Share the Work

By SmallBusinessComputing Staff | Posted September 01, 2000
by Wayne Kawamoto

Work Manager Suite 2.5
Rating 90

For offices looking to improve the way they share and manage paper and electronic documents, Eastman Software's Work Manager Suite 2.5 offers a very attractive solution. This suite combines powerful document imaging, document management, and workflow software into one system that works seamlessly with Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange. Included in the suite is Eastman Software's Imaging for Windows Professional Edition 2.5, WorkFolder for Microsoft Exchange 2.5, and Document Manager for Microsoft Exchange 2.5.

Imaging for Windows does a good job of converting paper documents into electronic ones that may be viewed, edited, stored, and routed to e-mail or Exchange Public Folders. Notably, the program uses the TextBridge Pro engine to perform OCR, which, in our testing, yielded impressive conversion results.

WorkFolder works within Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange to track documents in progress. Documents can be stored in Microsoft Outlook in-boxes by project, department, and other categories, as well as shared via Microsoft Exchange Public Folders. The application competently tracks deadlines, status, and project leaders. We liked the interface tabs that let us quickly access task items, discussions, and project histories. Advanced users can also create templates that standardize folder content and behaviors.

Completing the suite's trio is Document Manager, which offers access to documents contained in Exchange Public Folders. This program provides competent tools for controlling revisions to documents, managing attachments, and specifying access privileges to documents via Exchange security. Users can also track multiple versions, and search for documents.

All of the applications work seamlessly together. For example, Document Manager can scan paper documents using Imaging, and WorkFolder can link with documents stored and in Document Manager. The interfaces are fairly intuitive. Anyone familiar with Outlook will be right at home. However, there is a definite learning curve, not only in learning how to use these programs, but also in understanding their in-depth features.

The installation process is lengthy and involved. It's easier for those who understand network concepts and are comfortable configuring Exchange. With some effort, we successfully installed and configured the applications on our test network. But Eastman Software encourages customers to obtain professional guidance when installing the programs, and we concur.

Work Manager Suite 2.5 is a solid fit for companies that rely on Microsoft Exchange. The only downside is that there's no support for Windows 2000. Overall, it's a competent package that Microsoft houses needing improved collaboration will want to consider.

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