How Lexmark Evolved Into an Enterprise Content-Management Contender

After a number of acquisitions and a realignment of its corporate strategy, Lexmark emerges as an enterprise content- and process-management company.

analytics, data management

Forget inkjet printers. Lexmark means business—big business, in fact.

That's the message from CEO Paul Rooke during a recent interview. The Lexington, Ky.-based company's new focus is on helping enterprises "structure the unstructured," he told eWEEK. Although Lexmark will still offer high-end printing solutions for businesses—it divested its inkjet business in 2012, reminded Rooke—the brand is becoming more synonymous with enterprise-grade content and business process management.

Over the past five years, while industry heavyweights like IBM, Hewlett-Packard and even Xerox have been battling it out, Lexmark has been steadily overhauling its own business technology portfolio.

Lexmark is "moving from being a hardware provider to a broader provider of higher-value solutions, which are hardware, software and services," Rooke said. According to Lexmark's estimates, businesses worldwide spent approximately $10 billion in content and process management products and services last year.

Now, after this spring's acquisition of business process application provider Kofax Ltd., Lexmark is better positioned to help enterprises better manage and capitalize on their growing stores of data, which can range from scanned legal documents to large medical image files, and everything in between. Lexmark closed the Kofax deal, valued at $1 billion, on May 21. In 2013, Kofax gave its platform a big-data boost by acquiring Kapow, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based analytics specialist.

Lexmark's new journey into the enterprise software market began with the 2010 acquisition of enterprise content-management software maker Perceptive Software for $280 million.

In an early example of the company's big-business ambitions, the company announced business process solutions for health care organizations in late 2011 based on technologies from Perceptive and Pallas Athena, a Netherlands-based business-process and document-output management company that Lexmark snapped up earlier the same year. Today, Lexmark offers industry-specific solutions for a number of other verticals, including banking, education, government, insurance and retail.

Other notable Lexmark buys include Acuo, a medical image archive firm, and Isys, an enterprise search provider. Over the past few years, the company also acquired Nolij, a Web-based document imaging and workflow, company, along with BDGB Enterprise and its Brainware intelligent data capture and enterprise search platform.

Today, those technologies are dovetailing to create an integrated, Lexmark-powered ecosystem of content- and business-process management software and services, said Keith Moody, CIO of Lexmark.

Lexmark is its own "first customer" to ensure that its technologies actually deliver on the capabilities and efficiency gains promoted by the company, Moody said. To date, the company has been able to digitize and automate incoming data by at least 90 percent, contributing to cost reductions of 25 percent and a savings of $100 million, he reported.

Cost savings aside, Lexmark wants to help CIOs better and more efficiently incorporate unstructured data from emails, scanned documents and a variety of other sources into their business processes.

"All CIOs focus on enterprise-wide transactional systems that are very good at handling the data in the system and executing a process," said Moody. "When you look at the full breath of that process, it all starts with an unstructured process."

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...