In an effort to help IT managers manage the creation, format, storage and presentation of documents, Toronto-based Xenos Group has released its Integrated Document Solution (IDS).
Xenos said IDS, which it referred to as a "document lifecycle tool," will help organizations ensure brand consistency as well as give them full control formatting and delivery of critical information, without requiring changes to the back-end system. For example, the data handling software could index and transform documents to be able to securely output them for recipients to access and review in a Web-based portal.
Jeff Mills, practice leader for IDS and managing director of Xenos Europe, explained the challenges faced by one of Xenos' European clients.
"We had a wealth management company in the U.K. that effectively had separate data streams from their back-office systems that need to be consolidated down into a single format," Mills said. "They needed documentation to be built and sent to their independent financial advisors which contains all the details for all of their customers. You can imagine that's quite a lot of information."
Mills said that many companies are using legacy systems and have major problems in turning data into a deliverable format. He said that back-office systems, often years past its prime and with its creators retired, are archaic systems that aren't meant to be an end-to-end solution.
"With this financial company, they had a big clunky machine on a mainframe that had to print the data and then mail it through to the IFAs," Mills said. "What we've done is taken this data, put it through a very modern document composition system, compose the documents in color with graphics, and then deliver it to the IFAs on the Web."
The product can also integrate directly into an existing Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system or through a 'plug-in' for document creation programs such as Microsoft Word, Adobe InDesign and Adobe Dreamweaver.
"Customers can tell us how they want their information delivered," Mills said. "They could quite as easily want the data to go to their mobile phones or straight onto their e-mail systems."
According to George Goodall, senior research analyst at Info-Tech Research Group Inc., Xenos' product is a promising one because of its approach to the document management space.
"Xenos is not focusing on collaboration, storage or control of the documents," Goodall said. "The real focus here is the transition points as information moves from a system to a repository and as people request those documents back out of the repository."
According to Xenos, the product has been tested primarily on companies in the bank and insurance arena because they often push out the most documents. Goodall said the product will most likely suit document-centered organizations.
"The company that will benefit most from this kind of thing is anybody who deals with regulated documentation," Goodall said. "Organizations such as municipalities, banks, utility and insurance, companies will be interested because they deal with a lot of documents." Another potential selling point for companies, according to Xenos, is the need to go green.
"This is a great way of reducing the carbon footprint for most companies," Mills said. "We can attach the product to your back-office systems without changing them and deliver the documents any way you want. This saves on unnecessary printing and paper waste."
And despite Xenos' relatively small size, Goodall said the product could help them emerge in the crowed document management market. "It's still the wild west out there," Goodall said. "As of yet, the market leader hasn't really emerged in this area."
Xenos said the price of the system varies and could range anywhere from US$100,000 to US$1 million. Mills said the variance depends on how much the customer needs done as well as the state of their current infrastructure.