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ARMONK, NY - 17 Dec 2004: IBM today announced that the United States Army has chosen to deploy an integrated forms management solution based on technology provided by IBM, PureEdge and Silanis. This breakthrough technology will provide an infrastructure to automate form-based business processes. The Army relies on forms for everything from supply ordering and pay disbursement to medical recordkeeping and the awarding of citations and the new solution will dramatically streamline this process -- saving time and money.
Previously, the Army had the ability to convert paper-based forms into digital files that could be accessed from an official web site. However, while it was possible to fill-in the form and store the data electronically, users were forced to print a paper copy, manually sign and then hand-carry or mail the form to complete the authorization process.
The new solution comprised of XML-based eforms, digital signature and content management software will not only support the automation of the administrative process but it will now allow the Army to provide a single solution to automate the entire form functional process. Additionally, by utilizing a single solution department-wide, the Army will be able to replace existing redundant "stovepipe" technologies across different divisions (e.g., logistics, medical, and personnel) thus simplifying the workflow for soldiers.
As part of its new Forms Content Management Program (FCMP), the Army turned to Enterprise Information Management Inc. (EIM) to construct a solution to streamline and automate the form-based processes. IBM, PureEdge and Silanis were selected based on their ability to effectively meet the security and reliability requirements while providing the ability for soldiers to seamlessly access all form-based processes through the Army Knowledge Online portal.
The new e-forms solution is designed to streamline the flood of paperwork that surrounds every component of military life -- from personnel evaluations and supply requisitions to award certificates and medals. The primary purpose of the FCMP is to establish an Army enterprise IT infrastructure that will automate all current manual form-based processes.
Army representatives note that, "The Forms Content Management Program revolutionizes the Army's form-based activities. The advancement of the Army's e-forms system will enhance the readiness of our warfighters and personnel around the world," Furthermore, "the implementation of the IBM DB2 Content Management, PureEdge e-forms and Silanis Digital Signature technology will transform the manner in which the Army has managed information for more than 200 years, automating business processes currently managed by forms."
The deployment of this technology means that for the first time the Army will have a single, centralized format for electronic documents based upon open standards and commercially available technology, allowing the Army to eliminate redundant technologies and standardize processes. Units in the field will be able to view the same forms as their counterparts at other bases worldwide and capture all the required data in a single Extensible Markup Language (XML) format that can then be quickly and securely transmitted via email. With the benefit of auto-population of data, the soldier will no longer be required to enter the same data on multiple forms. XML is an industry standard computer language that allows database programs to rapidly identify information and place it in context within a form or document.
Advanced Content Management
The ability to capture, retain, retrieve, search and manage data in an electronic format is critical to automating today's business practices. Utilizing the IBM Middleware Solution for Government eForms and Records Management -- a suite of IBM software products including IBM DB2 Content Manager, IBM WebSphere, IBM DB2 Information Integrator and IBM Tivoli Monitoring, the Army is able to manage and manipulate data from a single database across a wide range of applications and forms.
"IBM has been at the forefront of the information management revolution," said Janet Perna, General Manager, IBM Software Group. "The advanced features of our industry-leading content management software offer a level of security and reliability that other software programs can't match."
PureEdge XML Based E-Forms
Over the past several years, PureEdge XML based e-forms have played a central part in modernizing e-forms systems across the Department of Defense. Numerous government organizations requiring accessible solutions that are secure and easy to implement have chosen PureEdge e-forms as the basis for their business process automation, these include the US Air Force, US Department of Defense, US Treasury FINCEN, Department of State D-Trade as well as the SEC.
"In today's geopolitical climate, it is increasingly important for government and military organizations to automate processes to expedite communications and information transfer among personnel around the world," said Mark Upson, CEO, PureEdge Solutions. "PureEdge e-forms are quickly becoming the chosen standard for secure forms-based business processes throughout the Department of Defense as the U.S. Army joins the U.S. Air Force in deploying our solution."
Digital Signature Technology
Using Silanis' ApproveIt solution, the Army can now deploy end-to-end electronic form and non-form based approvals with digital signature technology. Advanced approval functionality supports the validation of the signer's identity, confirmation of the certificate validity, and invalidation of signatures on documents that have been modified. This enables the Army to become a truly paperless workplace -- meeting planned federal technology requirements.
"The modernization of the Army depends on migrating processes from paper to the web. A critical component of this migration involves the adoption of digital signatures -- as the need for approvals typically drives processes to paper for signing and routing," said Richard L. Warren, Chief Executive Officer of Silanis. "Over 70,000 Army personnel have already been using our digital signature solutions for critical approvals on documents and forms. With this award, now the entire Army will have access to our solutions for the automation of key processes."
The eforms solution is currently undergoing a phased deployment.
Business partner information including strategic alliances
Information Management, Lotus, Tivoli, Rational, WebSphere, Open standards, open source