Brussels-based document management specialist SA SoftCore NV, the first European firm to receive funding from Apple Computer’s European Venture Capital Programme (CI No 1,690), has launched a UK subsidiary in Egham, Surrey. The firm had previously been distributing its Macintosh-based systems in the UK via systems integrator England Green Ltd, based in Hounslow, Middlesex; now […]
Brussels-based document management specialist SA SoftCore NV, the first European firm to receive funding from Apple Computer’s European Venture Capital Programme (CI No 1,690), has launched a UK subsidiary in Egham, Surrey. The firm had previously been distributing its Macintosh-based systems in the UK via systems integrator England Green Ltd, based in Hounslow, Middlesex; now England Green has moved to Egham and dropped its other activities to devote itself to document management products as SoftCore’s formal subsidiary. Five-year-old SoftCore claims some 80 installations in Europe – by comparison, Digital Equipment Corp’s MegaDoc, the market leader in document image processing systems which DEC gained when it bought out Philips Electronics NV’s Philips Information Systems business a year ago (CI No 1,722), claims 270 European installations. SoftCore’s flagship product is ArchIS, now at version 3.0, which is a modular document management software architecture.
It includes HyperDB, a multi-user database manager running in the Apple Macintosh environment which can link up to Oracle, Ingres and Sybase relational databases, and a HyperCard object-oriented user interface – alternative interfaces can also be supported. SoftCore has just announced two new versions of its ArchIS software package: ArchIS File and ArchIS Documentation. The company says ArchIS File has enabled it to bring the cost of document management systems down to UKP10,000, from around UKP50,000. The former price will now buy a standalone Macintosh-based system, including scanner, optical disk and all necessary software. SoftCore managing director Gerrit Bus claims that, although there are plenty of peripherals on the market such as scanners and jukeboxes, there is a relative scarcity of applications software available; SoftCore hopes to change all that. ArchIS File enables users to import, store, retrieve and output a variety of types of document, ranging from straight text to X-ray photographs and digitised video, directly onto the desktop. Ms Bus highlights its facility for enabling users to organise and search for information through a hierarchical folder structure or through the use of key words as being a product differentiator.
Apple Computer Inc has been promising to put money into promising European technology companies for several years now, but it has remained largely a promise up to now. But there is one company that has had the benefit of Apple cash that is up and running, SoftCore of Brussels, and SoftCore has just arrived in person in the UK. Sue Norris was on hand to greet it.
All text in the title fields is automatically indexed and all document and field information can be viewed, edited, changed or exported to other Macintosh applications. The product is also scalable for use in a network (a 10-user, Ethernet-linked system with jukebox, peripherals and software, would cost around UKP50,000). ArchIS Documentation is a combined information retrieval and document management system which enables users to centralise, archive and retrieve information, targeted at documentation centres. It organises information via references to one or more documents in a database. The documents located can then be viewed, printed or exported to other applications. ArchIS Documentation has been developed using Acius Inc’s 4th Dimension Macintosh-based relational database, which has been integrated with the ArchIS archiving technology. Both products are available now, directly from SoftCore UK in Egham – ArchIS File is UKP2,500 for a single-user version, UKP15,000 for 20 users; entry price for a single-user version of ArchIS Documentation is UKP3,000. SoftCore, which established its first subsidiary in France a year ago, expects to turn over some UKP2m this year, though managing director Gerrit Bus says that this figure will grow fast now that the new ArchIS products are shipping.
The firm, which is not yet profitable, employs 33 staff, only three of which are in the UK. The European expansion programme is being financially supported by Adve
nt International on behalf of Apple. ArchIS customers to date include Apple Computer, British Petroleum International, Chanel, KPMG, and Volvo Trucks Europe. The firm, whose development efforts have been based around close links with the Free University of Brussels, has a joint development agreement with DEC to integrate ArchIS into DEC’s Network Application Services client-server environment. ArchIS is being implemented for other graphical interfaces as they become established in other environments – the document and archive server applications are currently being converted for the DEC VAX/VMS environment; CCITT and ASCII document formats are being implemented; and DEC’s DECwindows/Motif client application is also being integrated. The IBM Corp RS/6000 AIX environment is another that SoftCore may soon support. The DEC collaboration is interesting, given that the firm is, as mentioned above, the proud owner of the market-leading document image processing system, MegaDoc.