adobe-logo_2009.gifThe word Adobe (news, site) most often evokes images of PDFs dancing on your desktop. Creative Suite does spring in adding a dash of color. But the Adobe we know offers much more than this and today they are showing just how much.

Adobe LiveCycle Enterprise Suite 2 (ES2), the San Jose-based company's answer to building  automated, document-centric business process applications, is being unveiled today at Adobe MAX 2009. This release is packed with so many new tools and functionalities that, if you are like us, you hardly know where to begin. We gave it a good college try though. Have a look.

Adobe LiveCycle ES First Look

LiveCycle ES is Adobe's answer to document-centric business process management. It is document management software offering a number of tools that enable your organization to manage your business processes from any environment -- mobile, desktop and web.

LiveCycle is a software suite built on top of Adobe Foundation. Adobe Foundation offers the services that allow LiveCycle Modules to be centrally deployed and managed. Adobe has taken a very user-centric approach to the design of their LiveCycle software. What that means is that with LiveCycle you can develop applications with:

  • Intuitive user experiences --easy to use and understand
  • Automated processes -- to increase efficiency and improve the customer experience
  • Improved customer communications -- personalized, secure and automated communications

According to Adobe, although the software can be used for employee facing solutions, their real focus is on the enterprise and helping them acquire and retain their customers.

Adobe's last update of LiveCycle was in June of 2008. The company says it has being doing very well in the market with a 30% increase in sales year over year in both enterprises and government. This new release  is a major software release that offers mobile access, content services, new developer services and more.

What's New in LiveCycle ES2

You can package up the new tools and features that come in LiveCycle ES2 in a few categories:

Document Services

There are three new Document Services with LiveCycle ES2:

  • Forms Automation: Easily create new forms with a wizard and no need for scripting. You can break the form down into sections (or panels) and indicate what data goes into each panel.
  • Rich Documents: Create rich PDF portfolios and embed Flash content within the PDF.
  • Security: MS Office files can now be included in rights managed workflows.

Content Services

Adobe has completely embedded the Alfresco document management software within LiveCycle, providing Content Services.

[Editor's Note: See our article Adobe to OEM Alfresco's Enterprise CMS for more details.]

Users can create ad-hoc reviews, comments and approvals without the assistance of IT. Once the process is started, content is converted to a PDF to provide rights management, inline commenting and review. Dashboards for reviewing the status of process are also available.

In addition to ad-hoc workflows, forms data can be configured to be automatically classified when its submitted, you can search rights protected data that is encrypted, shared reviews are automated and more.