Adobe Document Services
Insights, trends, news and more.

Posts tagged "Study"

August 8, 2011

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


Bookmark and Share
9:00 AM Permalink
May 24, 2011

New Study Shows Adobe Acrobat X a Strategic Choice for Enterprise Productivity

It’s always interesting to look at products that you are quite sure you understand well, and to be amazed at how different they are.

This occurred recently when we were asked to look at Adobe’s Acrobat X from a different angle, as a productivity enhancer and collaborative workflow enabler rather than pure document distribution software. Document creation and distribution is of course a core activity for knowledge workers, and an increasingly collaborative one. The question is how best to support this activity, especially as collaboration expands to include more people both inside and outside the organization.

We used our software testing lab to explore typical collaboration and distribution workflows, using Acrobat X in combination with productivity software such as Microsoft Office 2010 and back-end collaborative solutions such as Microsoft SharePoint 2010. The test subjects were knowledge workers with varying levels of expertise. No previous knowledge of Microsoft Office or Adobe Acrobat was required, and all subjects were trained on each workflow prior to the test to eliminate learning curve effects. We also talked to a group of IT decision makers around the world to get their perspective on how much of their users’ time is spent on basic, collaborative workflows.

Adobe has really focused on commenting and collaboration tools in Acrobat X and in particular Acrobat’s integration with the creative process, typically Microsoft Office. The surprise for me was the speed and usability of Acrobat X’s capability to import the comments and collaborative information from groups of users back into Office.

The results of our study clearly show that Adobe Acrobat X can deliver significant productivity increases and cost savings compared to productivity applications and collaborative back-ends alone. For some common workflows, using Acrobat is almost twice as fast.

In case you think that we tested some exotic activities be reassured these are quite basic, core processes that you probably use every day. Here are some samples:

  • Review a text-based document with existing comments and add comments
  • Review a spreadsheet with existing comments and add comments
  • Review a presentation with existing comments and add comments
  • Compare two documents and review changes
  • Aggregate comments in text-based document into a document
  • Aggregate spreadsheet comments into a final document
  • Aggregate presentation comments into a final document

In some cases the improvements were quite modest, only 8% on spreadsheet review, but on comparing two documents and reviewing changes it was 60%! Aggregating text document comments into a final document shows an 80% improvement!

You can read all the details in the study we published but the bottom line is that unfortunately the ubiquity of PDF files tends to make IT professionals and knowledge workers alike overlook  Acrobat, which has steadily been evolving into a very rich set of collaborative tools. Using Acrobat simply as a means of converting documents to PDF obscures its strategic benefits to an organization. As part of the standard desktop image, Adobe Acrobat X can enable IT to support more efficient collaborative document creation, review, and distribution.

Chris LeTocq, Crimson Consulting Group

Bookmark and Share
8:00 AM Permalink

Ask a question

Acrobat XI Pro
Experience the full power of PDF with Acrobat XI.

Upgrade from

US $ 199 00 Buy

Free trial

or call 800-585-0774

Acrobat XI Standard

Acrobat XI Standard
Get what you need to get the job done right.

Upgrade from

US $ 139 00 Buy