Adobe cycles up new process management

Adobe Systems released the latest edition of its LiveCycle server platform this month, bringing new capabilities around process management and workflow to enterprise users, as well as a new developers forum.

The LiveCycle software was first released last year after technology developed by Ottawa-based Accelio Corp., acquired by Adobe in 2002, was integrated into Adobe’s strategy for the PDF format and Intelligent Document Management. The target market is large enterprises in the government, financial services and manufacturing verticals.

Shawn Cadeau, director of product marketing in the intelligent document business unit of Adobe Systems Canada, said LiveCycle is designed to automate any document process that requires human interaction at some point to make a decision. The Java-based software runs on top of IBM Websphere, BEA WebLogic and JBoss.

Cadeau said the new edition includes an improved process designer that uses objects to map out processes without getting down to the code level. New business activity monitoring features, including dashboards and flag triggers, also give insight to managers. “You can really start to tune your process for process efficiency,” said Cadeau.

A subscription-based developer’s program will also give developers access to the technology, plus tutorials and technical support. Cadeau said it’s something that’s needed, with so many enterprise systems using custom coding.

“They’ll get access to the code so they can build on it and enhance it,” said Cadeau. “We want them to take a look at our stuff and realize this base is a great place for them to start.”

The Ablington Memorial Hospital in Ablington, Penn. has used LiveCycle for more than a year to automate a number of their business forms and has beta-tested the new version.

Christine Brutschea, associate director of technology, said the hospital went with the Adobe product because it was easy to use and integrated well with its existing infrastructure, which included Active Directory, SharePoint Portal and a SQL database.

By automating just two documents, in paper costs alone Brutschea said Ablington is saving US$50,000 annually.

Brutschea added that she’s been impressed with the improved search functionality and database interaction of the beta version, as well as the more intuitive developer interface.

“The older version required a little bit more interaction with Java script and Web design, but this new version, a basic systems administrator could use it,” said Brutschea. “From what we’ve seen, it looks like a great improvement.”

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