We have a pretty full agenda for the next two days of the 2017 ABBYY Technology Summit, and we started off with an address from Ulf Persson, ABBYY’s relatively new worldwide CEO (although he is a long-time board member). As a company with its roots in Russia that has spread from country to country in a bit of a disjointed way in the past, Persson is pushing the idea of #OneABBYY: a global company rather than a collection of regional companies. A leader in OCR since 1989, ABBYY is the best-kept secret in OCR: end customers don’t know who they are, and even other vendors in the same space haven’t heard the name, unlike that of their competitors. They are actively trying to change how they grow: becoming more globally balanced in terms of development, marketing and organizational structure; becoming more agile and customer-centric; and continuing to be profitable and innovative. Their revenues are well-diversified, with 33% in Europe, 28% in North America, global accounts (bundling with hardware vendors) 19%, then smaller segments in Russia, Africa and Australia.
Their strategy includes:
- Increasing market share in enterprise capture by pushing intelligent capture solutions, primarily as a cloud service.
- Becoming the partner of choice for ISVs that need to build capture capabilities into their solutions. Unlike some other capture vendors, they are not looking to push into adjacent spaces, such as BPM, but plan to stay as an indepedent vendor in the intelligent capture and automation market that can partner with a wide variety of hardware, software and solution providers.
- Becoming a leader in text analytics solutions, driven by the data that they capture from documents. He mentioned contracts in particular, where very complex text analytics are required to automate understanding of these types of documents.
They are making use of machine learning and artificial intelligence in their capture technology, and offering real-time recognition as a service or as embedded technology.
As a self-funded profitable company, they don’t need to go to the markets for funding, and state outright that they are not for sale.
Disclaimer: ABBYY has been my customer in the past — I gave the keynote here last year as well as another presentation in Toronto, and wrote a white paper — but I am not being compensated for my time here this week or for writing these posts. ABBYY did pay for my flights and hotel, which is the usual deal that I have with vendors to attend their conferences and blog my thoughts about what I see.