Advanced Rendering – 10 key features your enterprise needs

June 22, 2022

30 minute read

Advanced Rendering is really gaining traction across multiple industries that deal with hundreds of thousands (sometimes millions) of documents a day. Industries from the Life Sciences to Financial Services, from Government to Manufacturing, are finding the features of Advanced Rendering to be useful in helping reduce costs and time in document-centric processes.

Why Advanced Rendering?

There are probably hundreds of reasons why organizations require Advanced Rendering in the first place, but they ultimately fall into two main categories:

1. Many enterprise organizations use multiple ECM systems. For example, Engineering uses OpenText for archiving, Marketing uses DropBox for their collateral, Customer Service uses Microsoft SharePoint for collaboration, and Finance processes billing and invoices in IBM FileNet. In fact, according to Forrester “70% of larger organizations have two or more ECM/Document Management/Records Management systems and 29% have four or more.” Not only that, but organizations often use other Workflow, ERP or PLM systems in addition to their ECMs. That’s a lot of different systems that don’t always communicate well with each other, but could all use Advanced Rendering services.

2. Document transformation demand for one or more point-solutions typically causes backlogs in one system, while there is an abundance in capacity in another system, even though both environments perform similar tasks.  By combining the investment in each environment into a single but larger conversion solution, rendering demand is better balanced across the organization, resulting in a smaller overall investment while better servicing the peaks and valleys of the organization. There is a significant cost-savings opportunity to be had.

Here is a list of 10 things enterprise organizations need most out of their document conversion platform. 


1. Linear scalability 

When it comes to business-critical applications and software, increasing scalability is possible to a limited degree by increasing the investment in the hardware the solution runs on. For example, some increase in scalability will be seen by using a faster processor, more memory and faster disk access, but there’s a finite limit to how far you can scale a single server.


In order to be truly scalable, software must be able to operate on multiple servers. The enterprise can add additional servers to meet processing demand as it grows over time. In theory, 2 servers would double the capacity of 1 server, and 4 servers would quadruple the capacity of 1 server. In reality, however, each new server only provides a percentage of performance of the original server. Why? The overhead of managing the multiple server environments and the demand that is placed on them takes up the rest of the performance space.


Adding multiple servers

Let’s look at an example: say a global Life Sciences organization is rendering documents in their research department, and the demands are increasing each week. Their current solution isn’t able to handle the workload, and they need to look at a more scalable solution. If their current single server is able to process 100 units of work, then they might expect that 2 servers would be able to process 200 units of work, and if they had 10 servers then they would be able to process 1000 units of work. Unfortunately, the effort to manage the distribution of work consumes a portion of each server’s capability, and the additional server isn’t able to take on the demands the Life Sciences organization thought it would. The increased overhead diminishes the increase in overall capacity.

advanced rendering blog - linear scalability


Generally, a common consideration for overhead is around 10% of capacity per server. So if we assume 100 units of work per day for the first server, with a 10% overhead for each additional server, then the overall capacity of 10 servers will be 550 units of work, or only 55% of the expected capacity. That is a lot of capacity lost to managing overhead! The green line in the graph below is what you’ll get with this model, while the purple line is what you would expect to get. There is a lot of discrepancy, which will result in an unhappy Life Sciences organization!


What happens when you remove the overhead associated with managing multiple servers by placing the responsibility with a dedicated management server? You achieve more efficient scalability.


advanced rendering blog - linear scalability 2

Let’s say this Life Sciences organization did just that. Now, they use software that is designed for enterprise scalability – so it’s being used by the research department, plus every other department in the organization. By using a dedicated management server, the overhead has been reduced to 0.2% from the 10% they previously experienced. So with 10 servers, they can process 991 units of work per day, and achieve 99.1% of the expected capacity. That sounds a lot better than 55%, doesn’t it?


Adlib’s architecture is designed for high volume environments where scalability is a must. This means it’s simple to add additional servers, and the overhead for managing the load across servers is minimal. We achieve linear scalability, much like the second graph up there.


Active-Active deployment

When you’re looking to deploy multiple servers for fault tolerance and high availability, you also get the added benefit of deploying in an Active-Active fashion. It’s common industry practice to utilize a failover cluster approach when you have an Active-Inactive deployment, where one server is in production and use, and if it fails, then the backup server will take its place. This has two main disadvantages: backup hardware is rarely utilized so you have an inefficient use of available resources, and the mechanism for switching servers needs to be periodically tested to ensure it will continue to work if it’s ever needed.


However, since we use Active-Active deployment, both the primary and secondary servers are always in use. This has several benefits: the capacity is increased, and the mechanism to distribute workload across available resources is constantly utilized. This makes it easy to apply patches and OS updates to one server while the other continues to function normally, and no special provisions or switching needs to take place.


When you’re investing in business-critical applications and software, always consider the scalability as a necessary factor for success. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the long term strategy for this technology in the enterprise?
  • Is there a feasible plan to increase the capacity and capability of this investment as you grow?
  • Will you need to replace this technology if it doesn’t meet your growing document rendering needs?
  • Will you need to invest more money into a technology that will provide you with less return per dollar with each investment?


2. High availability 

Dealing with downtime in the enterprise

What is the cost to your organization when your critical business application is down or unusable? We’ve heard lots of different scenarios from our customers, but many estimate the cost of not being able to render documents into high-quality PDFs at $100,000 an hour or more

When it comes down to it, a lot is at stake if documents can’t be rendered as required:
A Life Sciences organization must delay its submission to the FDA when the PDF document is not created, costing them up to $1 million in revenue per day.

A Financial Services institution loses business to its competitors when they can’t produce insurance quotes in PDFs when the system is down or has a slower response time than its competitors.

A Government agency loses personnel time when PDFs cannot be properly rendered to fulfill public service requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or the Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) regulation

Eliminating single points of failure

It is because of critical business reasons like these that Adlib supports high availability in our Transform solution. Let’s face it, the IT infrastructures in large organizations are getting more and more complex, with multiple moving and interdependent parts. This can result in multiple points of failure.


By eliminating all single points of failure, it’s possible to minimize unscheduled system downtown, thereby maintaining or increasing the productivity in an enterprise.

Adlib achieves high availability by supporting redundancy for all software components in the system. However, it’s not advisable to have a redundant node idle until a failover occurs because of the costs of maintaining the hardware, power supply and real estate. Adlib counteracts this by implanting a support for redundancy using an Active-Active deployment, so that all nodes are always active and share the load. If one node fails, then the system still provides the service.


Achieving high availability

The Adlib components send a signal to the system database – kind of like a heartbeat – and components that share the same function monitor each other’s heartbeats. When one heartbeat stops, another component takes over the task within a few seconds. Some of our customers have told us that if IT doesn’t respond to an end user’s service request within 3 minutes, there will be a follow up, many times in the form of an angry phone call. This can all be avoided with high availability software. Alerts can be configured to notify IT once a component failure occurs, and they can take action to bring the system up to full capacity.

Delivering a high availability solution isn’t easy. It is about more than just quality code, system stability and product robustness. External factors such as hardware failure and environmental disasters also need to be considered. And while load balancing is important, it just helps to distribute work, but doesn’t guarantee that work isn’t lost. Delivering a high availability solution means that you have to deploy software that can be architected to detect and eliminate all single points of failure. Components work as a team, and if one fails, the others have its back.


Optimizing the mean time to repair

The mean time to repair (MRRT) is also an important factor to consider when deploying enterprise-wide software. Typically, critical business systems require 99.99% availability, which results in only 52 minutes of allowable downtime a year. Adlib has made this recovery easier by storing all of the configuration data in the system database. Provisioning a new node is as simple as installing the component software and defining the database connection for it.



3. Easy integration with existing systems

Multiple ECM Systems

Enterprise organizations can improve efficiency and optimize document-centric processes by integrating a common, shared Adlib Transform system directly into their existing business systems. Majority of Larger organizations tend to use from 2 to 5 ECM/Document Management/Records Management systems. That is a lot of different cogs working together in an enterprise. The best way to help an organization maintain or increase efficiency would be to come in as another cog, integrating directly with existing infrastructure.


Direct integration with existing software

Adlib Transform provides enterprise organizations with a variety of flexible options to make integration with existing business systems as simple as possible. Adlib integrates directly with Enterprise Content Management, Product Lifecycle Management and Workflow solutions like IBM FileNetMicrosoft SharePointOpenText Content Suite, Nintex K2 and Dassault ENOVIA.

Adlib OOTB Integrations-01

Integration is as simple as installing the connector and incorporating triggers to initiate content transformation within the business process. In most cases, the business system user interface allows end users to make ad hoc document conversion requests using Adlib’s technology. The end users are rarely aware of the complex back-end process in place to produce high-fidelity PDF documents using Adlib technology. This spares IT from training end users to use a new system and saves themselves from learning to manage a new technology.


Connector Framework

In instances where Adlib doesn’t have an existing connector for your business system, we use a Connector Framework that simplifies the integration development with the assistance of our Professional Services team. The Connector Framework is Java-based and can therefore operate on any platform. It allows your enterprise to leverage the platform capabilities such as the Process Manager, which monitors and automatically restarts components that have stopped working unexpectedly, sending alerts of failed connectors.


Web services interface

Adlib also provides a standards-based web services interface, which delivers rapid integration with a high degree of flexibility to connect virtually any system with Adlib Transform. The developer doesn’t need to understand the business process to build the integration, and the business administrator (who is responsible for configuring the Adlib system to meet the enterprise needs) doesn’t need to be familiar with the integration. This option simplifies the process of integration greatly.



4. Highly configurable platforms

A truly configurable system

When we built Adlib Transform, we incorporated a number of capabilities into our platform that reduce the need for IT maintenance and integration costs, but that also increase your ability to adapt and change the product to suit your business environment. Our goal was to eliminate the need to develop custom code to meet your Advanced Rendering needs. By doing so, we help enterprise organizations to reach new heights of business process efficiency.


We’ve included a number of capabilities into our system that make it a highly configurable platform:

  • Natively consume business system metadata:
    The Adlib Transform system is driven by the business system metadata, which allows the metadata to alter how documents are transformed at the time the rendering request was made. This eliminates the need to develop custom code to integrate with the business system metadata and reduces the configuration effort considerably.
  • Rich set of system component and content transformation settings:
    This provides users with a high level of control of the Adlib system and conversion requests in order to achieve the required system configuration and resulting PDF features respectively.
  • Metadata-driven rules engine:
    This allows users to create rules to build business intelligence in the Adlib system. A user interface lets you incorporate Boolean logic in rule conditions. A source view of the condition is also available for creating complex conditions using Jscript.Net. Rules can be used for both system component and rendering request settings, and can also be used for conditionally creating metadata. For example, new metadata can be created to have the resulting PDF be added to the business system.

Download our eBook Advanced Rendering Advanced Rendering Whitepaper-Adlib-V1

Included in this eBook:
- Why Advanced Rendering is important
- Responding to the Data Explosion
- Rendering Content to PDF
- Exploring the Range of Rendering Options
- Tackling the Content Issues that Arise with Rendering
- Defining Advanced Rendering
- Putting Advanced Rendering to Work Throughout the Document Lifecycle Process
- Using Advanced Rendering to Improve ROI
- Increasing Business Process Efficiency with Adlib’s Advanced Rendering Software

Download ebook

Variable substitution

This feature can be used to substitute user-defined variables as well as metadata associated with the rendering request. Variables can be used in rule conditions (such as if “${Document_Status}” = Draft then add a Watermark) and in the transformation settings (such as Watermark text = ${Document Status}”). The latter allows adding metadata information to the PDF as text on the pages. Users can add information such as document status, version and last modified date, and provide context for the person viewing the PDF without them having access to the business system (such as SharePoint, for example).


By leveraging these capabilities, IT departments are able to easily configure Adlib Transform system components as well as the rendering settings themselves without the need for complex custom code. 


Much like silly putty, we stretch, adapt and transform our platform so your IT department doesn’t have to.


5. Tools that enable compliance

Document compliance across industries

No industry is safe from the ever-increasing requirement to be compliant to some sort of regulatory body, act or process. External document compliance examples include Sarbanes-Oxley, regulatory publishing, long-term content retention, and an endless array of acronyms from FDA to FINRA to SEC to NARAISO even has standards for PDF!


In addition to these external compliance requirements, enterprise organizations often also have internal document compliance requirements, regulating the way users should deal with everything from legal documents and financial statements to logos, trademarks, brand messaging, disclaimers and email signatures. With multiple layers of compliance flying about, it’s inevitable that IT will be fielding many service requests for helping end users to ensure all hyperlinks are consistently blue or that all archived material be saved as PDF/A.


Using tools to automate document compliance

Because Adlib Transform solution integrates directly with leading ECM, PLM and Workflow solutions, it can address many of the top challenges IT managers and professionals deal with when it comes to adhering to document compliance regulations. Moreover, Adlib Transform can automate many processes, so end users can be assured that their rendered documents already meet the compliance requirements of their business unit, workgroup or industry.


A number of compliance-related issues that Adlib Transform can automate include:

  • Archiving business records in regulatory PDF and PDF/A formats
  • Securing and protecting important information with security settings
  • Automating validation of custom compliance attributes such as page margins
  • Adding enhancements such as watermarks, headers, footers and hyperlinks
  • Making document navigation easier with tables of contents and bookmarks
  • Enhancing scanned documents and images with Optical Character Recognition technology to make them searchable

The combination of Adlib Transform with an existing business system tackles these challenges by automating business processes to adhere to compliance policies, not only streamlining workflows, but also removing the risk and costs associated with error-prone human intervention. Standardizing on PDF ensures you can secure and protect the document integrity and provide indefinite content preservation through the use of specialized archiving formats.


6. Monitoring and alerting systems

Monitoring and alerting to achieve service-level agreements

Enterprise systems
 are vast and complex with many moving parts – hardware, software, databases, networking – each of these components can fail at one point or another, which can cause loss of service unless high availability architecture is in place (as is with Adlib). Even with high availability, a component failure can sometimes prevent the system from achieving its required service-level agreement. IT administrators need tools that help them to be proactive and resolve component failures before they impact users and processes.

Using a monitoring daemonadvanced rendering blog - error reporting-1

To help IT professionals in enterprise organizations better manage their systems, Adlib Transform provides built-in monitoring and highly configurable alerting to help keep the system healthy and always available. Each platform component sends a signal – like a heartbeat – to the system database at regular intervals, letting the system know that it is alive, well and kicking. A monitoring daemon is actively checking whether any component has stopped sending heartbeats. If a component heartbeat is older than expected, the component is marked in alarm state and an alert is sent to IT via email. Multiple alerts can be sent on an interval basis for the same component, and an email can also be sent when the component comes back online.

The subject, content and email address of the email alert are configurable through the Adlib management console. The email contains all of the information about the particular component that has failed, including component type, component name, computer name, number of heartbeats and last heartbeat date and time, so that IT has all of the information at their fingertips. Custom content can also be added to the email, such as a link to the console where IT can find more information on the alert.

Adlib’s management console

The management console provides a dashboard-like graphical overview of the system and indicates which components are in alarm status. A list view is available to filter and sort issues based on component type and status. Component alarms can be acknowledged individually once the IT administrator has investigated the issue and has a plan of action. This allows them to easily distinguish new alarms from older ones.


7. Reporting tools

The need for system performance reporting

Job processing times can vary greatly due to the type of job that is being processed. For example, performing Optical Character Recognition on a 12-page scanned document takes significantly more CPU resources than it does to combine 3 separate files into one PDF document. In addition, the demand on the Adlib Transform system can be bursty at times, which makes it difficult to predict the system size required to meet end users’ expectations.


Adlib’s reporting tools

Adlib Transform provides a number of reports that help IT departments to better manage their systems:

  • System load:
    This report collects the average load on the complete system as well as on each transformation engine. The load can be reported hourly, daily or weekly, allowing IT to identify the periods of greatest demand and any bottlenecks occurring in the system. By analyzing the periods of peak demand, IT can detect whether the system sizing is accurate.
  • Job processing time:
    This report provides the time the system takes to complete a job, as well as the source of the job and the date and time it was submitted. This allows IT to confirm if the system is achieving the service-level agreement (SLA) commitment, along with the times the system did not meet the SLA. This data is also useful for calculating the charge-back cost for the system usage to the various business units.
  • Job volume:
    This report provides the number of jobs processed by the complete system, in addition to jobs processed by each transformation engine. The jobs processed can be reported hourly, daily or weekly, providing IT with the information to assist in sizing the system and perform capacity planning.
  • Job success:
    This report provides the percentage of jobs that completed successfully for each time interval – hourly, daily or weekly – so IT can identify if the system is failing, and to what degree.

Additional reports

With the help of our Professional Services team, a number of additional reports can also be added to Adlib to meet various organizational needs. All reports allow for filtering and sorting the information to allow users to narrow down the information they need. In addition, all report data can be exported to Microsoft Excel for further analysis and reporting. This information can be used to determine things such as the percentage of system usage by business unit and to support the business case for system capacity planning.


Adlib’s system reporting provides the necessary information to enable IT to optimally manage the application with little effort and ensure committed service performance.


8. Central platform management

Using a highly configurable system

How often do your business requirements change?
If you’re part of an enterprise, it’s likely the answer to that is “all the time!” How quickly can you adapt your business systems and applications to meet these changes? Having a platform that is highly configurable simplifies meeting your evolving needs, and so does having a platform you can manage centrally.


A number of issues and opportunities surrounding document conversion are found in enterprises today:

  • Job processing requirements can vary significantly throughout the enterprise
  • Content transformation can be CPU intensive and require multiple servers to meet the enterprise’s throughput needs
  • Document rendering is often part of mission-critical applications and is architected for high availability

Metadata-driven rules engine

In order to work with some of these requirements, Adlib Transform incorporates a rules engine to define conditions to resolve how Adlib system components are configured, and how content transformation jobs are processed. This allows for a high degree of settings re-use, which in turn reduces system configuration and testing effort.

Let’s look at an example:

Say you want to add a header to all of your rendered PDF documents. In some cases you want the header font to be 10 points, and in other cases you want it to be 15 points. This can be triggered from any job metadata, such as the document status for example. This scenario requires 2 rules:
1. The first default rule defines all header settings having the text font size set to 10 points.
2. You have the option to add a second instance to specify a condition to make the header font size 15 points.

Having the ability to define settings under different conditions can significantly reduce the number of settings, which makes it easier to change when needed.
advanced rendering blog - configurable platform-1


Platform component configuration

Let’s look at another example, this time relating to the platform component configuration. Say you’ve deployed Adlib and you need to add an additional transformation engine to meet the increased demand of your enterprise. The only thing the IT administrator would need to do is to add the new engine to the environment. The rest of the rules would already be configured from the first transformation engine.


Adding high availability architecture

Similarly, let’s say that you need to add a connector to provide the architecture with high availability. The only thing the IT administrator needs to do here is to add the connector identifier to the rule condition that is used for the redundant connector. This eliminates the need to redefine all settings for the new connector and also guarantees that both connectors are configured the same. By minimizing the number of repeated settings, it becomes very easy to change the component configurations.



9. Systems that require low day-to-day maintenance

Performing daily system checks

Today’s IT departments have more and more systems to manage, and less and less people to manage them. As a result, you want systems that require as little day-to-day work as possible. Adlib enables IT departments across industries to manage and maintain the business-critical application with only a few important touch points. If the following activities can be performed on a daily basis, your system will be purring away. A few minutes a day is all it takes.

  • Confirm all system components are running:
    It’s important to do this simple check even though the Adlib platform automatically executes component monitoring and failure alerting. For example, if a component was stopped manually by IT staff but was not restarted due to day-to-day distractions, this would be a good way to catch that mistake. The Adlib Transform system status page enables IT to review the status of every component in the system in a few seconds, as the list can be easily filtered and sorted.
  • Confirm job processing time:
    This activity helps IT to ensure that the system is achieving the job processing time in the service-level agreement (SLA) commitment. SLA is one of the most common ways to measure system performance. It can be negatively affected if new lines of business are added to a system that has a high volume of jobs or long-running jobs. Adlib’s job processing time report provides the processing time for every job that is initiated. Jobs that take longer than the SLA can be easily filtered in the list. The list can also be sorted by processing time to determine any deviation from the committed SLA.
  • Confirm job success rate:
    This helps to ensure that the system is processing jobs as expected. Adlib’s job success report provides the percentage of jobs that have completed successfully. There are various reasons why a job may fail, such as password-protected security or file corruption. In addition, Adlib solution often integrates with applications used to create the document; if the application has failed or is otherwise unavailable, the corresponding job will fail as well. This information is logged in the system with the job. It’s important to correct failed applications in order to achieve a high job success rate.


10. Tools that enable collaboration and sharing

Sharing and collaboration across the enterprise

Sharing and collaboration are a big part of the workplace. No man is an island, as the saying goes, and it’s almost impossible to succeed on your own. As a result, enterprise applications need to enable users to share and collaborate with one another. Having an enterprise application that forces business groups or end users to work in siloes leads to a loss of efficiency when it comes to document-centric processes. A lack of sharing and collaboration can lead to slower workflows, more expensive resources, and an inefficient use of time.

There are a number of ways sharing and collaboration can work in an enterprise organization, and a number of ways it can be enhanced by Adlib enterprise software:

  1. Shared service:
    A business-critical application can be deployed as a shared service, so that multiple departments and business units who have document conversion requirements are able to take advantage of Adlib Transform software. This allows IT departments to manage one transformation system as opposed to many.

    Adlib delivered as a shared service can add significant value to an organization by addressing multiple ECM systems, multiple departmental requirements, and multiple rendering tool consolidation. The benefits of a shared services approach to Adlib Transform include document consistency through automated workflow and increased end user productivity, as well as IT-specific benefits in terms of cost reduction through vendor consolidation, network/computing resource optimization and improved service-level agreement maintenance.

    Providing a common rendering platform which delivers high fidelity output and integrates into most ECM environments can reduce IT costs and shift IT from a mere cost-center to an organizational value-add. Administrators can respond quickly to system issues via the web-based management console, so that end users can expect a reliable and high success rate conversion every time.

  2. Internal collaboration:
    Organizations where collaboration and sharing are required internally can be facilitated with Adlib. This allows for reduced expenses for native authoring applications and storage space for paper files or large file sizes.

    Giving employees in different departments the ability to share documents without issue is an important feature of Adlib Transform. When considering the amount of divergent file formats used throughout an enterprise today, including varying legacy file formats, the need for native authoring applications grows if sharing and collaboration is required. However, rendering files to PDF negates the need for installing various native authoring applications, and as a result, reduces costs for additional software licenses and installation time.

  3. External collaboration:
    Certain business environments require sharing and collaboration with external partners, vendors and consumers, which can be made easier with Adlib solution. In addition to reducing expenses for native authoring applications, organizations can save time and resources by not having to deal with hard copies or file compatibility issues.

    Many organizations set up portals to use with external clients, where users can upload files into document management systems, such as Microsoft SharePoint. Using Adlib Transform enterprise software, organizations can automate the processing of incoming documents. New content can trigger a SharePoint workflow to convert the content to PDF and notify the appropriate employees of the submission to initiate next steps. Because the content is already in PDF format, there are no issues with file compatibility or document fidelity. Global organizations often have a high volume of documents coming in from external sources. Automating the conversion through enterprise software reduces costs of manual processes and enhances the ability to share and collaborate.

Ending on a high note

Each organization has a multitude of unique requirements (many of which fall into the categories we’ve covered) that are constantly changing and evolving. Adlib is highly involved with our customers’ needs, adapting and advancing our product to fit new requirements.

Advanced Rendering Whitepaper-Adlib-V1


Learning about enterprise software

Adlib Transform software takes document-to-PDF conversion to the next level. If any of the above features are important to you, I encourage you to check out this eBook which details how organizations can improve business process efficiency with the right document conversion software.

Download ebook


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