BigHand Inc., a digital dictation workflow software provider, acquired on Tuesday a direct U.S. competitor, Verdatum. With the acquisition, BigHand will incorporate Verdatum's dictation workflow software, Voice-Flow, into its product platform while continuing to support Verdatum's software and customer base.
Rob Lancashire, chief operating officer at BigHand, told LTN from London that BigHand will merge Verdatum's software into the BigHand platform as well as continue to support Verdatum's dictation workflow software, noting that most Verdatum customers are using Voice-Flow version 3.0. Lancashire did not put a time frame on the sunset to Verdatum support. To the contrary, he said, BigHand will continue to take care of Verdatum's customers whether they choose to continue with Voice-Flow or upgrade to the new BigHand platform. The Verdatum product, however, will no longer receive enhancements or upgrades.
Lancashire, formerly of nFlow, a U.K.-based dictation workflow provider, gave LTN some insight into BigHand's acquisition strategies. Three years ago BigHand acquired nFlow, incorporated the workflow software into its platform, and still continues to support nFlow customers. "Naturally," said Lancashire, "we want customers to migrate to the new BigHand platform," but if they choose to continue with nFlow or Verdatum, "we'll take care of them," he continued. BigHand will be organizing a number of customer meetings in April to discuss needs and future requirements.
With the acquisition, BigHand's U.S. customer base increases by approximately 4.5 thousand to 30,000 users, said Lancashire. And worldwide, BigHand's client base grows to 170,000 users, according to the company's press release.
Prior to the BigHand acquisition, Verdatum was developing two products. Voice-Flow and Verbble, a voice-input system designed to give non-legal businesses speech recognition software to enhance enterprise applications such as customer relationship management applications. Verbble is designed to speech-enable forms, reports, and templates, which will let users talk, type, or click to complete documents.
According to BigHand, John Methfessel, former Verdatum president and CEO, and his management team will continue with the Verbble venture. The rest of the Verdatum team, said Lancashire, including Novette Gish, sales engineer and former head of Verdatum's client services team, and Julie Ortega, former legal productivity specialist at Verdatum, will transition to BigHand, with U.S. headquarters in Chicago and offices in London, Sydney, and Toronto.
Earlier this year, BigHand launched BigHand for BlackBerry 10 to coincide with Research In Motion's global launch of the new BlackBerry 10 platform. The company already supports Apple iOS and Google Android and is currently working on support for Windows 8 devices and an iPad app to approve dictation transcripts, according to Lancashire.
Attorney Sean Doherty is LTN's technology editor.