Observations from NextDocs ShareFest

By Peter Duff | April 10, 2010

When Matt Walz, CTO of NextDocs presented the keynote speech at the ShareFest conference in Philadelphia today, he related how the wave of SharePoint is poised to roll over the life sciences industry.

(Shown here, left to right, Adlibbers Brian Kernohan and myself, Matt Walz, and Rubin Mago, the latter also of Adlib.)

Walz used some interesting facts to illustrate his points, such as the fact that 40 years ago, knowledge workers didn’t really exist and manual typewriters were all the rage! The evolution to the word processor and then the PC has completely revolutionized how people create content.

This (r)evolution has also meant that the quantity of content created has exploded – and is poised to explode again. The impact of SharePoint, including PDF for SharePoint on the way that people share and collaborate documents will be one of the key technologies that exponentially accelerates this growth. It will also be one of the key technologies that help enterprises control and organize that content.

Matt’s presentation started me thinking about some of the conversations that I have had with customers and prospects recently. Some individuals think that using desktop tools to create PDFs for sharing or archiving works great. I guess it does, for now – but I don’t think that progressive organizations really want their talented employees handling documents one by one.

When forward-looking companies learn that we can help automate those manual processes, they are asking us how big we can scale. They see what they are facing today and have seen a glimpse of the future.

They need to store, protect, secure, control and archive that content – automatically. The rate that they need to create PDFs is currently thousands per day and sometimes thousands per hour.  Soon that volume will be measured in minutes – and then in seconds.

Automating key document processes can provide huge productivity improvements, and help prevent organizations from drowning in documents and exposing their enterprise to undue risks related to broken manual processes.

The time to start planning is now. The water is rising quickly.

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