Eastman Software nabs imaging workflow pact

The Social Security Administration has awarded Eastman Software a $5.1 million contract for imaging workflow and computer-output-to-laser-disc (COLD) software that ranks the buy among the largest federal or commercial installations of the technology.

SSA plans to deploy the software to 11 000 users in its six Program Service Centers and its Office of Disability and International Operations (ODIO) during the next two years. The software will be used to electronically deliver correspondence forms and internal agency data to employees' desktops said Frank Fitzpatrick program manager for the agency's Paperless Program Service Center project.

Based on a pilot that involved 40 workers in Chicago during the past two years Fitzpatrick said that over the seven-year project life cycle SSA expects to save labor that is equal to the amount of work 600 employees would perform in one year. This would be accomplished in part by creating a system to consolidate— in one online file— all the forms scanned correspondence and other data pertaining to each case an employee handles.

An SSA beneficiary "might have several pieces of actionable items floating around " Fitzpatrick said and different people might be working on each item. With the new software SSA "can have one person make a knowledgeable decision on what action should be taken."

Industry analysts said the purchase from the General Services Administration's multiple-award schedule is typical of the current trend in the acquisition of high-end workflow software which is designed to automate large numbers of repeated transactions. Although there are not many installations this large "the technology is robust enough to support that kind of deployment " said Gerry Murray research manager with International Data Corp.

The award is also a significant win for Eastman Software said Nathaniel Palmer senior consultant with Delphi Consulting Group. "It demo nstrates that they are really running away with the federal sector right now " Palmer said adding that research his firm has conducted shows Eastman Software close in revenue only with Universal Systems Inc. a prominent vendor of workflow software in the federal market.

Eastman Software will provide Microsoft Corp. Windows NT-based versions of its imaging workflow and COLD wares. SSA will start deploying the software at its Philadelphia service center and the ODIO in Baltimore and then roll it out to centers in New York San Francisco Kansas City Mo. and Chicago.

The award is "showing the viability of the Microsoft NT platform for high-end imaging and workflow applications " said David Lipstein Eastman Software's director for market research.

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