Today Acrobat Goes to “11”

October 1 marks a major milestone for the Adobe Acrobat business. We’re launching Adobe Acrobat XI. Acrobat XI software with cloud services is a powerful new solution that rises to today’s complex document challenges for creating, consuming, sharing and securing PDF content across devices and platforms.

We’ve added several much-asked-for features that are aimed at making life easier for information workers like you. Acrobat XI features complete PDF editing and export to PowerPoint; touch-friendly capabilities on tablets; sophisticated web contracting with Adobe EchoSign; and forms creation, data collection and analysis with Adobe FormsCentral.

We’ve added features IT people have asked for, too:  seamless Microsoft Office and SharePoint integration, easy deployment, applications virtualization and robust application security to provide a low cost of ownership and sound return on investment.

The new Acrobat XI family includes Acrobat XI, Adobe Reader XI and newly integrated document services, Adobe FormsCentral and Adobe EchoSign.

It’s About Productivity

The explosion of digital documents in the workplace has created new challenges for productivity.  With Acrobat XI we’re taking on the issues that are dragging down individual and organizational productivity.

Each week, individual information workers spend half their time searching, filing, organizing, merging and editing comments, obtaining signatures, reviewing feedback and consolidating data, or collaborating with people outside their organizations. IT departments struggle with integrating and managing a diversity of platforms, devices and services, while trying to protect sensitive corporate IP and personal information.

Information workers are asking:  “How do I do what I was doing before, but work in this new environment?”

And organizations of all types are faced with adapting to this complexity, while driving their businesses forward, wondering: “How do I accelerate revenue, secure my IP and continue to evolve my workers capabilities to meet these new challenges?”

These productivity, collaboration, device and security issues have a significant impact on organizations. We’re calling this the Document Productivity Gap. The key to closing the gap is to recognize  that it is a set of compounding issues, multiple, little things that add up to have a big impact.

We asked IDC to take a closer look at these inefficiencies and the impact document-based challenges have on information workers and IT professionals.  One finding startled me. According to a recent global IDC white paper, sponsored by Adobe, the addressable impact of these inefficiencies on an organization of 1,000 employees is almost $16 million annually.  And those are the addressable gaps – not theoretical nirvana that is impossible to reach, but very realistic, tangible gaps that can be closed today. For example, if we could bridge the gap we could add 21.3 percent to an organization’s resources – or the equivalent of 213 employees for every 1,000 people at an organization.  Even if we recover just half of this productivity loss, it could equal hiring close to 100 new employees for a 1,000 person organization.  Imagine the impact of 100 new engineers, salespeople, marketers or IT professionals?

What “11” Means: Customers Weigh In

With the new release, we have made significant innovations across the desktop and the cloud to address the gap.  We wanted to:

  • Enable information workers to unlock PDF content with comprehensive tools for both editing and content reuse.
  • Accelerate document exchange using PDF and the web, forms data collection, review, approvals and eSignatures.
  • Empower employees to be productive on the go with PDF on tablets and smartphones.
  • Mitigate risk and lower IT costs with the most advanced document and application security.

It looks like we’ve succeeded. Acrobat XI has gotten high marks from customers that were in our beta program. These customers are typical of those dealing with the gap.

Security is high on the list for many. Mike Mann, release and deployment analyst at tax and finance consultancy, McGladrey, said, “Our client information is sensitive, so document security is critical. Acrobat XI offers advance document protection capabilities that are easier than ever for our staff to uniformly secure documents.”

Bill Lunsford of BBDO Atlanta likes the speed and efficiency he gets with the integrated services, especially EchoSign. “The new EchoSign features within Adobe Acrobat XI will streamline everyday tasks. These days, no one is going to stand at a fax machine to wait for approvals. Being able to electronically sign a PDF on cost estimates for a project will accelerate go-to-market schedules.”

Yvonne Willis, enterprise applications and project manager at Pillsbury Law, echoed that: “Security is the talk of the town. All of our clients expect the highest level of security, from our documents through our applications and IT environment. Acrobat XI provides key security enhancements that support both users and IT professionals.”

Regarding accelerating document exchange, Saul Morse, vice president of multichannel integration, Palio, said, “Acrobat XI now makes it even easier and faster to create PDF forms and to automatically distribute and collect information with new online forms services available within Acrobat XI.”

But BBDO Atlanta’s Lunsford summed up Acrobat XI best: “I leverage the heck out of Adobe Acrobat because I can cut down on the resources and my IT department loves me.”

Today is October 1. Mark it down as the day we close the gap.

Kevin M. Lynch, SVP and GM of Acrobat and Document Services, Adobe

Follow Kevin on Twitter: @LynchKevinM