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August 8, 2011 /Research /

Don’t Be Fooled

When we shared the results of the Acrobat X Productivity Study that was conducted by Crimson Consulting in June, we proved quantitatively that there are productivity gains to be had when you use Acrobat X across your organization for the most common document creation, distribution and collaboration workflows.

But something was bothering us: What if a clone vendor took some of that data and claimed that their cheap tool delivered the same benefits? We know that’s not entirely true, nor likely, but we want you to be as informed as possible about the unique ways Acrobat can help solve your document workflow challenges. So here are some of the key differentiators of Acrobat associated with the scenarios in the productivity study. You should review the study and built-in calculator for yourself to see what the workflow improvements and cost savings are with Acrobat X.

Electronic Forms Scenarios

Only Acrobat X allows knowledge workers to quickly and easily distribute, collect, track and export information through forms, all out-of-the-box. This part of the study certainly raised a few eyebrows, because it shows that using Acrobat X to aggregate and track responses from an electronic form results in a workflow productivity improvement of over 4000%. That’s right: over 4000%!  It’s simply because nothing else on the desktop can do what Acrobat X can do when it comes to forms and data collection. The key takeaway is that while some clone tools allow you to create a PDF form, edit it, and e-mail it around, they may also leave you to manually handle the process of importing, collecting, managing, analyzing and tracking those forms. And that manual workflow has a negative impact on productivity.

Comment Review and Comment Aggregation Scenarios

We have been able to add comments to a PDF document since the mid-90’s. Acrobat allows comments and markup to be added to be virtually any kind of PDF file (even embedded video, Flash Player-compatible content and 3D) and share those comments amongst reviewers using a central location. We call this Shared Reviews.  E-mail is still the most often used mechanism to exchange files and comments in a typical workflow. This is certainly the case when using clone tools to add comments and markup to a PDF file. Although Acrobat X Shared Reviews was not tested and measured in the Crimson Consulting study, the authors do note that this method of collecting comments does save time and can further increase savings.

Document Comparison Scenario

Acrobat X Pro has document comparison capabilities that show text, formatting, placement and image changes across different types of PDF documents. While some of the clone tools include some document comparison tools, they are more similar to those in much older versions of Acrobat or are designed to compare specific types of documents only. Further, the Acrobat X user interface makes it easier to identify what the differences are as it synchronizes the view between the two versions of the document.

Document Security Scenarios

The list of Acrobat “onlys” is long here. Here is just a handful…

Unlike cheap clone tools, Acrobat X allows customers to digitally sign documents using Roaming ID’s and hardware tokens, with built-in support for trusted root certificates from many of the world’s leading Certificate Authorities. Numerous government agencies, military departments and regulated industries require this. Some nations are even distributing hardware tokens to their citizens. When it comes to digitally signing documents, the clone tools are reliant on Self-Sign signatures or the Windows Certificate Store, neither of which is appropriate for truly trusted or secure infrastructures (although Acrobat does support those methods too).

Today, only Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader conform to international standards for digital signatures, such as PAdES. Both of these applications support Adobe LiveCycle Rights Management, a powerful technology to not only protect documents, but also control access and revoke files too. Acrobat X now supports time-stamping documents from a trusted time source. Finally, Acrobat X is the only desktop application that can extend usage rights to Adobe Reader users so they too can sign and verify digitally-signed documents (and save forms and add comments and markup) at no additional cost.

When all is said and done, different capabilities are good to know about, but it’s important to remember that the savings in productivity far outweigh any savings you may gain in the purchase cost of cheap clone licenses. Check out the study to learn more about how the unique benefits of Acrobat X translate into savings for you and your organization.

Ali Hanyaloglu, senior marketing manager, Acrobat Solutions


Categories: Research

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