Everybody does PDF Conversion – Right?

By Scott Mackey | January 29, 2010

PDF creation has become ubiquitous. Many common business systems can now generate PDF as part of their normal operation.  The problem is they often don’t do PDF conversion properly.

Many of the PDFs created are extremely important to the consumer or the systems they have been created for.  The shoddy creation of a PDF can significantly impair the intended benefit that an organization could achieve from an automated document workflow.

By way of example, many companies have deployed multi-function devices (MFDs) which can scan, copy, print etc. Scanned images can even be routed via email as PDF attachments. There are significant limitations though. One example is that the PDFs created are often too large in size, overloading networks and storage systems. Even worse, they are sent as non-searchable image documents. We’ve seen many customers who bypass the limited image to PDF capabilities of their MFD devices choosing instead to seamlessly integrate superior conversion and recognition (OCR) capabilities into the process. Server-based tools like Adlib Express render the images to high quality, searchable PDFs that are compressed and optimized for distribution and consumption.

A second example relates to high-end payroll systems which can also generate PDF output. The functionality is, again, very limited which caps the potential benefits the organization can achieve. These systems might create a single PDF output containing payroll information for all employee payrolls instead of as individual PDF’s that can be distributed or processed. To make matters worse the content for any given employee is scattered throughout the PDF. Our customers have discovered that they can automate the process of splitting up the document merging employee specific documents back together then instantly delivering them as PDF email attachments. This gives employees the benefit of having an electronic copy to store. It also eliminates costly manual processing and print/mail distribution.

ECM vendors have long had PDF capability – as long as the customer purchased, integrated and maintained the software separately. Many ECM vendors today have embedded PDF conversion, stamping, recognition capabilities tightly integrated into their solution. Look under the covers and you’ll often find Adlib software working transparently in the background.

Be wary when choosing a system. Most will have the ‘PDF Conversion’ box checked on the feature sheet. Be sure you know more about the depth and breadth of what that means and ensure it meets your current and future needs. If you don’t you’re limiting your options for extracting maximum benefit from the automation of key business processes.

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