Adobe Gives Enterprise a New Set of App-Building Tools

Adobe has released version 2.5 of Adobe LiveCycle Enterprise Suite, which delivers more interactivity, as well as three new solution accelerators and a batch of new mobility features.

The rollout is significant from a big picture perspective, Chris Ethier, group manager of LiveCycle product marketing for Adobe, told CRM Buyer.

It is part of a larger overall strategy in which Adobe is combining its creative tools, server power and analytics to give businesses a platform to build a centralized view around customer interaction, he said.

Many of the enhancements and upgrades focus on what Adobe does best: document services. The new version has stronger rights management, better protection of content within documents, and a bolstered process management engine.

Users can create RIAs that embed real-time collaboration including chat, voice, video, screen and application-sharing with their customers. LiveCycle ES2.5 provides a toolset and methodology for design, modeling and development of these RIAs.

There is also more customer interactivity in the ubiquitous Adobe Flash Platform and Adobe Reader, noted Ethier.

In the Spotlight

The solution accelerators, however, are the centerpiece of the new application, Ethier said.

“We had these in previous generations, but they were not well supported,” he noted. “Our customers had been asking for support so they could customize the accelerators and then be able to easily upgrade them when the time came.”

The three new accelerators:

  • Correspondence Management Solution Accelerator, which allows business users to create communications using pre-approved layouts and content;
  • Managed Review and Approval Solution Accelerator, which permits multi-party participation in content review processes;
  • Interactive Statements Solution Accelerator, an application that embeds personalized RIAs in secure PDF formats to create credit card statements, telecommunications bills and electronic invoices.

There will be additional investment by Adobe in these three accelerators, Ethier said. “They will be enhanced in the next version.”

Other accelerators will be rolled out as well, he added, but he declined to discuss specifics. “We are working with a strong partner ecosystem to create a variety of solutions. You can expect to see a lot more solutions that will be built on LiveCycle platform.”

Low-Hanging Fruit, Plus Something New

Adobe was smart with its selection of its current accelerators, said Tim Hickernell, an analyst with InfoTech.

“They definitely went after the low-hanging fruit — these will resonate with a large segment of users,” he told CRM Buyer.

Correspondence management, for example, is something that all organizations have — or should have, he said. “Any help in setting up workflows around documents is something most firms will grab at.”

The interactive statements solution accelerator came as something of a surprise, Hickernell added, in that it breaks new ground in this space.

“It’s not just about document management anymore,” he said. “This accelerator allows its users to create statements with analytics embedded in the document. The other two accelerators address existing needs, but the e-statements are bringing something new to the table for Adobe.”

Mobile, Other Enhancements

The mobile component is also a significant new addition to the application. Adobe LiveCycle Mobile ES2, which is new to the LiveCycle ES2.5 family, includes process management, data capture, and content services for mobile devices. It can run on Android, BlackBerry, iPhone and Windows Mobile devices.

There is an updated connector to Sharepoint 2010 that allows users to merge LiveCycle process management with the Sharepoint user interface.

Finally, Adobe will also be delivering a standards-based CMIS (content management interoperability services) connector for abstracting the connection to content management systems — meaning that users do not have to rely on vender-specific APIs to connect to content repositories anymore. The CMIS connector provides a single way to establish that connection as long as the repository supports the CMIS standard.

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