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Industry News Shorts

This article appears in the issue March 1999 [Volume 8, Issue 3]

Enigma (www.enigmainc.com) has released a new module for its Insight product that links to Adobe (www.adobe.com) FrameMaker and Acrobat. The module is integrated with the just-announced Acrobat 4.0.

The intent is to create fully functional electronic publications that have the reliability of Adobe PDF with the intelligence of XML/SGML. Insight extracts the structured elements of FrameMaker and can use them to create topic-specific search fields for the publication. The gain is quick and focused searching.

The combination is most helpful for large document publishers because it provides "options and functionality while still working in a familiar environment," said Randy Clark, Enigma's VP of marketing, who added that the Insight module is the only product that links FrameMaker, XML and SGML.

For the first time in two years Adobe has upgraded its Acrobat document viewing software.

Users can now add summaries, text blocks, audio clips and digital signatures to PDF documents. They can also convert Word, Excel and other familiar formats to PDF by dragging and dropping them on an icon.

Two additions stand out in the upgrade. A Web Capture feature lets users convert live Web pages--graphics, text and hyperlinks--into PDF form. Acrobat now also supports metadata, so information can be categorized and reused.

The added capabilities have made Acrobat a better choice for document distribution, according to Fred Harper, Web services team leader, Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems (Fort Worth, TX). "It's faster and more cost-effective than ever for us to create materials, receive feedback from reviewers and then deliver final documents to employees."

Acrobat Version 4.0 is expected to ship in Q2 '99 for about $250. Upgrades will cost around $100.

Users can convert and publish pieces of documents to the Internet or CD-ROM with a new tool from Hynet Technologies (www.hynet.com). Using Hynet's Directive Version 2.0, users can import whole or partial documents (e.g. paragraphs, chapters) created in Adobe FrameMaker (www.adobe.com) or Microsoft Word (www.microsoft.com) into an XML database. The documents can then be repurposed and republished to an intranet, the Internet or onto a CD.

The ability to extract and restructure documents according to user needs, rather than the publisher's intent, is of increasing importance to electronic publishers, according to the Delphi Group (www.delphigroup.com).

Version 2.0 comes with a single-server license and 10 concurrent authoring seats, allowing an unlimited number of users and royalty-free distribution via CD-ROM. Pricing varies depending on what you need to do, which could range from simple document conversion to dynamic CD-ROM and Inter/intranet publishing.

Allegis (www.allegis.com) has released a software solution designed to help sales teams plan, manage and measure their sales channel partnerships, ultimately increasing their product's marketshare.

Managers can map channel strategies using a library of sales channel best practices; build extranets to manage internal and external sales interactions; and evaluate the partnership based on sales per channel, marketshare per channel and program effectiveness

Allegis is one of several companies in the new partner relationship management (PRM) market space whose mission is to improve the effectiveness of business partner relationships.

Allegis' focus is on partnerships in the indirect sales channel, which in 1997 accounted for nearly 60% of the total U.S. IT market, according to IDC (www.idc .com) research.

Global services firm Arthur Andersen (www.arthurandersen.com) has thrown its hat into the multi-billion-dollar Web-based training ring with the launch of a new distance learning service.

The Virtual Learning Network (VLN) offers more than 400 educational courses related to finance and accounting, IT skills, employee development and sales and marketing. Users fill out a learning objective related to each course and sign up for subtopics to achieve their objective. Courses can be customized and later reassembled to create a new learning environment. Companies choosing VLN's Quick Start Program can select an initial set of courses and a group of employees to get started in less than 30 days.

In addition to having a smarter work force that can better compete, VLN gives employers consistency, convenience and control, according to VLN managing director Brenda Wisniewski.

"We make it easy for employees to get the learning they need on the job in order to increase skills and productivity," she said.

JetForm (www.jetform.com) has unveiled a new four-pronged strategy of products and packaged applications to help speed adoption of Web-enabled forms. Powering the initiative are the company's newly enhanced electronic forms technologies: InTempo, FormFlow 99 and Web Output Engine, a Web document generator. JetForm's products now also include XML support.

JetForm has also launched a Web application framework that lets companies Web-enable their existing forms.

Also new is a Universal Profile, which populates forms with previously filled-out personal information. JetForm is also building a portal through which users can access thousands of electronic forms, classified by category and keyword, which can be filled out online or downloaded and printed for written response.

With the new Web focus, JetForm is targeting four major customer segments, according to President and CEO John Kelly: Global 2000 companies, government entities, small-to-medium size enterprises and online businesses.

The new Web initiatives "combine our core competencies in automating business processes with the tremendous opportunity and compelling characteristics of the Internet platform," said Kelly.

A new version of its personal PageKeeper Pro document management software has been released by Caere (www.caere.com). PageKeeper ($49) will automatically file documents and monitor them for updates based on user-defined criteria. Traditional document management features are included like search & retrieval (including Similar Search for related documents), annotation and support for every document type including Web documents.

PageKeeper Pro Version 3.0 supports 100 scanners and digital cameras, and runs on Windows 95, 98 and NT.

To reduce product development time, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (Dayton, OH) is upgrading its existing product development system.

Wright-Patterson AFB hosts the Imagery Exploitation facility, part of the Department of Defense's National Air Intelligence Center responsible for foreign air and space intelligence. The government facility develops products and services to help American forces counteract foreign air and space threats and avoid enemy technological surprises.

Convinced it can save time and money in developing those products and services, Wright-Patterson is upgrading its product development system with Unigraphics' CAD/CAM and IMAN PDM software. The deal, which includes training and a year of on-site support, is valued at $600,000.


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