The Stamford, Conn.—based company currently handles more than 70 percent of physical transactions, i.e., statements from credit card companies, banks, and brokers, in the U.S. It is being increasingly squeezed, however, in a world where physical mail and other print products are being replaced by digital devices.
At the Insights user conference in New Orleans, La., John O’Hara, president of Pitney Bowes Business Insight, discussed the company’s expansion into solutions that handle big data and analytics, among other areas.
While Pitney Bowes reported a five percent revenue decline in Q1 of this year (as compared to last year) its software division grew 15 percent, according to O’Hara.
“What’s happening is we’re in a shrinking market because mail volumes are declining,” O’Hara says. “We’ve got that heritage in physical [mail], but now we’re moving into the digital space as well.”
As part of its expansion strategy, Pitney Bowes is investing in marketing solutions through a two-prong approach. The first is in the “provision, gathering, and management of data,” O’Hara explains. “We are expanding into full master data management. Over the next 12 to 18 months you’ll see that evolution as we become a stronger MDM player.”
The second is via its acquisition of analytics applications provider Portrait Software.
Acquired last year, purchasing Portrait Software was a “key move for us since it allows us to get into the customer analytics space and the inbound and outbound management of [users’] communications with customers,” O’Hara notes.
The company is also carving a space for itself through partnerships with data marketing firms like Acxiom and Experian Marketing Services.
Despite its ambitious growth plans, Pitney is selective about the areas it plans to pursue, O’Hara adds. “There’ll be some parts that we want to play in and other parts that we just want partners to play in,” he says. “For example I can’t see us getting involved in the creative side of the business. We’ll leave that to the pure play marketing services providers.”
In terms of acquisitions, Pitney Bowes has also acquired companies like MapInfo, a geographic information system and Group1, an integrated mail, messaging, and document management solutions provider.
Building on its MapInfo and Group 1 Software acquisitions, Pitney Bowes has released a location intelligence and management platform called Spectrum. The company recently announced that Facebook selected its Spectrum platform to add global geocoding, reverse geocoding and other products for integration to Facebook’s applications and services.
Pitney Bowes is also adding connections between Spectrum and Portrait Explorer (a self-service analytics tool that lets users perform their own ad-hoc queries and reports) providing enhanced capabilities.
While mail volume and print products continue to decline, O’Hara is confident that digital solutions and partnerships will open new doors for the company.
“It’s an exciting time,” he says.