February 25, 2013
Forms? Are we still talking forms in 2013?
Well yes, we are. The HP 3000 is still attached and networked to printers which produce forms, based upon what we've heard out of the homesteading customer base. Much like the overall "paperless" dreams of the 1990s, using forms in some format remains a constant for companies.
It's not an inconvenience to IT. There's been multi-platform solutions in the market for MPE/iX, and other allied environments, for nearly two decades. Some companies have helped to eliminate the need for such software since the start of the PA-RISC era. Hillary Software comes to mind with its byRequest lineup. It works on reports to what seems like any platform, including the BYOD devices. The object with byRequest is to eliminate the need to ship off paper, and thoroughly automate the distribution of electronic files.
You can employ any form created on printer with byRequest. It re-creates and fills in these forms, and it adds fax (needed for US government communications) and email distribution.
Indeed, there are workflows where the customer expects to receive paper. The dead-tree practice tends to involve paying and receiving revenues, especially billing. One of the 3000-friendly apps which handles this has gotten an update to add features.The 9.0 release of Minisoft's eFORMz has been rolled out, adding a web app for managing and configuring its print monitor configs and processes. Minisoft calls these toolkits in the software, a product that was long-ago revived to employ Java for easier multiple-platform support.
The software, whose major elements run on a workstation under Windows (including 8) and Macs (including Mountain Lion OS), has added support for high-res Postscript plus older-school tech: Zebra barcode label printers.
There's also a new job scheduling feature in 9.0. "Schedule the time and date for any print or email process to execute," the product's release reports. "Process your larger print files and/or bulk emails during slower periods."
Minisoft has also added new archiving capability to eFORMz, which could be useful for storing anything that's still got to be printed. But by the same token, there's a transFORM add-on module for byRequest. With more than one solution available to 3000 managers, this must be an accepted practice in the MPE marketspace. We edge ever closer to paperless, but it might be like the horizon. Seemingly nearby, but always just out of reach.
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