On August 2, Kyocera Document Solutions America announced it had acquired ECM reseller DataBank IMX, the largest North American reseller of Hyland’s OnBase. The acquisition cements a nearly year-old alliance first announced in September 2016.

The alliance and now acquisition of DataBank is key to Kyocera’s Total Document Solutions (TDS) approach, designed to take dealers beyond hardware by teaching them to be partners, rather than simply selling apps or hardware. At its dealer meeting in April, Kyocera executives shared plans to take TDS to the next level this year with TDS 2.0, which includes new services around business process improvement, business process outsourcing and IT services. Key to this, as announced in April, was Kyocera’s alliance with Hyland reseller DataBank, then planned to be available to a small group of dealers in the first quarter of FY18, with the scope expanded in the second half of the year. The alliance was expected to give dealers access to the entire portfolio of Hyland ECM products.

What does the acquisition mean for dealers? According to Danielle Wolowitz, VP Corporate Marketing for Kyocera, the biggest change will be that dealers now have a single source for hardware and business solutions. And as document management becomes more and more part of the standard practice, it’s a good thing. What exactly does DataBank offer and why is it important to Kyocera? We’ll steal a bit of boilerplate text from the original press release announcing the alliance last year:

“For over 15 years, DataBank has delivered award-winning solutions to organizations of all sizes and in all industries, simplifying processes and streamlining the flow of business information. In many industries, documents represent the primary source of that information. As a global leader in document imaging technology, Kyocera provides an extraordinary range of document imaging hardware, software solutions, and related services. Combined, the alliance of these leading companies delivers broad capabilities and expertise across the entire spectrum of business information.”

DataBank will retain its name, going to market as a “Kyocera Group company” and maintaining its well-established brand recognition. The rollout to Kyocera dealers remains on track, with plans to bring it to dealers throughout the country around October. Members of the dealer council have already been part of a pilot program, the response to which, Wolowitz said, has been positive.

For both companies, existing relationships will remain in place, meaning DataBank will continue to be accessible to other OEMs, and Kyocera will continue to offer other solutions, such as Docuware and Square 9. “We want to offer the right solution to the customer based on needs,” Wolowitz stated.

Our Take

We noted at the time of the alliance announcement at Kyocera’s dealer meeting that solutions are increasingly critical to office equipment dealers, and that still stands. In fact, most of what is important about this acquisition has already been covered by commentary on the alliance; Kyocera is simply cementing both its alliance and its statement on the importance of those business process solutions to its business. It appears the two companies have tested the waters of a partnership for the last year, found that it works, and are making it official. It can only be beneficial for Kyocera; solutions are a must-have and an acquisition is always a good way to bring those solutions into the fold. DataBank’s key verticals are in healthcare, government, public sector and financial, which should certainly provide good opportunities for Kyocera dealers. We’ll know more by the time of the next dealer meeting after the official rollout, allowing more dealers time with the offerings, but for now, it seems likely that this latest bit of M&A activity will have positive repercussions for Kyocera and its dealers.

Amy Weiss
Amy Weiss

is editor-in-chief of BPO Media’s publications Workflow and The Imaging Channel, and senior analyst for BPO Research. She has more than 20 years' professional writing and editing experience and has specialized in the office technology industry for the last 15 years, focusing on areas including print and imaging hardware and supplies, workflow automation, managed print, document management solutions and software, business solutions and more. Contact her at amy@bpomedia.com, connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter.