RealTime IT News

Adobe Heads Deep Into The LiveCycle

Adobe Systems  has upgraded its LiveCycle software, a suite the company launched nearly three years ago as a way to make document forms more dynamic.

Now called LiveCycle Enterprise Suite (ES), the software is still designed to securely automate business processes so that companies can better serve their customers, partners and suppliers.

Products such as LiveCycle are important for government agencies and financial service providers, which can use LiveCycle ES to interact with customers with self-service applications.

But this new flavor of LiveCycle ES integrates the capabilities of Adobe Flex development environment and PDF technologies with the graphics capabilities of Adobe Flash Player and Adobe Reader to improve the way businesses work with their customers.

Brian Wick, group product marketing manager with Adobe, said that while LiveCycle went a ways to improve the how forms were populated to facilitate business processes, Adobe's customers required even easier online forms for account enrollment, claims processing or self service.

To wit, LiveCycle ES lets businesses boost their forms with wizard-driven Form Guides and Flash-based graphics, ideally to improve the way users interact with online forms.

LiveCycle ES captures data and automatically processes it with the help of rules engines, data stores, and Web services, Wick said. The software also features digital rights management, digital signatures and document certification capabilities to help businesses protect sensitive information.

In one use case, a couple searching for financial planning information may register with a site that uses LiveCycle ES on the back end. Once the company enters their information in the online forms, the data is fed to the company's back-end systems, which generates a packet of information to send to the couple.

In another scenario, an insurance broker setting up policies for customers can click on a link in the insurance application and trigger a Web conference with one of the company's underwriters.

Adobe will make LiveCycle ES available in two editions in July: LiveCycle ES Business Transformation Edition and LiveCycle ES Data Capture Edition.

The LiveCycle Business Transformation Edition includes the data capture edition, process management, digital signatures, rights management, and output. The LiveCycle Data Capture Edition includes regular and bar-coded forms, data services and reader extensions tools.

LiveCycle ES is the latest in a raft of product rollouts and business developments for Adobe, which goes toe-to-toe with Microsoft  in the market for rich Web applications.

The company last week unveiled a beta version of ColdFusion 8, the latest iteration of the Web site development tool Adobe gained when it bought Macromedia in 2005.

In April, Adobe agreed to make parts of its Flex framework available free under an open source license. Adobe also plans to update Flex and its Apollo Web platform next week.