Thanks, we’ll do that now: Captaris

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Document management software vendor Captaris has bought the distribution arm of business partner Axient for an undisclosed sum, citing dissatisfaction with that company’s performance in the channel.

Document management software vendor Captaris has bought the distribution arm of business partner Axient for an undisclosed sum, citing dissatisfaction with that company's performance in the channel.

Jeremy Fox, Australia-New Zealand regional manager for Captaris, said that Axient had done well pushing Captaris' RightFax document delivery system, given its 'limited resources', but the vendor felt it could do a better job inhouse. He said Axient would still resell the RightFax range - that reseller's only product.

'Axient did a fairly good job as a distributor,' Fox said. 'But we think we can do a better job.'

Fox said RightFax sales in Australia had reached $5 million a year or 25 percent marketshare. Sales had grown more than 10 percent in the past year, but were expected to keep growing by adopting a more national focus. Axient had just one office, in Sydney, he pointed out.

'This is not about taking marketshare from our competitors  but about growing the market,' he said. 'We've estimated the market in Australia could be worth $30 million a year.'

He said Captaris' purchase of Axient's distribution rights - including deals with 30 resellers - would make the vendor a distributor in its own right.

'They had probably 30 resellers they had done business with over the past 18 months, and probably 10 of those were repeat customers, such as Indigo Networks and Volante,' Fox said.

He said the US-based company would now work on building up its channel in Australia against main competitors Esker and System Solutions.

'We'd been taking orders rather than selling the product and the focus now is going to be on more assistance for the channel,' he said. 'We need to schmooze our way into existing resellers and then next year roll out more of a strategy for lead generation, opening up vertical markets and re-invigorating the marketplace.'

Fox said document delivery and management applications could find application in many more businesses because such software could cut costs and improve business processes. However, many managers did not know what such products could do, he said.

RightFax had until now only been represented by Axient as Captaris had not previously had an Australian presence. The vendor was setting up support networks around the world, and Sydney was expected to be the south-east Asian centre for that, he said.

Axient was initially spun off from managing director Tom Durick's hardware reseller The Fax Shop (TFS) at the request of Captaris solely to distribute RightFax, Fox said.

Durick said Axient would continue to resell RightFax and was considering taking on document management products from a company Captaris was negotiating to acquire.

Both Axient and TFS brands would be retained, and Axient would consider reselling products from other vendors as necessary, he said. 'We probably will be adding vendors. What we're looking to do is see how [Captaris'] new products go,' he said. 'We became a de facto distributor as Captaris had no direct representation in Australia.'

Durick said he was planning to add at least two more Axient staff but refused to say how many employees the company already had, citing the company's business relationship with Captaris.

He was 'not surprised' by Captaris' remarks about the distributor's performance.

'We have always got the costs. We have always got a vendor with far more resources [than us] to allow that to happen,' Durick said.

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