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OS/400 Edition
Volume 3, Number 23 -- June 10, 2003

Electronic Forms Integrate with Content Manager

by Dan Burger

Organizations using IBM's Content Manager for iSeries and Content Manager for Multiplatforms have a new option when it comes to electronic forms and document management. The new kid on the block is Cardiff Software, manufacturer of electronic forms software branded as LiquidOffice. Cardiff's LiquidOffice is a Web-based e-form management system for creating, deploying, and automatically managing the routing, tracking, and approval of electronic forms. It has developed a solid reputation over the years with users of Intel-based servers.

Content Manager for iSeries provides document imaging and workflow. It has a browser-based thin-client interface, supports the OS/400 Integrated File System, includes logging options that track use, and provides host-based application integration using OS/400-based APIs supported from RPG IV, ILE COBOL, and ILE C. It has an installed base of iSeries users that numbers approximately 2,500, and, as is the case with the document management business in general, the banking and insurance industries are the most common customers.

Content Manager for iSeries and Content Manager for Multiplatforms are key pieces in IBM's DB2 Enterprise Content Management portfolio of products.

Content Manager for Multiplatform is a multi-tiered, distributed architecture that offers support for Intel, Unix, and MVS operating systems, various databases, and applications; has scalability to grow from a single department to a geographically dispersed enterprise; and has the capability to handle document management and digital-asset management tasks.

The key to connecting LiquidOffice to external platforms and products are components Cardiff calls connect agents. Cardiff uses three types of connect agents within the LiquidOffice system: data connect agents, image-archive connect agents, and custom connect agents.

Forms processed through LiquidOffice can be connected to data targets using prebuilt data connect agents, which also support ODBC- or JDBC-compliant applications. Archive connect agents create PDF and XML index data for completed forms, which can be used to populate a wide range of content and knowledge management systems.

In this case the integration between Cardiff's LiquidOffice and IBM's Content Manager was accomplished by ImageTech Systems, using LiquidOffice's connect agent API. ImageTech Systems is a certified IBM content-manager business partner and a systems integrator that focuses on enterprise-scalable electronic document management systems and workflow solutions.

With the connect agents, LiquidOffice users have the capability to export completed HTML and PDF forms and related attachments to IBM Content Manager systems. The electronic forms are indexed and archived in PDF format, along with any attachments in their native format. Once the forms are archived, authorized users can conduct sophisticated searches to retrieve a requested form.

The Content Manager system also allows customers to take advantage of workflow processes and allows the electronic forms to become an element of those established processes.

One of LiquidOffice's best features is real-time database validation and calculations, to help eliminate errors, and an auto-fill capability, which minimizes the amount of data needed to be entered, by prepopulating form fields with information obtained from automatic database look-ups.

Current users of Content Manager will pay $15,000 for the connect agents that allow LiquidOffice integration. The cost of the LiquidOffice software was not available at press time.

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Managing Editor
Shannon Pastore

Contributing Editors:
Dan Burger
Joe Hertvik
Shannon O'Donnell
Timothy Prickett Morgan

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Jenny Thomas

Advertising Sales Representative
Kim Reed

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