Symtrax Delivers Mobile Interface for Document Management Suite
March 19, 2013 Alex Woodie
Symtrax last week unveiled a new release of its Compleo document management suite that gives customers the capability to monitor document production from any Web browser, including those on smart phones and tablets. The new Web interface in version 5.4 will also allow users to perform some limited management tasks within Compleo, like restarting a batch distribution of PDF invoices via email, or remotely switching MICR check printing runs to a backup printer when the primary printer goes down.
Compleo is a suite of output management tools that is well-established in the IBM i community. The software offers a range of document-related capabilities, including the conversion and distribution of spool files from ERP systems via email, fax, the Web, and hard-copy printouts. Other major functional components of the Compleo stack include: a forms overlay tool; support for generation of XML and EDI documents; reporting capabilities; a document archive; and an integrated job scheduler.
Like most document management suites, Compleo tracks errors and will automatically notify an administrator when something goes wrong. For years, Symtrax has relied heavily on email to send notifications. After receiving the email, it was up to the administrator to find a PC to log onto the Compleo management console to address the problem.
That approach will change as a result of the new Web-based interface that Symtrax introduced in Compleo 5.4. Instead of relying on email for error notification and needing access to a Windows-based PC to take action, the administrator can view the error log by logging onto the new Web interface that Symtrax provides. From there, the administrator can perform some limited management tasks, such as stopping and restarting printers, email servers, and XML-based Web services.
The new Web interface will present critical information to administrators wherever they happen to be, says Frank Yacano, director of US sales for Symtrax.
“You can see which jobs are currently running, which jobs have successfully completed, and which jobs ended abnormally,” he says. “If a job is running, you can literally monitor page by page if you wish to, but it’s kind of boring. What you would typically do is you’d say, ‘I know from experience that every day at 2 o’clock this batch job should have kicked off. Let me go check. Yes, it kicked off. It’s going to complete at 2:20. I’ll go check at 2:30 to make sure it completed without errors, that my checks have run, and that my vendors will be paid.”
As people become more mobile, Symtrax will provide them the information they need to do their job. “We find more and more people are not sitting at a desk,” Yacano says. “Even if they are on site, they’re walking around. Quite a few people in EU have said that this is something they’re encouraging their companies to adopt, to give people the ability not to be pinned to a desk.”
The interface does not allow full management of Compleo. There is no way to create new workflows within Compleo, which would involve merging raw ERP output with document templates, and then outputting them via printers, emailed PDFs, or XML Web services. You also can’t add new users to the system with the mobile interface.
Compleo users will get the most out of the new Web interface if they combine it with some forethought and set-up work, particularly as it relates to licensing and configuring the failover features that Symtrax sells.
“We have a different type of server software that’s designed to automatically keep a mirror up, and automatically fail over if the first one stops,” Yacano says. “You can’t, from the mobile device, say, ‘Oh I should have listened to Frank and bought the automatic failover software. My server’s dead.’ I can’t help you if you didn’t plan for it.”
The Web interface is designed to work with today’s popular Web browsers running on Android and iOS devices. In the future, Symtrax plans to push more functionality, including management capabilities, into the Web interfaces and to optimize them for specific mobile devices. This is the first step in a multi-year effort to move as much management functionality into the Web interface as possible.