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Document management pioneer ZyLab is looking to make a comeback in the channel.

The company, which launched in 1983 in Chicago with a PC-based full-text retrieval software product, has since branched into Europe and Asia. The expanding company also built a dealer network. In North America, that effort diminished somewhat over time, but the company now seeks to cultivate new ties to resellers and OEMs.

“The indirect channel in North America is a growth market for us,” said Mike Holp, channel manager at ZyLab North America. Company management sees North America as a growth opportunity, in general, for its line of document management and information retrieval products. ZyLab hopes to expand its influence through partners. The company met with success in Europe in that regard and now seeks to “translate that success” on this side of the pond, Holp explained.

Why should a reseller take interest in ZyLab’s overtures? For one, the company has a focus on the midmarket, where many resellers live. Julie Rahal-Marobella, senior research analyst for records management and compliance infrastructure at IDC, said ZyLab focuses on midtier customers with between 100 and 999 employees.

In addition, ZyLab combines both search tools and document management, which Rahal-Marobella said is a characteristic more typical of enterprise content management vendors than midtier vendors. She also cited ZyLab’s scalability as a plus for partners.

ZyLab’s channel foray has already begun. The company has signed three OEMs so far. Oce provides ZyLab a partner on the data capture side. The other two OEM allies, LiveNote Technologies and Supergravity, sell litigation support products that embed ZyLab’s search engine technology.

As for the reseller channel, ZyLab aims to have 10 to 12 alliances in place by the end of 2005, according to Holp. Discussions are underway, but there are no signings at this point, he said. ZyLab maintains a direct sales force in North America, so the company will carve up the market and assign territories to reseller partners as they come on board.

ZyLab and its resellers may find broad opportunities in document management-focused, productivity-oriented projects. Verticals such as litigation support should also come into play.

Regulatory compliance represents another market opening, Holp said. Sarbanes-Oxley, better known as SarbOx, and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) are among the government directives that could fuel a document management sale.

Click here to read about how companies such as EMC and HP are developing technologies to aid enterprises’ SarbOx compliance efforts.

“Suddenly, a lot of packages like ZyLab are on the radar screens of purchasing managers and executives,” Holp said. Document management tools can help companies improve their compliance posture, he added.

ZyLab could prove a fit for resellers looking for a document management ally.

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