ACOM Expands Content Manager with New Search, Blackberry Options
January 15, 2008 Alex Woodie
It has recently become easier to access business documents stored in ACOM Solutions EZContentManager, the affordable Windows-based archival system designed to work with i5/OS applications and data. In December, the Southern California company announced two new capabilities for EZContentManager, including the new EZRetrieve module for searching the document store from Windows or 5250 screens, and a new module for managing the store from Blackberry smart phones.
Long Beach, California-based ACOM Solutions has been involved in document management technology for the AS/400, iSeries, and System i servers for a long time, primarily with its EZeDocs/400 and EZPayManager/400 line of software, which enable users to generate and distribute electronic forms and MICR checks and make payments over the ACH network, respectively.
About two years ago, ACOM launched EZContentManager, or EZCM, which it positioned as a no-frills content management system that small and mid size businesses (SMBs) could get started with for as little as $10,000. By automatically capturing invoices, purchase orders, and other business documents as they’re generated from i5/OS and Windows applications or scanning outside documents, converting them to PDF documents stored in the SQL Server-based archive, and then allowing users to search and access the PDFs from a Web browser, EZCM made it easier for geographically dispersed SMBs to access documents, according to ACOM.
With the foundation of EZCM in place, ACOM decided it was time to build on that core functionality by allowing users to access their EZCM data stores from a wider spectrum of devices and user interfaces. That brings us to the new EZRetrieve and WICKSoft options announced by ACOM last month.
EZRetrieve is a new ACOM offering that gives EZCM users the choice of accessing their data stores from a Windows thick client or a 5250 green screen. The software is designed to allow users to pull up their EZRetrieve screens by pressing a hot key on their keyboards.
EZRetrieve makes accessing EZCM significantly faster and more convenient, says ACOM product manager Angela Doolittle. “As a single hot-search facility it saves fully seven steps that normally are required in order to access a document,” she says. These steps include opening the browser, locating the EZCM server, clicking the “user log-in” button, logging into the domain, signing in, typing the target destination, and finally activating the search function.
“While this process may represent only a minute or two for each support call,” Doolittle says, “collectively it can represent a major loss of time for staff members in departments like accounting or purchasing who also may be engaged in productivity processes.”
One way ACOM foresees EZRetrieve being used is by customer service representatives to speed the customer interaction process. If an employee needs to access the EZCM data store, he can simply press a defined hotkey that brings up the EZRetrieve screen, which can be either a Windows screen or a 5250 screen. After logging on, performing a full text or metadata search, finding the document in question, and either reading, e-mailing, or printing the document to the customer, the user can close the EZRetrieve screen and continue working in the business application.
“Initial response from the EZContentManager install base has been enthusiastic,” Doolittle says. “Our users will be delighted that they don’t have to interrupt their work in order to respond to inquiries.”
EZRetrieve requires EZCM version 3.3.1. The software is available now. Licenses cost $2,995, which entities the customer to an unlimited number of individual users.
While EZRetrieve reduces the steps required of office-based employees to access documents, ACOM has expanded the EZCM document store to mobile employees with the new WICKSoft Mobile Documents, also announced in mid-December.
WICKSoft Mobile Documents is software developed by WICKSoft that allows users to access a variety of third-party document and content management systems from Blackberry smart phones. ACOM entered into a partnership with WICKSoft that enables the software to work with EZCM.
With WICKSoft Mobile Documents configured on a Blackberry smart phone, users perform a number of functions against their EZCM data store, including searching, viewing, downloading, e-mailing, and faxing their EZCM-based documents. No changes to the EZCM system are required to incorporate the WICKSoft functionality, ACOM says.
“Any document or capability in EZCM that is available from the desktop is also available to mobile users from their Blackberry,” Doolittle says. “Operation is simple and intuitive. Users log in on their Blackberry device, select WICKSoft Mobile Documents from a list of mobile applications, select ACOM EZCM, and proceed through a series of menus until they isolate the domain and the document they need.”
Users can perform any authorized activity directly from the Blackberry, Doolittle says, including creating and deleting documents, e-mailing documents as attachments, and renaming documents. The WICKSoft software also includes document scrolling and zoom functions that make it easier to read documents on a smaller screen.
Ottawa, Canada-based WICKSoft launched WICKSoft Mobile Documents in October 2006, when the product was called PocketVPN. Since then, the software, which installs on Windows servers, has been used against a variety of document and content management systems, including Microsoft SharePoint Server and Novell products.
For more information on the new EZRetrieve or WICKSoft Mobile Documents products, visit ACOM’s Website at www.acom.com.