Updated: New product and new customer announcements are "good signs, but it's still early in the process," an analyst says.
Nearly six months after IBM's Printing Systems Division officially became InfoPrint Solutions Company, a subsidiary of Ricoh Americas Corporation, the organization is reporting initial successes including new products, significant new customer agreements and expansion of sales staff and presence, according to Oct. 19 and Nov. 1 announcements from InfoPrint.
In its February 2007 analysis report, "Ricoh Acquires IBM's Printing Systems Division in Three-Year Deal," market research company InfoTrends observed, "Ricoh has positioned itself as a key player in the data processing production printing market on par with the likes of Océ and Xerox."
"Things are going very well," said Jeff Paterra, senior vice president and general manager of Technology and Solutions for InfoPrint. "We've had two consecutive quarters of strong growth since we launched June 1. We continue to expand our business around the worldwe are now operating in 36 countries, so our hiring and expansion plans to grow worldwide are tracking as we laid them out."
The Oct. 19 and Nov. 1 announcements from InfoPrint also reported new customer sales of software, printers and services to 21st Century Insurance Company, headquartered in Woodland Hills, Calif., and CDMS, a leading UK-based B2B and B2C direct marketing services provider, with more new customers expected to be announced later this month.
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"And there's more on the way in product development and solution offerings we plan to bring to the market," Paterra said. "We are growing our development technical abilities, adding more technical people to our staff." According to InfoPrint, R&D has been increased by more than 50 percent, which will further drive product development, the company said.
"Since this joint venture is a three-year phase-over, starting only a few months ago, it's too early to say how well it's going," said Jim Hamilton, group director at InfoTrends. The new product and new customer announcements "are good signs, but it's still early in the process," he added.
"This continues to put price pressure on the market; the other players are eager to take away the former IBM division's business," said Pete Basiliere, an analyst at Gartner. "The key is service, which IBM is continuing to provide until the middle of next year, when it will move over to InfoPrint. It will be interesting to see how seamless the transition is, in terms of parts availability and the staff."
Editor's Note: Editor's Note: This story was updated to correct information about the InfoPrint 5000, a printing solution, and also to amend company growth figures.
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