EFI eyes further MIS market consolidation

Simon Nias
Wednesday, December 5, 2012

EFI senior vice president and general manager of productivity software Marc Olin has said the company will continue to drive consolidation amongst MIS providers in the wake of its latest acquisition.

Following last month's purchase of UK-headquartered Technique, Olin, who is general manager of EFI's Productivity Software business, told PrintWeek he expected more deals to follow.

"There are certainly a lot more opportunities out there because there has not been as much consolidation on the software side as there has amongst printers," he said. "There are too many vendors serving the industry to be efficient."

Olin added that it was EFI's aim to grow its Euorpean MIS business, which following the Technique acquisition will generate some $20-30m (£12.5-18.5m) a year, to the same size as its $50m-a-year MIS business in the US.

"It's difficult to put a timescale on that [growth] given the state of the economy, but we will continue to look at acquisitions where there is a good fit both culturally and economically," he said.

Commenting on the Technique acquisition Olin highlighted the fact that EFI had taken the slightly unusual decision to continue to market the Technique MIS rather than encouraging Technique customers to move to one of the existing EFI products.

"It's our intention to continue to support, develop and sell the Technique MIS to new customers, rather than what we usually do, which is immediately put the software in maintenance mode and stop selling it," said Olin.

He added that while EFI already has its own high-end MIS for large individual and multi-site printers in EFI Monarch, there were subtle differences between that and Technique that warranted the decision to continue selling both.

"Where Technique has done well has been among the larger print groups in Europe and Australia, primarily web offset and gravure businesses that are significant in scale. We do have quite a few web offset and gravure clients using Monarch in the US, but the two platforms are slightly different and it will come down to a matter of customer preference," said Olin.

"Monarch is somewhat more advanced in terms of post-press integration, for example, whereas Technique's estimating functionality is a little more automated. Certain things resonate with different clients but both are high-end MIS and we will continue to sell both and let our customers choose."

Olin added that the Technique acquisition would also further EFI's global diversification, by boosting its market share in Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, and said that the two companies were currently working on unifying their helpdesks across the world to give better support capability for their customers, as well as integrating their sales, finance and operations staff.

Meanwhile, Olin said he expected EFI's Productivity Software business to continue to benefit from the trends towards a greater number of shorter run lengths, which he said was being enabled by the increased automation offered from MIS and web-to-print software.

"One thing we have seen quite a bit is some of the larger companies trying to transform their business and to adopt more automation to cope with this trend towards higher transaction volumes for the same revenue," he added.

"That transition has been a major activity driver because if your average revenue per order is going down but you average number of orders is going up and up, the only way to deal with that is through technology and web-to-print is a critical part of that."


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