Multifunction Printer Workflow and Document Design Get inFORM’s Attention
May 24, 2011 Dan Burger
Document production and distribution specialist inFORM Decisions has expanded its multifunction printer support on the IBM i server along with updating its data mapping tool for reports, forms, checks, and other business documents. During the COMMON 2011 Annual Meeting and Exposition in Minneapolis, Minnesota, earlier this month, inFORM president Dan Forster provided IT Jungle with an overview of his company’s developments.
With the increasing popularity of multifunction printers (print, fax, copy, email, and scan capabilities in one machine), Forster was most eager to talk about inFORM Decisions’ iDriver 3.0, which expands on the limited support of MFP devices that is provided with the IBM i. The extended functionality applies to MFP options such as finishing, stapling, hold punching, collating, and other features that benefit workflow and reduce manual labor.
The iDriver feature is made to integrate with iFD’s iDocs modular suite of document management tools, but can also be used as a standalone product. Pricing begins at $500 for the driver and $500 per printer license, with volume discounts available.
iDocs is inFORM’s flagship product suite that monitors output queues for spool files, database files, or XML data to process and route documents based on user-defined business rules. It runs natively on the IBM Power Systems server and derives its processing power comes from that hardware, which is not the case with some of the alternative IBM i document management products. Forster says this not only yields faster processing, but is also a factor in security and data control.
Davis Yokana, product manager for iDriver, says the improvements in this tool makes it relatively easy for programmers to add new codes for each new MFP model as it’s released, noting that MFP models are updated fairly frequently, so a design that takes this into account from the programmers’ perspective is important.
MFPs command 67 percent of the hardcopy peripherals market, according to an IDC report in March. IDC states the market “aggressively transitioning away from single function into the multifunction.”
Describing the data mapping tool enhancements, Forster says it is now easier to define complex document applications when creating electronic documents. “Users can define SmartRouting (inFORM’s term for what others refer to as intelligent routing), database mapping, and various types of conditional document scenarios in easy-to-use menus. Native IBM i legacy solutions accomplished these operations in green screens.”
He also noted that iMap allows any graphic or forms design tool that runs in Windows to be imported and infused into an IBM i native electronic document.