Since October, Laserfiche has been talking up a storm over the new Laserfiche 9 and while a great deal of information has been released since then, the full potential of the product only became apparent this week when CEO Nien-Ling Wacker officially released the new product at Empower 2013.

 Enterprise CMS, BPM

The focus here was always going to be about Enterprise CMS combined with business process management as Laserfiche had already started down that road last year in the Laserfiche 8 release.

In what can only be described as a scant PR around the v9 release, Laserfiche focused on two different sets of functionalities. While very interesting, they are not really the selling point here, even if the functionalities are key. They include:

  • Web-based forms that extend business processes to the point of capture.
  • Functionality specifically designed to increase executive oversight of business processes.

But what’s really going to sell this is the ECM-BPM integration as enterprise content management spreads into all areas of the enterprise and impacts on all kinds of different technologies.

We have seen over the year the level with which vendors are adapting their systems to changing needs by providing mobile access for workers on the road or social features for those enterprises that are looking for tools that will not only manage content, but also facilitate collaboration across global enterprises.

Laserfiche 9.0’s really strong suit is its ability to provide not only comprehensive enterprise content management, but also to integrate business process management functionality all under the same hood. This focus emerged in Laserfiche 8, which was built to help organizations centralize information as well as streamline information management practices.

In Laserfiche 8, it did this by eliminating information silos -- something which many vendors are still struggling to do -- to ensure that all enterprise data was accessible to all those who needed it, when they needed it.

Laserfiche 9, for its part, takes this further again by taking the core enterprise functionality to a new level with tighter integration of its enterprise CMS tools with its business process management tools across the entire suite while at the same time introducing significant capabilities for automating business processes.

And without going into the specifics, Laserfiche says that it is working towards providing comprehensive business process functionality across the entire Laserfiche product line so that it will be able to provide users with functionality that updates databases, exchanges information between different software products and exposes information to users exactly when and how they need it. (Check out the launch video below from Empower 2013).

Laserfiche 9

As Laserfiche seems keen to push them, let’s look at two of the things that it has singled out for attention in this release. They are:

Laserfiche Forms

These allow organizations to collect process and route information electronically across the Web. The product itself is Web-based and enables users to collect or work with information, and feeds that information into business process that define where the information will go and how users and other processes interact with it.

The business process is designed in the Process Modeler, which is built around the business process model and notation standards. Different forms can be associated with each step of the business process, enabling those who build the forms with design information specifically for users or for specific processes.

Laserfiche Business Processes

These are new to Laserfiche 9 and are described by Laserfiche as “super workflows” that provide more options for task management and process reporting. With them, users can start workflows on a document from the Laserfiche Client or Web Access and report on the workflow process as it happens. All workflows can be labeled as business processes, which will enable users to view that workflow from the primary Laserfiche interface.

In addition, Workflow 9 allows the user to define what information or process they want to report on. This is done using workflow creators, which simply configure steps in a business process/workflow that will be reported on. A number of new features have been implemented in the Laserfiche Client, Web Access and Workflow to support the new functionality.

Keep in mind, though, that this is a full point release and that there are heaps of interesting features and functionalities that may be of interest.