Kodak is hoping a new venture will carry on the company's iconic brand.
Eastman Kodak last week exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy and spun off Kodak Alaris, which will focus on document and personal imaging. The new company was acquired by Kodak's UK Pension Plan (KPP) and is the latest part of Eastman Kodak to be sold or spun off following the company's Chapter 11 filing in early 2012.
Eastman Kodak will continue its commercial printing business, while Kodak Alaris will take over digital scanner hardware and software. While preserving the brand name, Kodak Alaris will additionally focus on developing its strategy and working with the channel, said Russell Hunt, regional general manager of Kodak Alaris for the U.S. and Canada.
[Related: Fast Growth 2013: The Top 25]
"Our independence allows us to be more nimble and quick in our decision-making," said Hunt. "We have a transition of new thinking, to be able to be more responsive to the marketplace with our programs and, for the sale cycles, to be more responsive to the end user through the channel."
Dolores Kruchten, president of Kodak Alaris' Document Imaging Division, said the company is made up of two divisions, including document imaging and personalized imaging.
"The personalized imaging is the consumer side, kiosks, film and event imaging business, while document imaging will be focused, as we have been, on scanners, production and distribution," said Kruchten.
In addition, Kodak Alaris is broadening its focus in software and will introduce two new available platforms, Info Activate and Info Insight, said Kruchten.
According to Kruchten, Info Activate focuses on Microsoft SharePoint and enables users to catalog and retrieve documents. In comparison, Info Insight is more of an enterprise-level software that makes multisource information such as email, social media and documents available for customers, said Kruchten.
"We now have a product that enables those Microsoft users to capture and catalog paper and electronic documents, like an email, to integrate paper and electronic images to one system," said Hunt.
Howard Gross, president of eBizDocs, a document management and imaging solutions provider based in Albany, N.Y., said the new Kodak Alaris company and its products will be beneficial to his business.
"We can be focused on our verticals strategically with the new company," said Gross. "The new software would allow me to provide my users a single stream; they don’t have to have three different products from three different manufacturers."
NEXT: Although Paper In Decline, Scanners Still In Demand.
While digital documents are growing and paper use is declining, the use of scanners is still in demand, said Hunt.
"There are people in all stages of document imaging, so we find today that there are customers using scanners and digitizing images for the first time," said Hunt. "For example, in the Microsoft world we see users at conferences using SharePoint as a repository for PowerPoint, Excel and emails. They decided to add paper documents to integrate HR systems, and forms to capture that signature."
Currently, Kodak Alaris has between 1,900 and 2,000 active channel partners in the U.S. and Canada. Globally, the company operates in 32 countries and sells to more than 90 countries, which Kruchten said will enable Kodak Alaris to grow its channel presence.
"At a high level, we are a channel company, [and] we sell exclusively to the channel," said Kruchten. "The channel brings us expertise in several vertical markets."
Kruchten said Kodak Alaris will look to add more partners going forward, specifically solution providers that specialize in vertical markets, such as service bureaus, financial services with a concentration in banking, and federal, state and local government. The company will use its new software products to help attract prospective partners, she said.
"What drives partnerships is new products, so we hired an entire new sales team for our software solutions business, and we've added new partners that are in the process of onboarding," said Kruchten. "We've gotten wonderful partners over the last 10 years, and they are excited about working under the new organization."
In the future, Kodak Alaris will continue to invest in developing more products around vertical solutions, expand in software and hardware, and put more funds into channel market and other partner-focused programs, said Kruchten.
"With our new strategy to grow the business, we will be doing a lot more marketing activity with our resellers than we did in the past," said Kruchten. "We will have an outreach program to help partners grow their business. As a company, we will be investing more in this business as we focus on driving growth for the long term."
PUBLISHED SEPT. 16, 2013