SOURCE: IBM

November 18, 2008 12:22 ET

New IBM Forms Software Speeds Business Departments Past Paper Delays

ARMONK, NY--(Marketwire - November 18, 2008) - IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced new IBM Forms software that speeds up business processes by removing bottlenecks caused by paper and by allowing employees without technical skills in any department to create electronic forms or surveys in minutes, which could save clients as much as $500,000(1) per year.

Until now, compiling forms and surveys required several technical workers weeks, not minutes, at a significant cost in information technology (IT) department time and salaries. Today, however, electronic forms are increasingly employed to overcome the bottlenecks caused by inefficient, paper-based forms and as a way to reduce a company's carbon footprint.

The new version of IBM Lotus Forms, 3.5, makes it simple for nontechnical employees to quickly create, store and route e-forms inside and outside of an organization via e-mail and the Web. New features allow employees to automate and compose their own forms, without needing software to be installed on individual PCs or requiring help from inundated IT departments.

"Companies are realizing that paper is a roadblock for e-business, and cutting down on its use also helps reduce their carbon footprint," said Larry Bowden, VP, IBM Portal, Mashups and Forms Software. "From HR to sales to finance, empowering individuals to rapidly and easily manage forms removes bottlenecks and frees up resources, making an entire organization more efficient."

IBM Lotus Forms 3.5 software, capable of handling the most challenging projects such as insurance and tax forms, comes with new "Turbo" software. Turbo, also available as a stand-alone product, handles simple tasks such as employee on-boarding, leave and vacation requests, customer satisfaction surveys, job applications, product orders, and opinion surveys. Based on an open software platform and Web 2.0 technology, Turbo works with IBM WebSphere Portal software to provide one familiar interface for a company's customers and employees.

IBM WebSphere Portal Web 2.0 software is designed to securely combine information from both the enterprise and the Web. A portal is a technology for providing external and internal Web sites which can deliver information, applications, and processes to provide a personalized experience to individuals. Like other Web 2.0 technologies, they are increasingly being used by businesses to empower employees with content, social connections and other tools to solve problems.

Deutsche Sporthochschule or "Germany Sports University" of Cologne, Germany has automated the entry and processing of athletic data using IBM Lotus Forms, IBM WebSphere Portal and the school's IT system. Prior to employing this solution, the staff had an isolated view of an athlete's records and needed to transcribe this data from spreadsheets and XML files. This limited the quality of data for use in evaluations for research.

"We are excited about new IBM Lotus Forms software because it makes it easier for us to design forms for new projects. Now with IBM Lotus Forms, athlete records are directly entered into forms. This helps validate the data right up front. Then it is posted directly onto the IBM DB2 database software system. After this, complex, role-based searches can be conducted through our portal search engines," said Mr. Nils Noell, Chief Technology Officer, Deutsche Sporthochschule.

Using electronic forms is one way to reduce the amount of paper used by an organization. A recent IBM No Paper Weight Study indicates that when companies stop printing their "born digital" documents, paper consumption can be reduced by between 80-90 percent. The newest version of IBM Lotus Forms helps organizations easily move all of their workers towards a paperless environment, freeing them from the burden of slower business processes and tasks encumbered by storing, printing and filing paper.

With Business Partner EIM Corporation, IBM is helping the US Army automate processes. The US Army represents one of the world's largest e-forms installations. IBM Lotus Forms are currently used by more than 1.4 million Army personnel worldwide, yielding an estimated $1.3 billion(2) in cost savings to the US federal government. For more details about this savings and a related news announcement, visit www.ibm.com/press.

IBM Forms support open standards based e-forms built on XForms, for compatibility with existing customer systems, providing an advantage over competitive offerings. New IBM Lotus Forms has improved digital signature capabilities and supports Safari browser 3.1 on the Macintosh platform.

For a free test drive of the new IBM Lotus Forms, visit https://greenhouse.lotus.com.

(1) IBM estimate of the cost for several technical experts to design and implement a multipurpose e-forms solution for an enterprise.

(2) Source: U.S. Army audit.

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Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Michelle McIntyre
    IBM Global Media Relations
    mc@us.ibm.com
    408-483-6681