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  1. Technology
March 27, 1996


By CBR Staff Writer

For Costa Mesa, California document imaging and workflow specialist FileNet Corp, the last 12 months have proved to be an eventful period. It bought three companies and in the UK, rounded off the period with the appointment of both a new managing director and marketing director in January. Now the new additions have had a couple of weeks to find their feet, it seems things are set to change. First came the acquisition of Watermark Software Inc (CI No 2,710), for some $61m. The Burlington, Massachusetts company developed document imaging software for workgroups and departmental applications. The acquisition brought strong imaging and Windows NT skills to refresh and expand FileNet’s imaging capabilities. Next came the acquisition of International Systems Ltd, bought for about $10m in January (CI No 2,833). The New York-based company owned Greenbar Software, a computer output-to-laser disk software product for archiving documents such as customer statements and accounting reports that typically originate from mainframe applications on magnetic and optical disks. FileNet will merge Greenbar software with its Workflow Business System and its FileNet:Workgroup workflow and document imaging software products. The software runs under Windows NT Server and supports Windows 3.x, Windows95 and Windows NT clients. Saros Corp was the third acquisition of the season, (CI No 2,833) for which it will pay 2.2m shares worth about $102m, plus options. The privately-held Bellevue, Washington company supplies enterprise document management and Internet Web server software. Managing director Ken Tyson, fresh from a 20- year stint at ICL Plc’s stables, said the company is now aiming for a re-definition of the market, and will strategically try to create a new offering. FileNet intends to merge image, workflow and document management units to produce a one-stop shop, with the added benefit of reducing risk and increasing comfort for our customers. Any company that has a small network of personal computers has use for the new technology, said Tyson. What he feels to be the real key to the new offering is that it will be packaged as an off-the-shelf Internet-enabled product. FileNet believes it is the first company to address the Internet issue, and in doing so will effectively marginalize its competitors’ products.

Already in place

The Internet market extends the network from the local to the wide area network to the Internet itself, and if customers want to use its products over the Internet, the protocol is already in place, according to Tyson. The company has not yet set a release date for its wares but hints that more announcements will follow shortly. Its a challenge, said Tyson, but if anyone’s going to do it, we are. FileNet has cast its eye towards local and central government and plans to target the market this year. Tyson hopes his years with ICL, which traditionally has strong links with local and central government, will pay off when he begins canvassing for FileNet.


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