Lexington-based printer maker Lexmark International recently completed its acquisition of Perceptive Software, a Kansas company that specializes in helping companies manage information. The $280 million purchase gives Lexmark a foothold in a field called enterprise content management.
Scott Coons, who leads Perceptive Software, recently took time to talk about the company, its products and its new corporate parent.
Question: Will you explain Perceptive's slogan, "content in context" and offer an overview of your software solutions?
Answer: Enterprise content management is about managing all the enterprise content that a company deals with to make decisions. ... "Content in context" really defines our approach to ECM. It's about helping organizations manage their unstructured content within the context of their familiar business application ... It's a design approach that allows our product to be much easier to use and much more effective than our competitors'.
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A good example is a health care clinician. There's lots of stuff that exists in electronic medical records ... and there's a whole lot of stuff that exists in other systems that I need to have access to. That's the enterprise content. In support of the clinician's job to provide great patient care, they need to get to that information quickly ... Our software allows you to get to that in one click, because we're managing all the other stuff that can't be presented in that one application.
Q: What made Lexmark an attractive purchaser of Perceptive?
A: Lexmark is just a great fit. It all starts at the top. The first time we met with Lexmark ... (Lexmark chief executive) Paul Curlander came out to talk about partnering and what they're all about, and I was just thoroughly impressed with him and the company.
Besides being in adjacent markets ... they understand that customers buy solutions. ... I wanted an opportunity for our product to flourish and to take advantage of opportunities for growth, and Lexmark brought all those to the table. It's been absolutely tremendous. I thought I might lie awake at night, wondering if I made the right decision, but that never happened. I feel very good about it.
Q: What has it been like integrating into such a vastly larger organization? (Perceptive has 530 employees compared to Lexmark's 12,000.)
A: On the surface, people would assume there have been lots of challenges. That hasn't been the case. ... They've been very good in helping us understand the steps that we need to take to grow and to be successful within the Lexmark umbrella, if you will.
They've been encouraging, and they just want us to be successful. We measure success in the ability to grow faster. That's one of the key reasons they acquired us and one of the key reasons we agreed to be acquired. We wanted to grow, and they have a great sales platform.
Q: What are your goals as you work with Lexmark?
A: At the end of the day, it's about offering a complete solution to a customer, and Lexmark starts at the front end of that overall solution (with sales of printers). In the past, they've had to hand that solution over to an ECM product that was not their own. Now we can really complete the solution. ...
With the financial strength of Lexmark and the fact that they're such a great engineering organization, we can leverage a lot of their engineering expertise and help to accelerate our product road map.
They obviously have dollars to invest in strategic things we need to do, plus they've been there and done that before. We think of them as a big brother that we like; they've been very good.