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July 11, 2012 /IT /

Can Acrobat Save Me Money?

That question comes up often when I’m on the road, especially from companies looking for ways to reduce the costs of running their IT operations. Which is pretty much everyone I visit these days. It stems from the common IT pain point of having to do more with less and being sure your IT investments are going to the right places. I like this quote from InformationWeek’s Eric Lundquist, commenting on a recent MIT Sloan Conference, where academics and in-the-trenches CIOs and IT execs debated the merits of risk taking: “Rampart storming may work for startups with no legacy to consider, but for larger companies IT investment is more about making the right bets.” These days, common sense rules.

But back to the question. Can Acrobat save you money? Short answer is yes.  Adobe Acrobat and its free companion, Adobe Reader, can have a positive impact on return on investment (ROI) and total cost of ownership (TCO) across the enterprise.  But don’t take my word it.

Customers from a variety of businesses are finding that Adobe Acrobat is a proven solution that helps reduce IT cost and complexity. For example, tax consultancy, McGladrey, expects to save $600,000 over four years by standardizing on Acrobat, and that, they said, did not even begin to factor in all the IT time and effort saved.

Pharmaceuticals company, Astellas Pharma, who introduced Acrobat via the Adobe Volume Licensing program, which best suits large purchases, achieved cost reductions and centralized license management. “We can upgrade without incurring any other charges when a new version is released during the agreement term. This is extremely valuable to us,” said Shuichi Hiraki, associate manager of Infrastructure, Information Systems for Astrellas.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said that in addition to saving $1.3 million in licensing costs in the first year, it estimates it will reduce costs by $750,000 per year by reducing the number of purchase transactions from more than 500 to a single transaction each year.

Quantitative Research

Recently, we commissioned the Forrester Consulting Group to look into the question, too. The study, “Total Economic Impact™ Study of Adobe Acrobat X,” looked at seven current Adobe Acrobat X customers and identified a series of IT and end user productivity costs savings by standardizing on Acrobat X. These include reimaging systems cost savings, end user productivity gains from more efficient patch deployments, IT cost savings in managing patch rollouts, and cost savings from converting PDF to Microsoft Word or Excel.

Based on the interviews, Forrester created a financial analysis for a composite organization of 1,000 Adobe Acrobat X users. Over three years, the IT staff time that the composite organization devoted to patch testing and release declined from seven months (pre-Acrobat X) to three weeks (with Acrobat X).  IT also saved three hours per machine on hardware reimaging by automating the deployment of Acrobat X using Microsoft SCCM. The three-year, risk-adjusted ROI for Forrester’s composite company was 112 percent, with a breakeven point (payback period) after deployment of 11.8 months.

The Forrester study helped confirm some things we already know about how Acrobat X can benefit an IT organization:

  • Enhance existing systems and processes to increase organizational productivity
  • Help safeguard systems and data
  • Easy deployment and management across the entire enterprise
  • Quick data collection using fillable PDF forms
  • Streamline PDF tasks
  • Expedite document reviews and approvals

Mike Vizard of IT BusinessEdge wrote recently, “Most companies are looking for a way to do what they have always done more efficiently rather than experimenting with something totally new and different no matter how much upside potential there might be.” If this is you, stay tuned.

In future posts, I’ll look at some of the topics from the Forrester study and pass along what customers are saying about the impact Acrobat is having on their IT organizations. In the meantime, check out the Acrobat IT Resource Center for tips and tricks and insights into how to make Acrobat work for your IT shop.

 Mark Grilli, senior director of Acrobat Solutions product marketing


Categories: IT

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