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.

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