Adobe continues its play in the ECM market

I talked with Adobe the other day about LiveCycle, the company's enterprise content management suite. It was an interesting call and I wondered why they wanted to talk with me because a first glance LiveCycle doesn't seem to have a lot to do with print, at least on the surface. But dig down a layer or two and print is still there, as persistent as ever as a communications medium.

Every business wants to have more streamlined ways of relating to customers, but the bigger the company, the more difficult this can be. Adobe's LiveCycle ES (Enterprise Suite), is primarily targeted at government and large corporations --think Fortune 500. It is a platform meant to help large corporations and governments more effectively engage with customers, citizens, and partners inside and outside an organization. First launched last June, it is now getting its first major set of revs meant to speed development and deployment of content-rich applications and automate the creation and distribution of PDF documents, including CAD drawings.

For example, you call your financial advisor and instead of him talking about your investments while you frantically take notes, you see all he's saying live. By linking to a secure web site, you see your 401K, the kids' 529 plans, the money you’re setting aside for the ski place at Jackson Hole, whatever, all live and on your laptop screen. The display changes as your advisor discusses various options. Then, as he tells you about some things he wants you to read or see, such as prospectuses and info on ways to rethink your investment strategy, LiveCycle is automatically building a file of customized PDFs that are then printed and sent to you. When the job goes to print in the CRD in his office --or at a local service provider-- the jobs arrive with complete job tickets to ensure they print correctly, fully customized with your account information and based on the discussion you just had.

There is a ton more to this, and because LiveCycle is very a complex suite of software, not all of it is related to print. It looks to be the kind of tool more and more companies will be deploying over the next couple of years and many of us will likely be interacting with it without realizing it. The print side may offer new opportunities for print providers who are already handing printing duties for companies that have or will adopt LiveCycle.