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IBM, Adobe to draw up digital documents

Big Blue says it will integrate technology from the document-software maker into its brands such as DB2, WebSphere and Tivoli.

IBM has signed an agreement with document-software maker Adobe Systems, the latest deal in the growing market for digital documentation.

Big Blue will integrate Adobe's Form Server, Form Designer and Reader products with its DB2 Content Manager and DB2 CommonStore products designed for businesses. This move is intended to help businesses automate their existing paper-based processes. Later on, Adobe software will be meshed with two more IBM lines: WebSphere and Tivoli.

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The deal is latest in the trend to facilitate the use of digital forms and documents. Technology companies such as Microsoft and Adobe, for example, are each working on separate e-form projects. Interest in e-forms is also a result of the growing adoption of Extensible Markup Language (XML) as the common language of business data.

"Documents are a key currency of business, and the ability to digitize, centrally store and manage them enables businesses to respond to employees, customers and business partners faster and with more efficiency," Steve Mills, group executive at IBM Software, said in a statement.

IBM said by that combining DB2 Content Manager, Adobe Reader and portable document format (PDF), labor-intensive tasks such as filling out and processing mortgage applications can be fully digitized. This could help businesses lower processing, storing and retrieval costs, IBM said.