Since its premiere seven years ago, Comparting, the international technology forum for document and output management, has become one of the most important meeting places for users, experts and journalists in the industry. Visitors especially appreciate the spirit of innovation the event sparks. For anyone looking into current trends, unique approaches to solutions and tried-and-true technologies for every aspect of physical and digital document processing, Comparting is the industry's "one-stop" shop.
This year's "anniversary issue" (Compart is celebrating its 20th birthday this year) on September 27th and 28th in Böblingen clearly set trends once again.
"Output management is not the end, but part of a long process chain." Event host Harald Grumser, CEO and founder of Compart, made it clear that document processing is increasingly becoming the central hub in enterprise communications. In his keynote address, Grumser noted that ultimately there is a little output in almost all IT applications involving communication. Input and output channels are many and varied, so companies cannot afford to limit themselves to just a few. He emphasized creating "intelligent" documents, ones that can be output in any number of ways – in print, as digital mail, or straight to smartphone. Document creation therefore needs to bid farewell to the A4 format guideline. The CEO also pointed out the challenge this presents: document creation must be strictly separated from document dispatch.
Without a Doubt: Digital is Supplanting Hard Copy
Only in this way can companies remain flexible enough to smoothly and swiftly change communication channels when needed. It was evident in Böblingen that even legally compliant electronic mail is gaining ground as an alternative to the traditional postal letter. Swiss Post and Compart partner Docucom, for example, developed an integrated output management concept for physical and digital dispatch called "ePost Select". The modern web-based solution, whose customers include the Deutsche Bahn, gives companies the flexibility required to integrate new types of electronic communication channels into their existing IT infrastructure without problems and to send documents of various types and formats through the channel requested by the recipient.
Another aspect of digitalization in output management was highlighted by Aitor Velasco of METAPOSTA, an ambitious project of the Basque regional government. Metaposta is a portal for the receipt and management of electronic mail of all kinds; it more or less functions as a home file cabinet. Industries, service companies and citizens alike archive their valuable documents, permanently and in legally binding form, in an online "vault" that can be accessed only via a user-defined PIN. METAPOSTA, closely modeled on the Danish "eBoks" system (www.e-boks.dk), will replace the traditional PO box in future, according to Director Aitor Velasco.
The approximately 300 participants unanimously agreed that digital documents are increasingly usurping physical documents, on the input and output side alike. Current developments such as E-Postbrief, De-Mail and similar offerings in other countries in Europe are an eloquent expression of this development. Accordingly, visitors were very interested in the De-Mail service started by Deutsche Telekom at the end of August, which Michael Kleimeier discussed. Participants were especially interested in how to efficiently set up the new service in companies with a high document volume.
In keeping with this topic, Compart introduced its new DocBridge Pilot De-Mail module, which can tie OM applications to the digital postal service. As a cooperation partner of Deutsche Telekom, Compart again underscores its leadership role in electronic mail.
Compart Stays the Course: Innovation is Top Priority
Yet that was not the only innovation at this year's forum. Visitors eagerly took in the current product developments from the OM specialist during the now traditional "New from the Lab" segment. Without a doubt, one high point was the announcement of DocBridge Mill Plus, the new software for universal document processing. Its graphical user interface allows even users without extensive programming knowledge to configure individual functions as well as entire workflows that are typical in output management. With DocBridge Mill Plus, Compart delivers the improved user friendliness many customers have asked for and again fulfills its promise to enrich each year's conference with advanced developments and innovations, not just in their products but in the fundamentals, a core area of Compart development. Here participants were able to learn about the various innovations for processing different data formats and document objects, especially in area of AFP, IPDS, PDF and XSL-FO. With respect to robustness and performance, the filters Compart develops are constantly being improved and enhanced, as was evident at the gathering in Böblingen. Strong Media Presence and Intensive Networking at Comparting
Other topics covered at the forum included new trends in digital color printing, lucidly explained by Compart partners Ricoh and Océ, and example user scenarios, including from Arvato Direct Services. In his presentation, Oliver Simon demonstrated how using software like DocBridge Pilot can considerably boost performance in document and output management.
The breaks between presentations were intentionally longer this year to allow participants more time to share ideas and experiences, an opportunity they took full advantage of. Even the evening program offered ample opportunities to network. The strong presence of IT, specialist, and industry media was especially gratifying. Lured by Compart's reputation, journalists from Spain made their way to Böblingen for the first time, yet another reason why this year's Comparting was one of the best ever.
The next Comparting will be held November 14–15, 2013 in the Böblingen Kongresshalle.