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Technology / AI and automation


Canadian electronic forms outfit JetForm Corp has re-positioned itself as an enterprise workflow player to go after what it sees as a burgeoning market, and launched InTempo, a web-enabled workflow product that supports virtually any client. The JetForm 5.0 product launched early this year (CI No 3,100) has a strong workflow element, but worked only with electronic forms produced with the company’s JetForm filler. InTempo supports HTML and Java-based thin clients, including most web browsers, as well as thick-client applications from JetForm or other companies. The product includes a graphical process design tool, which enables non-technical users to set up work-flow processes, for ordering supplies or processing expense claims, for example. JetForm says the workflow market is currently split into Production Workflow and Enterprise Workflow. The former tends to handle high volume, departmental workflow, such as would be used by an insurance company for processing incoming insurance claims forms. The market JetForm is playing in is the lower volume, lower cost end, for processes which affect the whole enterprise such as expense claims, human resource functions and supplies purchasing. According to International Data Corp, enterprise workflow currently accounts for about 38% of the overall workflow market, but this is set to overtake production workflow by 2000. JetForm has been evaluating where it sits in this market with the help of IDC and the Gartner Group, and reckons it is already one of the largest players with a 10% market share, although 68% of the market is currently owned by a host of small workflow companies. JetForm therefore believes it has a huge opportunity to become a major player, because it says it has the experience and infrastructure to support very large enterprises. While opening up its workflow product to any client and anybody’s forms may lose JetForm some Form Filler revenues, group product manager Andrew Jackson says the company is confident it will more than compensate for this with growing workflow revenues. It estimates that in North America alone, form filling costs companies some $6bn a year, while the processing of those forms with costs more than $120bn. As well as supporting highly structured workflow processes such as expense claims, InTempo also supports more unstructured processes, such as a document review, where rules are not necessarily so closely defined. It supports all major electronic messaging systems, including Microsoft’s Exchange, Mail and Internet Explorer, Lotus Notes and cc:Mail and SMTP/POP3 mail. It has an embedded output facility, which enables the product of any workflow process to be printed, or faxed or e- mailed automatically. The company’s JetForm design product enables users to output either fully-featured JetForms, or Java- based J-Forms, or special Windows CE-based forms for use with handheld mobile systems. Future versions of InTempo will support Microsoft Outlook and custom applicaitons developed using Visual Basic or PowerBuilder. It will also support Microsoft Active Server Pages. InTempo will be available on Windows NT by the end of the year with pricing based on number of seats, but with 100 seats costing $20,000, and for large scale systems, the average price per user will be less than $100. JetForm has announced an alliance with Sun Microsystems Inc, and future versions of InTempo will run on Sun Solaris.

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