Adobe Systems has established its products as the ubiquitous desktop client for viewing dynamic forms and documents, most notably with its Adobe Reader and Flash Player. With more than 900 million connected desktop computers and devices utilizing Adobe client software, there is no doubt that Adobe products are an integral part of the business landscape.
In 2004, the company launched LiveCycle, a set of servers designed to make forms and documents more interactive, extending PDF to back-end processes. The latest version, LiveCycle Enterprise Suite, merges this with the Flex and Flash capabilities from Adobe’s acquisition of Macromedia, providing companies with the ability automate business processes with customer engaging forms and user interfaces. Based on a re-written and unified J2EE server platform, LiveCycle ES provides a collaborative development environment for automating business processes across industries such as financial services, manufacturing, life sciences, and government. As a player in the human-centric category of BPM, Adobe currently has more than 1,300 LiveCycle ES customers.
• Encourage the creation of “customer engagement” applications that are web-based processes to help simplify and automate process that cross organizational boundaries and improve communication with external constituents.
• Provide a unified, standards-based platform that supports SOA and web services to create processes that extend back-office systems outside the corporate walls.
• Build on momentum of Reader and Flash products as de facto clients for engaging users to execute human-centric processes.
The latest version of LiveCycle ES has been designed to enable collaborative development. With a standards-based J2EE foundation and an Eclipse-based integrated development environment, LiveCycle ES runs on a wide variety of platforms. The solution utilizes SOA to connect with back-office interfaces. LiveCycle ES offers an inclusive development environment with development and production repositories that can be shared among different types of users. The solution is available in a turnkey configuration with JBoss, WebLogic, WebSphere, and runs on Windows, Solaris, Linux and AIX operating systems.
Adobe finds that its customers are typically using three different methods for implementation. Some have contracted directly with Adobe for professional services, while others choose to use one of Adobe’s many regional systems integrators for assistance. Finally, some of the customers choose to implement the solution themselves. Average implementation time varies, but typically runs six months. However, with the latest release of LiveCycle ES, there have been a number of implementations that have been completed in the three-month timeframe.
CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS
• Build strong use cases in vertical markets to expand reach of solution across targeted verticals.
• Strengthen partnerships in target vertical markets to deliver stronger offering to customers.
• Increase packaged solutions offerings, including forms, templates, solution accelerators to enable customers to more quickly implement the product.
• Clearly define how LiveCycle works with existing traditional integration and business process management solutions that customers may have.
Adobe LiveCycle ES is an intelligent and powerful extension of several desktop client applications that have become indispensable in everyday business. Leveraging the ubiquity of Adobe Reader and Flash, LiveCycle ES enables organizations to create human-centric business processes that engage the end user in a format they are already familiar with, an important component of the ultimate success of BPM. The latest version of LiveCycle ES solves some of the challenges of earlier releases by replacing more than 12 separate servers with one unified J2EE server platform and an integrated development environment that promotes collaborative development by all stakeholders. This product shines in human-centric processes that require approvals or exceptions tied to forms but do not require heavy back-office integration and transaction processing.
Upside Research believes that Adobe has a compelling solution for extending the use of interactive forms routing and online rich internet applications that seek to engage customers. While the product is not intended to do some of the heavy system-to-system process integration or back-office transaction processing that other BPM solutions provide it fills an important need in the market for a process solution that can be rolled out via user centric interfaces to a variety of constituents. Extending some of the pre-packaged component of LiveCycle ES will further enhance the product’s differentiation in the market as well as its ability to be implemented more quickly.