Pervasive PDF – why professionals care

By Jeff Brand | July 31, 2013

PDF is pervasive….we all use PDF in our personal and professional lives. Many of us don’t even realize the extent of our PDF use.

From an administrative team archiving in PDF expense statements and itineraries from multiple formats… through a sales team saving their quotes and proposals in PDF to ensure standardized look and feel of their external documents… to Legal and HR departments converting their regulatory documents to PDF to avoid legal conflicts later… you can’t escape PDF in an organizational environment.

Because we’re all so familiar with PDF, it seems non-threatening. And this is fine as long as we’re using it in a non-professional environment. But once your step into a professional world, there is so much that you need to be aware of – most importantly, the quality of PDF.

We receive many questions about Enterprise PDF, so we answered a few during a live online discussion. If you missed the live discussion view it here anytime, and download the slide deck here.

Below are audience questions and responses from panelists…

How can you deal with Excel files that may not be formatted in a way that converts to PDF?
Excel is a file format that poses some of the toughest challenges when converting to PDF, especially in an automated fashion. You can find cells that spread across pages – if they are included in the output at all – which can cause the recipient to lose the context to the information if not losing the information altogether.

Adlib PDF processes Excel similarly to a user printing the document. As most Excel files are already configured for printing, it’s simple for the author to ensure the output appears as expected.

If the author didn’t use the Excel Set Print Area functionality, Adlib PDF engine can automatically detect the bounding regions of the spreadsheet and automatically perform that task prior to rendering to PDF.

What does is ICE stand for when you talk about ICE Integration?
iCE is not an acronym, at least not in this case. iCE is the name of the Claims Management System that a certain rental car agency integrated Adlib technology into.

Interestingly, in typical technology fashion, ICE is also an acronym for Integrated Collaboration Environment, with which Adlib can also integrate.

So no matter what you think iCE means… there’s a good chance we can connect to it.

How good is Adlib at reading information from databases?
Most repositories provide an API or programmatic method for retrieving information about documents, which make it quite simple to retrieve this information through the integration layer. So whether your information is stored in a repository (usually on top of a database and/or file system) or directly within a database, it’s possible to retrieve the information thoroughly and accurately from these systems.

Is there a GUI for performing the source aggregation and creating the output or is it API Based?
Both options are available. Wherever possible our connectors leverage the existing GUI within the repository’s application. For example in SharePoint or Documentum, a user can select multiple files, or define multiple files to be included in a document set, and then render that set in a specific order to the desired output. That ultimately leverages the API.

In addition to stand-alone UIs, we have an application – Publisher – that allows users to select one or more files, define the sequence and hierarchy of the documents, and publish into PDF. This application is currently available for SharePoint 2013 (Office 365), and our services organization has deployed a customized version on Windows.

To resolve the majority of workflows for our clients in the most efficient manner, it’s common for the Adlib services group to build a custom, integrated GUI for end users.


What is ICR vs. OCR and can you apply ICR?
OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition while ICR stands for Intelligent Character Recognition, meaning the OCR equivalent for handwriting.

We’ve found over the years that ICR is not nearly as accurate as our customers demand, so we do not market or claim to have any ICR capability. What most clients benefit from is OCR capabilities… recognizing typed text that might be in a scanned document, TIFF file, or even an image-only PDF, which we can convert to a search-enabled PDF and place in the client’s Enterprise Content Management system.

We know professionals are seeking answers to many more questions about Enterprise PDF. If you’d like to continue the dialogue, please contact us and we’ll happily schedule a no-cost, no-obligation PDF Therapy Session for you and your team.

 

PS: Winners of the $50 Visa gift cards for attending the webinar are…
Terry Nowlin, Valero
Bonnie Caven, Viterra Inc.
Michelle Sweeney, Gallagher Benefit Services

Don’t forget to share this post