I had a great time last week at the MasterControl User Conference last week, along with fellow Adlibbers Brian Kernohan and Rupin Mago, at the beautiful Snowbird resort in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Brian snapped this picture at the peak of Snowbird Mt. of Rupin and I with MasterControl customer, Corine Consiglio, Sr. Document Control Specialist, American Pacific, centre.)
Masters Summit 2010 Snowbird Mountain
In the morning before my own presentation about our PDF publishing solution, Adlib Express, I attended a MasterControl session entitled “PDF Publishing – Tips and Tricks” given by Nick Lindeman.
I was pretty interested in this session because it is the Adlib Document Transformation engine that is delivers the PDF publishing capabilities to the MasterControl Quality Management System.
The presenter described how Adlib took care of the complexities of that process so well, that he renamed the session, “The Awesomeness of PDF Publishing.” I love it! So far, this was going really well so far.
As the presentation continued, customers became increasing engaged in the discussion because many of them said they have experienced some difficulties with this process at some point.
While the number of queue/services issues represented a small portion of the total number of documents processed, problems did still occur. This usually meant that someone had to review the document and make modifications in order to ensure that the publishing process went smoothly.
PDF publishing can be a highly complex environment involving:
- Authoring tools
- Different versions
- Service packs
- Different operating systems
- Intricate processes and configurations users do with their documents
Adlib has designed its Document Transformation software to deal with the endless number of variations so they don’t become unmanageable (though there can be exceptions to the rule).
The MasterControl session’s discussion centered around how organizations can reduce the number of exceptions, by focusing on two things:
- Simplify the IT infrastructure by standardizing the application and operating system software and ensuring that all computers have the same version and service packs. Configuration management software is a key component of this strategy
- Develop document authoring standards and document templates for use within the organization. Testing PDF publishing of these document templates, as part of the release process, is a must
One customer reported that when he did the above two things, the number of document exceptions was reduced by an order of magnitude.
The really interesting observation from this session, though, was how much these companies relied on their PDF publishing workflows. Automating those workflows was a huge step forward for them in terms of cost savings and productivity improvements. For the customers, PDF publishing truly is “awesome.”