Nice Form! Quadrant Boosts Automation and Control in Formtastic
August 19, 2014 Alex Woodie
Organizations that rely on Quadrant Software‘s Formtastic to automate the generation and distribution of electronic documents no longer have to wonder who’s modifying form templates thanks to a new change management feature the vendor has added. Quadrant also added a new automated purge function to the popular product.
For each document generated by Formtastic, the software retains some data about the document, such as what forms were merged with which spool file, where it went, and when it was submitted. This is not a big deal for small shops. But Quadrant has some customers who generate upwards of 50,000 documents per day using Formtastic. For these customers, the additional data can quickly become a DASD storage issue or begin to hurt performance unless it’s purged from the IFS on a regular basis.
Prior to this release, the only way to purge this data was manually, says Marcel Sarrasin, director of corporate marketing for Quadrant. “It’s not difficult but it’s still a manual process,” he says. “So every Monday, for example, our users would have to remember to open up Formtastic to run a purge. Our goal is to make life as easy as possible for our customer. With SP6 we set up a way for customer to schedule purges directly from a native job schedule entry. So now the customers just schedule the purge and it runs automatically on a regular basis and saves them time.”
Security has also been enhanced with this release through the addition of document change management and access control capabilities. In many Formtastic shops, more than one person has access to the forms design tool, which can be used to create invoices, order forms, or even MICR checks. It was up to customers to control who had access and could make changes to the forms.
That’s changing with the new release of Formtastic. “Our customers often have multiple people who use the products, and many of our customs want to be able to control who makes changes to a production document template,” Sarrasin says. “In some cases only certain users should be allowed to move a template out of development and into production. So we added a capability to allow customers to track who makes change to each form, and we’ve enabled our customers to control who can deploy new or modified form template change. This change management tracking data is saved to a database file in IBM i.”
Customers can now see exactly who touched what document and when. “They can better enforce internal document change management protocols, which will help them be more compliant with regulations like Sarbanes Oxley,” he continues.
The new features were delivered with Formtastic version 5.4.5 Service Pack 6 (SP6). As you can tell from the naming convention, this is the sixth SP delivered for the version 5.4.5 code base. Quadrant really, really likes version 5.4.5, and at some point, Quadrant will need to move past it. But for now it’s sticking with the release.