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IBM Brings Web 2.0 Usability Features to Web-Based Electronic Forms Processing


IBM Lotus Collaboration Summit -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announces a new version of its electronic forms software that allows customers and partners to take advantage of rich, interactive, open-standards based electronic forms in a Web 2.0 environment.

IBM Lotus Forms accelerates integration with third-party software and back-end systems, saving time and money, providing greater ease of use and seamlessly integrating with back-end systems and compliance tools.
This means customers can now extend business processes outside the firewall by making it simple to create, fill out, sign and submit forms data via a Web browser -- without downloading additional software.

Using Web Services, Lotus Forms provides a wizard-based interface that works tightly with Service Oriented Architectures (SOA). This makes it simple for customers to pre-populate forms with existing system information to help reduce data entry errors and improve employee productivity by streamlining process automation and reducing operation costs.

Customers such as Australian wealth management company Australian Mutual Provident Society (AMP) are benefiting from the reduced time and cost it takes for customers to process new business. Using IBM Lotus Forms, AMP, IBM and business partner Spheronic converted existing insurance application contracts into electronic formats in May 2007. The companies integrated the Lotus Forms solution with AMP’s existing financial planning systems, customer relationship management database, business applications and automated underwriting rules engine.

“Our challenge was to give financial planners and their clients the flexibility to do business with us in a way that suited them while delivering significant efficiencies and savings to AMP and planners,” said Mike Diamond, IT Director, Product Manufacturing at AMP. “Using IBM Lotus Forms made it much simpler and more cost-effective for financial planners to work with us.”

Electronic forms generated with Lotus Forms helps customers and business partners address compliance concerns by embracing industry standards in numerous sectors including the following: government, insurance, banking and financial services, healthcare and consumer products/manufacturing.

Leading e-signature provider Silanis Technology has enabled its ApproveIt Desktop software to support IBM Lotus Forms. Due to Silanis’s extensive electronic signature expertise, the US Army’s chose to implement Silanis e-signatures software in conjunction with a forms and content management system from IBM using Lotus Forms.

More than 2000 Department of the Army (DA) PureEdge forms can now be routed electronically, saving countless labor hours, eliminating lost documents, providing online reporting and tracking of forms, and significantly improving the Army’s ability to support deployed soldiers from anywhere in the world. A US Army audit estimates it will save $1.3 billion annually once the program is fully deployed.

GXS Trading Grid, the world’s largest global integration services platform, uses Lotus Forms as a key component of its B2B solution set to enable small and-medium-sized businesses to conduct e-commerce with larger trading partners, including retailers and large manufacturers. Pre-populated forms increase the speed and accuracy of document turnaround for users, while built-in template capabilities save re-keying time and minimize data entry errors.

Tom Varghese, senior global product manager at GXS, said, “GXS has integrated Lotus Forms as a key part of the on-demand solution set available via GXS Trading Grid. Through Lotus Forms we have enhanced our application offerings and have made it simpler for businesses of any size, type or geography to participate in B2B e-commerce. We anticipate continued use of this service from IBM and look forward to the benefits of additional functionality in the future.”

Key features of Lotus Forms 3.0:

Rich Web 2.0 internet application technology and digital signatures to move forms-based business processes off the desktop and onto the Web.
Tools that enable browser-based business-to-consumer and government-to- consumer applications through scalable, security-rich electronic forms without requiring the download of additional software or plug-ins. Businesses and government organizations may now deliver core business processes to their customers or constituents via the Internet and enable forms completion -- including digital signature capabilities -- without concern for managing the software levels on the consumer’s computer.
Integration capabilities that enable Lotus Forms to serve as an intelligent, dynamic front end to business processes to make it easier for organizations to use existing systems and IT investments (eg: WebSphere Portal, WebSphere Content Management, Filenet P8, Lotus Expeditor, WebSphere Process Server, SAP and Siebel).
Technologies that close the loop on the application management process by enabling clients to use options such as an electronic signature pad, swipe cards and fingerprint scanners to digitally sign the form, helping to secure data and making the end-to-end business process paperless.
“IBM’s electronic forms are changing the landscape, whether it’s improving records management in the banking industry, making government more responsive, or helping ensure compliance with insurance industry standards such as ACORD,” said Larry Bowden, vice president of portals and interaction services. “Lotus Forms ushers in the new era of the intelligent form, where the form carries with it the logic for routing, taking action depending on user entered data, conditional dynamic interactions, and meshes with new Web 2.0 technologies to deliver exceptional ease of use for customers.”

Lotus Forms 3.0 comes with expanded platform support including i5/OS PASE and Microsoft Windows Vista. Lotus Forms 3.0 is available now with an SRP* for the Lotus Forms Server 3.0 product of $400USD per Processor Value Unit (PVU). Lotus Forms Designer 3.0 and Lotus Forms Viewer 3.0 products are available at SRP of $670USD and $115USD respectively. For more information, visit:


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