Yesterday Rak Bhalla from Adobe spent some time with me explaining the first update to their Adobe LiveCycle Enterprise Suite (ES). One way to describe LiveCycle ES would be an enterprise wide software solution with the aim of reducing or eliminating paper. The interesting part to us CAD people in this update is the addition of something known as PDF Generator 3D ES, basically a server based solution to automatically create and distribute 3D PDF files.
Priced at $60,000 for a perpetual site license, it’s quite obvious that LiveCycle ES is not meant for the individual user or even small businesses. It is targeted towards medium and large businesses running an ERP or PLM system or some equivalent home grown business process system. The “E” in LiveCycle ES stands for Enterprise, and like all enterprise solutions, it does not work out of the box and needs to be customized.
PDF Generator 3D ES sits on a server and keeps an eye on special network folders. As soon as users dump files into these folders, it determines what to do with them (that’s the customization part) and then does it. As the name suggests, it generates PDF files and places them in another set of folders or sends them across to the concerned people within or outside the company. For example, lets say someone from the procurement department wants to send a Request For Quote (RFQ) to a bunch of suppliers. He will simply drop a Word document and a CATIA model into one of the network folders. PDF Generator will immediately spring into action. It will automatically read the CATIA model and insert it into a PDF RFQ document created from data stored in the Word document and then directly send it to the suppliers via email. Later it will accumulate the data from the PDF files returned by the suppliers, assimilate it into a single concise PDF file and send it to the concerned person in the company for further action.
As you can see, the aim here is not just to reduce paper, but to reduce time (and possibly employees) as well. And as you can imagine, such a solution work will need a great deal of customization. So I imagine that the $60,000 for the site license will be the least of the problems.
Adobe LiveCycle ES Update 1 is expected to become available on 17th July 2008. As regards competition, Rak was of the opinion that Microsoft was the only company worthy of consideration. Incidently, LiveCycle ES works on Windows only.