Quadrant’s Formtastic Keeps Closer Watch on Print Jobs
January 8, 2008 Alex Woodie
While there are many upsides to document management technology, the capability it provides users to generate practically any document with a just few keystrokes–such as printing oneself a bonus check from the company’s coffers–is a powerful invitation for fraud. Quadrant Software recently addressed this problem (if not the temptation) with Formtastic 5.4.1, a December release of its i5/OS-based document management solution that introduces new auditing tools designed to make business’ data, documents, and dollars, more secure.
Formtastic is a widely used and mature suite of i5/OS and Windows software products designed to merge variable print stream data originating from System i servers with pre-defined document templates, enabling customers to use standard laser printers to generate custom forms, labels, and checks, and to eliminate pre-printed forms. The software has been in use for years at companies using many midrange ERP systems, including J.D. Edwards, BPCS, PRMS, S2K, and MAPICS, and features a variety of add-on modules for MICR check printing, for pre-formatting i5/OS output, for generating tax forms, and others.
In response to the need for greater security, the Tampa, Florida, company last month announced a new release of Formtastic that would enable greater scrutiny of the critical print jobs Formtastic processes for users. In addition to these features, version 5.4.1 also introduced user interface enhancements, improvements to PDF generation and printing, and better support for signature pads, among other enhancements.
On the security front, a new audit reporting capability was added to Formtastic to help managers ascertain how the product is being used in conjunction with other Quadrant products, such as IntelliChief, the company’s Windows-based content management system, and its FastFax product line, which is used to send and receive faxes and e-mails.
Being able to track requests made among the products helps boost security, Quadrant says. For example, if a user creates a purchase order in Formtastic that is faxed or e-mailed via FastFax, and archived by IntelliChief, the new audit reporting capability will record those transactions, which is useful for reporting and troubleshooting purposes, the company says.
Formtastic’s 5250 user interface also received enhancements that will boost security by allowing managers to sort and filter merges processed by Formtastic. The new “work with jobs” screen shows the type of document, such as form, check, or label, the type of merge (manual or automatic), the date and time of the merge, and the user that initiated the job.
Other attributes are also tracked by the system, such as whether the data was a spooled file or a database file, where data was output, documents within the job, and the existence of embedded API commands. All these are aimed at tightening the system and preventing unauthorized use of the software.
A final security improvement was added to prevent check fraud. With Formtastic 5.4.1, a manager is provided with ways to track all print jobs involving blank checks.
On the PDF front, the new release of Formtastic should be better able to deal with large PDF print jobs. Users can now set up the software to automatically convert multiple merges to PDF, including merges involving multiple locations.
The product’s support for signature capturing devices, such as the ones from Topaz, has also been improved. Previous releases of the product supported signature clipboards, such as the Topaz ClipGem. Now it supports the Topaz Signature Pads, enabling customers to capture signatures for proof of delivery, invoicing, and other customer service purposes.
A series of miscellaneous enhancements have also been added to the product, including new purge commands for deleting job, audit, and file history information that is unnecessarily taking up valuable disk space; new API commands for automatically archiving check images in IntelliChief; and a new shorthand for calling up Formtastic menu choices from the green screen.
Formtastic 5.4.1 is available now. Pricing still starts at $8,400. For more information, see www.quadrantsoftware.com.