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    Earlier today, print and imaging giant Ricoh announced the acquisition of content services software provider DocuWare, extending their long-established partnership with the German firm. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    DocuWare’s strong positioning in cloud document management and the intelligent workflow automation space is an attractive buy for Ricoh—who recently unveiled their new Digital Workplace Intelligence approach earlier this year as part of their continued growth strategy, powered by their Smart Integration platform that provides cloud-based apps and workflow integration. DocuWare brings Ricoh 12,000 global customers and a network of over 600 partners, adding to the Tokyo company’s reported $18.1 billion of revenue.

    The deal is projected to close this summer, with DocuWare operating as a subsidiary of Ricoh. DocuWare presidents Dr. Michael Berger and Max Ertl will retain their leadership roles through the acquisition.

    In response to the announcement, Ricoh Corporate Senior Vice President David Mills commented, “Our ambition at Ricoh is to ‘empower digital workplaces.’ What that means in practice is connecting people to information faster and more conveniently, improving communication and creativity; the synergy between Ricoh and DocuWare speaks directly to this ambition.”

    It’s an ambition that took root in 2017 when Ricoh revealed their plans to grow its digital workplace transformation—a decided departure from their deep roots in the print and production world. However, the messaging out of Ricoh’s executive suite is slightly tempered, reiterating that they’re still a “printing company.”

    Nevertheless, Ricoh has embarked on a three-year growth plan, no doubt spurred by the continued disruption of the printing market that seems to have no end in sight anytime soon. A major tenant of this strategy is dependent on carving out a completely new market for Ricoh by connecting the new customer value inherent in the digital office with the frontline of the business—i.e., the front office.

    As with so many other solution providers out there, the value proposition of the digital business is tied to expanding their services-based model, along with investments in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA). This latest acquisition can certainly be seen as a stepping stone in enlarging their software-as-a-service (SaaS) footprint.

    Lately, Ricoh is displaying a real commitment to the information management agenda and leveraging data and information flows across the enterprise for real business enablement. Competitors, like Xerox and HP, better watch out.

    Allison Lloyd serves as the Editor of DOCUMENT Strategy Media. She delivers thought leadership on strategic and plan-based solutions for managing the entire document, communication, and information process. Follow her on Twitter @AllisonYLloyd.