EFI acquires DirectSmile and Expands Workflow Solutions

Posted on by Dave Erlandson | No Comments »

It wasn’t a surprise when I saw a recent press release announcing EFI had purchased another software company; that’s a regular event. However this announcement was different in that the acquired company was not an MIS company. This time it was DirectSmile.

DirectSmile is best known for inventing image personalization technology back in 2001. At PODi, we loved writing up case studies http://www.podi.org/Case-Studies/ that used the technology. There were applications with names written in the sand, clouds, flowers, etc.  And the response rates to those campaigns were terrific and leading edge at the time.

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DirectSmile like others in the personalization arena have evolved from VDP point solutions to cross media and now to marketing automation. DirectSmile’s offering now includes media personalization and automation software that streamlines sophisticated marketing and production tasks for corporations, agencies and printing companies.

This acquisition follows EFI’s acquisition of OPS back in October of 2012.  Combined with EFI’s industry leading Digital Storefront offering these three entities provide technology that will allow EFI to provide a complete workflow solution for end users who want to create data driven, personalized cross media marketing campaigns.  This is new territory for EFI as most of its current software is used by printers to streamline internal production workflows.

DirectSmile co-founder, Christoph Schacht noted “DirectSmile customers will be able to achieve higher levels of automated, targeted marketing success as well as gain important new efficiencies through integrations with EFI Fiery digital front ends, EFI Digital StoreFront and other products.”

By providing an integrated workflow from end user through to delivery EFI is building more value into their entire suite of products.  I should note they are not alone in this strategy.  Xerox acquired XMPie quite some time ago and offers it FreeFlow suite of workflow products and its FreeFlow controller.  Ricoh has taken ownership stakes in PTI Marketing Technologies and Avanti and continues to expand its TotalFlow offering.  And Konica Minolta recently launched a new cross media product called EngageIT XM to go along with its new workflow product called EngageIT Automation.

All of these players recognize the need to offer solutions that make it easier for end users and print service providers, which in turn helps grow demand for digital print.

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