2019 was a busy year for DocuWare. The year kicked off with a change at the top, as long-time co-presidents Jürgen Biffar and Thomas Schneck retired and were replaced by their colleagues Dr. Michael Berger and Max Ertl in the roles of overseeing the technical and sales aspects of the business, respectively. Then in March, the Munich-area based ISV named Jim Roberts, a global sales and marketing executive from outside the ECM industry, as the new president of DocuWare Corp., the Americas-based arm of the company. Finally, in July came the kicker, as DocuWare was acquired by long-time partner Ricoh Company, Ltd. (RCL) [See DIR 8/30/19].
Through all this change, two elements of DocuWare’s business remained stable: its focus on the cloud and on cultivating its reseller channel. This focus apparently paid off, as for 2019, DocuWare recently reported 17% YOY growth to reach approximately $60 million in annual revenue. This was after only 6% growth in 2018.
“I have only been here for a year, so it’s difficult for me to compare what we did in 2019 to what we did in years past, but my feeling is that it wasn’t much different than what we’ve done historically,” said Roberts, who joined DocuWare from Telesis Technologies, a leader in product identification and traceability technologies. “It’s business as usual, with a clear division of roles between the presidents, just like we had before. We continue to try and make improvements and scale the business.”
DocuWare was one of the earliest ECM vendors to fully embrace the cloud, dating back to a one million Euro investment it made in Web-based and cloud technology 10 years ago [see DIR 2/5/10]. It wasn’t until 2015 that DocuWare began to see significant acceleration in cloud adoption by its customers, and in 2019, approximately 60% of its new customers adopted DocuWare Cloud. Last year, cloud revenue accounted for nearly 25% of DocuWare’s overall revenue.
“We added nearly 2,000 customers in 2019 and 1,200 of them were cloud customers,” said Roberts. “Having a strong and reliable cloud service enables us to access more customers who value features like mobility and security. They also see the cloud as an advantage because it means they don’t have to tackle the IT infrastructure component of an ECM implementation—we handle that for them.”
In 2018, DocuWare introduced pre-configured, hosted solutions in the areas of invoice processing and employee management [see DIR 6/22/18]. “We’ve had some nice results with those in Europe especially,” said Roberts. “They enable a customer to obtain a document management solution and apply it to help automate a specific process like accounts payable in matter of days. That was unheard of in years past, when it could take weeks and sometimes even months, depending on the complexity level of configuring a system to meet a specific need.”
Roberts noted that DocuWare will continue to work on improving its cloud functionality. “We will continue to add features to our product on a repeatable schedule, as well as continue to invest in the reliability and security of our cloud infrastructure,” he said. “We believe the investments we are making will enable us to maintain a 94% customer retention rate, which ultimately enables us to continue to build market share. This, along with expanding our partner network in 2020, should also help us to further accelerate new customer acquisition.”
Roberts views partners as the key for DocuWare to reach the hundreds of thousands of potential SMB customers in the market. “We continue to onboard new and effective partners who are able to help us service marketplaces where we are either under-represented or non-existent,” he said. “We are expanding in our traditional space, which has been the MFP channel and ECM resellers, and we have also seen some success selling DocuWare through companies that specialize in other types of software like ERP, CRM, or something else. Most of these resellers also have a cloud option of their other software.”
Regarding how the acquisition by RCL has affected DocuWare’s business so far, Robert’s stated, “The integration is still in process, but we are already seeing a lot of positive signs.”
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