this past year as dealers scaled their managed IT services and worked to attract and retain top talent.
HP’s biggest 2021 highlights revolved around the expansion of HP Amplify. This year, we extended the program to more than 1,350 retail partners, giving them the tools they need to drive digital transformation and growth as consumer buying behaviors continue to evolve. HP also introduced Amplify Impact, an industry-first partner assessment, resource, and training program aimed at driving meaningful change across HP’s Sustainable Impact priorities. Since launch, more than 1,400 partners have taken the program pledge, a testament to the channel’s commitment to advancing sustainability across the industry.
Most recently, HP debuted Amplify Data Insights, a platform that provides partners real-time access to personalized analytics that help them understand and anticipate customer needs. As insights become the new currency for business, partners who leverage data effectively will cement themselves as dynamic, trusted sellers. Providing just that marked a key milestone for the HP Amplify partner ecosystem in 2021.
2021 was a banner year for Kofax as the company further solidified its position as a leader in the intelligent automation
space and continued to innovate on Kofax ControlSuite, its document workflow transformation software. In May of 2021, Kofax announced new features for ControlSuite, which included new cloud integrations, analytics dashboards, and new unified clients. Kofax also made two strategic acquisitions this year. The company acquired Printix, adding cloud-based print management to its Intelligent Automation platform, and also acquired PSIGEN, extending Kofax’s existing document capture capabilities. Kofax also received accolades from the Everest Group, TrustRadius, PrintIT Reseller, and other industry leaders for its commitment to enabling organizations to work like tomorrow – today, with intelligent software.
Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A.
Throughout 2021, Konica Minolta continued to drive strategies to accelerate digital transformation (DX) in support of the Intelligent Connected Workplace. The company completed an overhaul of its bizhub i-Series MFP line-up, winning 12 BLI awards from Keypoint Intelligence, including A3 Line of The Year and Most Color Consistent A3 Brand. Konica Minolta reintroduced its BPO strategy, rebranded its ECM practice to Intelligent Information Management and formed a partnership with RPA leader Automation Anywhere. The company shifted to a new sales approach to demonstrate its expertise in supporting the IT needs of growing vertical markets such as healthcare, education, legal and finance. It also announced its status as a Microsoft Global Partner, reinforcing its goal of delivering industry-specific IT cloud solutions and services for the digital workplace to SMBs in the majority of the countries it serves. And to help clients understand where they are in their own DX journey, the company launched a Digital Maturity Assessment.
Kyocera Document Solutions America
Kyocera, and the whole industry, have continued innovating through the most challenging of periods. COVID-19, supply chain issues, and more have made life difficult, but at Kyocera we’ve launched 10 new products. That includes our Kyocera Evolution Series, which uses the latest in security technology, artificial intelligence, and reliable parts to put us in a great position for the future. These devices are a landmark launch for us, helping to establish and build upon our strong reputation for A3 MFPs. The launch of our Evolution Series also perfectly complements our product portfolio, which ranges from A4, where we were fortunate enough to win a fourth consecutive Frank Award as Best A4 Manufacturer, all the way through to production with the TASKalfa Pro 15000c.”
2021 was dominated by the need to adjust to new realities in areas reshaped by the pandemic with a significant change in how and where we work. Looking back to 2021, an area that Lexmark has seen significant positive change is the adoption of Lexmark Cloud Services in the workplace. Companies are seeing increased pressure to move to a digital-first infrastructure and cloud print management (CPM) helps provide a clear, efficient, and affordable path to success.
While CPM can help organizations meet specific information management goals, its native connectivity to Lexmark devices provides a standardized and secure print ecosystem for dispersed office environments. A cloud-based infrastructure protects data from onsite printer risks. That means secure print delivery, document protection, confidentiality, and cost savings from reduced unclaimed prints from workers inside and outside the office space.
We are seeing strong adoption of CPM and expect that growth to accelerate into 2022, especially as we continue to weather the ups and downs of the pandemic.
2021 was a very exciting year for Macquarie’s equipment leasing business, particularly the office technology vertical, where we established ourselves as a new entity in the U.S. office technology leasing markets. Our biggest highlight was the full build of the group from hiring and the team to forming procedures and practices. We emphasized establishing a culture of truly servicing the office technology dealer base and have assembled the right team to do so. The market reaction has been exceeded our expectations been truly humbling as well as rewarding.
The shining star of 2021 is the widespread growth of the Mars Collective Services, aka Supply Chain as a Service (SCaaS). We have been able to increase our copier warehousing, and build and deliver, lease return retrieval, storage, and used equipment sales to make up for the tight employment market, evolving workplace challenges, and equipment shortages our customers are facing. All of this is fostered by our expanding logistics routes and shuttle services covering multiple markets across the country. In addition, our project work has never been busier:
- 1,525 copiers purchased and picked up from a state agency with offices spread across the state.
- Teamed up with a dealer to delivered and install 1,400+ units at a major medical system.
- A five-state install of 84 units for an MPS provider fulfilling a major account contract.
2021 was a significant year for MPS Monitor. We kicked off a major international dealer recruitment drive and announced a partnership with gap intelligence, deeply integrating its business analytics and market intelligence into MPS Monitor’s award-winning Analytics BI platform. Meanwhile, Keypoint Intelligence validated MPS Monitor’s security posture in a comprehensive whitepaper that analysed the effectiveness of MPS Monitor’s robust measures for addressing security issues. Additionally, MPS Monitor 2.0 secured the BLI Security Validation Testing seal for Policy Compliance from Keypoint Intelligence-Buyers Lab, making us among the first remote monitoring solutions worldwide to pass the neutral third-party security testing benchmark program. We also partnered with Okta to provide secure and transparent single sign-on access to dealers and customers, who can now access the MPS Monitor 2.0 Web Portal using their organization’s credentials. Finally in 2021, we were thrilled to announce that a landmark one million print devices are now monitored by MPS Monitor.
NEXERA, A BEI Services Company
While 2021 was a challenge for everyone, NEXERA used this opportunity to improve upon our already successful solutions. Each of our service solutions has been given an overhaul that allows for more customization, ease of use, and better reporting. In addition, we’ve perfected our financial and admin outsourcing professional services to provide dealers temporary or long-term access to experts in eautomate. NEXERA will be launching a new financial dashboard product that not only updates daily but allows custom financial models to be built, with department-level goal setting and access. This is like nothing that’s ever been available and will allow NEXERA to create the same type of benchmarking that we’re known for in service using financial standardization. Focused on the “Next Era” of imaging, we will show our customers what’s possible, not what’s average.
What brings a smile to our faces and warms our hearts when we think of 2021?
- IDC reported PaperCut as holding the number 1 market share position.
- Customers can now buy PaperCut Hive, our new cloud-native print management software.
- Resellers can access the power of PaperCut Multiverse to proactively manage their customer’s print environment through a single pane of glass.
- 8-million Chromebook users are now using PaperCut Mobility Print.
- Dealers voted us the Best Print Management Software Company at The Cannata Report Awards.
- Close to our hearts, we launched sustainability initiatives, including planting trees for every new customer.
- We welcomed the largest customers in our history, signaling enterprise preference for PaperCut print management solutions.
- Most importantly is that without the contribution and support of our 8,000 resellers across 195 countries and the commitment and passion of our growing team, none of this would be possible, and for that we’re grateful.
2021 has been an incredible year for us at Predictive InSight. We had several milestones. We introduced the first and still the only self-healing DCA, virtually eliminating the need to re-install DCAs; this alone saves dealers hours of technicians’ time. We were confirmed and certified HIPPA compliant, underscoring the highest level of security in product and process. After only 18 months in business, we were selected by over 320 dealers as the DCA they chose to run their business. Additionally, we remain the only DCA that can track the moves and changes that happen so frequently in print networks. Dealers tell us that changing to Insight is like adding additional technical and administrative staff for free.
Ricoh strengthened out dealer partnerships and provided resources for success, including:
- Introducing the Ricoh Connections 21 dealer communications campaign centered on connecting with our dealers to provide expanded support, and elevate Ricoh’s commitment to being the “#1 Digital Transformation Partner”. Relevant topics include: the human element of digital transformation, selling security, and talent retention and recruiting in the evolving business environment.
- Launching Vertical Sales Kits to meet dealer customers’ needs in specific business areas—increasing dealer comfortability with vertical markets to help them build digital workplace offerings that meet evolving demand.
- All of this has contributed to one of the 2021 highlights we hold in the highest of regards: recognition from our dealer partners as the Best Production Print Manufacturer and Best Technical Service Provider in the 2021 Frank Awards – helping us maintain our position as the most awarded company in Frank Awards history. Trust in our partnership from our dealers is the ultimate testament to success.
Over the past five years, we have seen print shop managers evolve from being mildly curious about inkjet to “we will need this someday.” 2021 was the year when the majority of the production print industry accepted cut-sheet inkjet as a “must-have” device. Most everyone in the production print arena is now asking about the benefits of “heatless” printing, including:
- School District In-Plants
- College and University In-Plants
- Government In-Plants
- Hospital In-Plants
- Commercial Print operations
Over and above the actual market segments, 2021 was the year we saw dealers in our industry start to take a close look at capturing some of the print volume that is transitioning from offset or toner to inkjet. COVID-19 created the immediate need for new revenue streams, and production inkjet can, in a very short period of time, add millions of meter clicks to a service department. Once an oddity, production inkjet went mainstream in 2021.
Rochester Software Associates
Rochester Software Associates (RSA’s) highlights include four new production workflow software releases that increase workflow automation from submission to output and everywhere in between. Customers will Increase efficiency and automate even more jobs with the new collaboration feature right inside WebCRD Web to Print. The ReadyPrint prepress suite’s new web-based automation engine intelligently automates the prepress process from file receipt through production. RSA’s ImpactVDP variable data module automates transactional and data-driven VDP production when used with RSA’s QDirect software and has new features and enhancements like barcode support and more capabilities that streamline VDP template creation and workflow. The new QDirect output manager release saves time and money by leveraging email to automate job onboarding and job output, optimizes production with grouping and batching enhancements, and offers new value-adding capabilities and enhancements. Check out the new line up here.
Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America
The main highlights of 2021 were the resiliency and creativity of the imaging industry to power through one of the most unpredictable times we have seen in our industry. We spent significant time working with dealers on novel new ways to help customers, whether that was offering them new technology to help bring people back to the office, ramping up on the technologies that support hybrid work, or ensuring customers could keep machines running smoothly during a complicated time to service equipment. Many dealers began their move toward diversification in earnest, as they realized that their customers were revisiting what the purpose of their office was: to drive collaboration and creativity. This meant rethinking meeting rooms, collaboration technology, and information sharing – all areas that the dealer community can support with the right education and the right talent.
Key highlights for Supplies Network over the course of 2021 include successful adoption of value-add solutions designed to help the reseller community thrive in the current landscape and capitalize on some long-term shifts created by the pandemic:
- Warehousing, logistics, and ecommerce – The sharp increase in ecommerce and logistics needs over the past 12-18 months created higher demand for barcoding and thermal technology. We’ve helped guide our resellers in entering this adjacent, $46B market, and for those with managed services, we’ve introduced barcodeSELECT — our automated thermal supplies replenishment program — which received the 2021 Best MPS Innovation Award from the MPSA.
- Distributed workforces and the evolution of the office environment – Our remote installation and pre-configuration services for printer deployment have aided in large and small printer rollouts that otherwise would have presented geographical challenges for our resellers. These compelling services effectively remove barriers to capturing additional revenue by offering a holistic solution sale.
Tigerpaw is committed to continuously finding new and better ways to serve the managed print industry, and 2021 was an exciting year. We released several product updates, like the DCA import wizard that ensures compatibility with any platform; the Automation Wizard that connects our distribution partners with our workflow engine for alerts and notifications; and our automated tech assignment tool and MACD engine that allows dealers to eliminate manual steps in managing contracts and day-to-day business. We were honored to be named Top MPS Software Provider by the MPSA for the fourth consecutive year, and we’re continuing to innovate to make the tools we provide even better. We’ve seen the evolution happening in the office equipment channel and want to help dealers manage the exciting opportunities ahead. That’s why we released the first “Top 100 MPS Influencers” list, which recognizes and supports the changemakers in the industry.
Toshiba America Business Solutions
- Industry leader and 25-year Toshiba executive Larry White replaced Scott Maccabe as the company’s president and chief executive officer.
- Introduced Elevate Sky platform – a portfolio of proprietary and third-party cloud-enabled systems, software and services, which help optimize business operations. Toshiba’s Elevate Sky Service – an integral element of the platform – accomplishes this objective by enabling remote diagnosis, configuration, and servicing of the company’s multifunction printers (MFPs) using artificial intelligence.
- Launched stylish and compact desktop label printers, the BV400D series, which blend elite performance components for tackling logistics, healthcare, and retail labeling applications.
- Introduced eConnect TouchFree mobile app that provides remote control access to the company’s MFPs and is ideal for schools, universities, government entities, and corporate departments. Continued its commitment to a more sustainable planet by recycling more than 68 U.S. tons of used toner consumables and reforesting 21,422 trees in 2021.
U.S. Bank introduced a remote office financing solution that helps clients provide financing of equipment that facilitates placement of equipment outside of traditional corporate office locations.
We expanded several integrations with clients through APIs. We continue to become a more seamless part of our customer’s systems and processes. We had a very successful transition with Brady Goodell succeeding Dan Nack as our eastern director of sales. We also onboarded Joshua Hansen to replace Goodell in our New England territory. All are doing well.
Visual Edge/Visual Edge IT
This year, Visual Edge, Inc. announced the national launch of Visual Edge IT managed services as we continue our effort of expanding with an extremely broad selection of office technology products, services, and solutions. Visual Edge specializes in managed services, security, cloud computing, and print/copy solutions for businesses across the U.S., including remote office locations. Customers can depend on Visual Edge’s full array of secure digital services and support beyond print including technology and telecom needs.
The Visual Edge IT brand has earned Microsoft Gold Partner status, the most highly accredited partner achievement for best-in-class capability, which allows them to help customers modernize their infrastructure and migrate applications and data to the cloud. As Visual Edge moves further into the Managed Services Provider (MSP) space, we are committed to continued growth and excellence of their managed services and to providing secure technology solutions to clients.
Reflecting on what has been another dynamic year in the industry, Wells Fargo’s biggest highlight in 2021 is the growth we’ve seen in our dealer channel. This year, we put a great deal of focus on improving our programs and support for independent dealers. In April, we finally combined the “Legacy GE” and “Legacy Wells Fargo” teams for both Inside Sales and Dealer Care. In doing so, we created a more scalable and consistent dealer servicing organization, and we’ve received great feedback on this. We have also been investing in a number of IT projects that will streamline our interactions with dealers in 2022. We are grateful for the growth that we’ve seen this year, and it motivates us to continue executing on future initiatives that will make Wells Fargo an even stronger financing partner within our industry.
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