Ramblings from the Road --SherburneOctober 2008
After recovering from Drupa, I was off again to Las Vegas for EFI Connect. Frankly, Las Vegas is not one of my favorite destinations, but I suppose if you must go, the Wynn is the place to stay. It is a lovely venue and a great place to hold meetings.
The big news out of Connect was EFI's acquisition of PACE Systems Group and the restructuring of its print MIS portfolio. EFI has bundled a number of solutions, including PrintFlow dynamic scheduling and Auto-Count direct machine interface, with Hagen OA as modular offerings and has renamed the package Monarch. This is EFI's high-end MIS solution for larger printers.
The company then announced that following the next release for PSI and Logic, those products would go into maintenance mode and the newly acquired ePACE system would be the preferred mid-market offering. Rounding out EFI's MIS portfolio is entry-level PrintSmith.
This created quite a stir, as you can imagine, among Logic and PSI customers, as well as on the ePACE side. Between Logic and PSI, EFI has some 1,400 active installs worldwide. ePACE has about 500. In North America, the next largest provider is Avanti with 325. Avanti and others are looking at this as a terrific opportunity to include 1,400 new prospects in their sales cycles.
Here's what EFI CEO Guy Gecht had to say to yours truly:
"We always assume that customers are not locked into EFI and that they are looking around. At some point, we had to rationalize our product road map, not just for our sake, but for the benefit of our customers, as well. Most people speculated we would do this through internal development and, in fact, we were doing that.
"Had we brought a new, internally developed solution to market, it would have resulted in the same situation, with some users going on maintenance only, and some wanting more functionality who might migrate to other suppliers or other EFI offerings." Gecht continues.
"The proof will now be in how well we execute, keeping PSI and Logic at a high quality level. Clearly, some customers will look at other options, but how is that different from convincing them on an ongoing basis to stay with EFI?"