It takes two for Adobe

Digital communications software developer Adobe Systems will combine the document standard PDF and the Web standard Flash technologies in a new software suite for forms processing and document generation.

Called the Adobe LiveCycle Enterprise Suite, this integrated J2EE server software package merges electronic forms, process management, document security, and document generation together in an attempt to reduce paperwork, paper consumption, and potentially solving some regulatory and compliance issues.

Stephane LeSieur, Adobe’s senior territory manager for eastern Canada, said Adobe LiveCycle not a new product per se, but a combination of new technologies in a streamlined environment.

“We want to change the way people engage with documents and people. What we are seeing in the enterprise is organizations have back end systems such as ERP, CRM and legacy mainframe systems and users are spending a lot of time doing transactions with employees and partners, which means they have to tap into different system that have their own interface. This uses up paper forms because they do not have a way to combine it,” LeSieur said.

These multiple paper-based forms can run into the hundred and can cost a business millions of dollars, he added.

The LiveCycle suite takes advantage of Acrobat, Flash, and Reader (which has been installed in 98 per cent of PCs in North America).

“They say PDF is a flat document,” Le Sieur said. “PDF is much more than that. Conversion form Word and Excell is just five per cent of what PDF can do. PDF is an intelligent container.”

According to LeSieur, PDF can interact with back end systems. It can travel with data and can call Web services out of the PDF document.

“PDF is a client platform. It can interact directly with back end systems,” he said.

For example, PDF through LiveCycle can pre-populate documents through the back end so long as the user has logged in. This means if you have multiple forms the contact information will be placed on all forms without re-typing. It can use digital signatures and bar codes. It can also provide one click links that utilize back end systems such as CRM, sales force automation programs, ERP, or third party supply chain systems.LiveCycle with Adobe Flex can generation workflows so that users can manage the process and monitor it with a dash board.

It also improves document security through a security vault archiving systems. “This means if I have to access the vault to extract a document from a contact management system once it is out it is not secure. I can burn it on a CD, put it on an USB key, or email it to a friend,” LeSieur said.

With LiveCycle, those vault documents are now a 128-bit encrypted document and will require authentication. With this you can also assign rights to the document where someone can only read it or print it or can make changes to it.

The product can also do personalized massive printing jobs.

“LiveCycle output for print and email is an environment for massive output such as monthly bank statements,” LeSieur said.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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