Silverlake - Output Centre

As we all know, the paperless office is a myth. However, it is now possible to deliver documents and reports electronically to employees and customers scattered across the globe. With XML, AFP, HTML and a whole host of new technologies the world of output has become a complex place, but certainly one that is worth reviewing. Output is the vehicle used to disseminate the information companies need to survive and compete effectively in the market place today. Having the latest up to date information can be the difference between success and failure.

But output is also influencing input, data validation and workflow. The new type of intelligent forms that can be presented to an end user (output) can not only validate data entry, but can also distribute the information to other users, update central databases, FAX or email itself to customers or remote users and of course print. Not only does this greatly improve the automatic flow of information, it also streamlines work processes and can significantly reduce operational costs whilst making your information distribution system more effective.

To accommodate this new way of doing business, we need new ways to produce and manage both printed and electronic output. The iSeries supports numerous printing enhancements that help modernize output options for iSeries applications. The iSeries has supported Intelligent Printer Data Stream (IPDS) printers for some time, but support has further been developed to provide new functions. At V5 printing enhancements fall into two major categories: electronic output and electronic layout tools. Electronic output encompasses tasks such as producing reports in electronic format and distributing them via e-mail. Even in the (still prevalent) situation where users ultimately want a printed report, the system can still deliver the document faster and in a more manageable format. For example, e-mail distribution makes it possible for managers to review critical reports even when they are away from the office.

Perhaps the most obvious type of electronic output is the .PDF file. Everything from IBM's V5R1 presentations to TAX forms is now available in .PDF format, so it is not surprising that users want iSeries reports in .PDF format, too. Once you have converted a file to .PDF, you can post it on the Internet or e-mail it to a colleague. In short, you have a completely portable copy of your hardcopy document that cannot easily be tampered with. With V5R1, .PDF support is completely integrated into OS/400 output.