Steven Steenhaut, Senior Director, Global Demand Center, Nuance Communications, explains why PDF software is too good an
opportunity for resellers to ignore.
PITR: Why should dealers offer PDF solutions? Aren’t they already ubiquitous?
Steven Steenhaut (SS): Given how long PDF has been around, you’d think so. However, although it was conceived as a universal document format, for reasons like complex licensing agreements and high costs, not all organisations were able to make it available on every desktop, slowing the broader deployment of this very useful ‘universal’ solution.
Previously, a company may have purchased a small number of relatively expensive PDF licences for a few users, turning them into a resource to be used by other parts of the business. Those users soon started to experience a decline in their own productivity as colleagues interrupted them with PDF-related requests. This was one of the reasons why the ability to put a PDF solution on every desktop became all but irresistible. And, with more affordable, enterprise-class PDF solutions now available, this broader deployment is now a reality for every business, which presents an opportunity for resellers.
PITR: Couldn’t the cost challenge have been addressed by PDF freeware solutions?
SS: Not really. It’s important for dealers to question how well freeware solutions would stand up to serious business use in an SME or enterprise environment.
Furthermore, freeware solutions quickly become more of a hassle than they are worth – even for a free solution. They provide only the most basic of features and the minute a user wants to do something more complex and important, like converting a PDF to a Word fie, they are prompted to buy the ‘full’ version. Over time, this creates increased frustration and a burden on IT as requests come in for enhanced features.
PITR: How can PDF help address document security concerns?
SS: With so much focus on addressing digital or technology-based risks, paper’s analogue format seems to have been overlooked from a security perspective. Yet paper and, more importantly, its contents pose a risk that every company should consider.
In fact, security could well be the driver for the often-promised, but rarely achieved paperless offie; banishing paper, digitising documents and saving them as PDFs as part of a secure document workflw is one way resellers can help their customers add further resilience.
PITR: What do dealers need to be aware of when recommending PDF as part of a document workflw solution?
SS: Saving documents as PDFs isn’t necessarily a panacea for document security concerns, as research conducted by the Ponemon Institute illustrates.
Companies that have made a full (or partial) transition to digital documents could still leave themselves exposed and vulnerable to risk or data loss. Resellers need to ensure they are advising their customers on how to use all the security features available in PDF solutions, like redaction, if they are to mitigate as much risk as possible.
Nuance has published a free new whitepaper entitled Using PDF documents for more secure document workflws. The whitepaper explains how the PDF format can help turn paper fies into electronic ones effectively and effortlessly, optimising document workflw security while facilitating adherence to compliance responsibilities.
PITR: How has PDF developed to meet the needs of new users?
SS: Today, users want the convenience to navigate, draw annotations and type using a tablet or notebook and a pen or finger, so they can be productive in the offie or on the go. To that end, we’re seeing real strides in user convenience and we’ve responded to businesses’ growing need for PDF software to support touch-enabled hybrid devices, which has been driven by the user adoption of Windows 10 and next generation hybrids.
PITR: What should dealers new to PDF solutions look for in a vendor?
SS: Only with comprehensive support and guidance can dealers ensure they are offering their customers the right PDF solutions for their imaging needs. That means working with a partner that has invested in a partner program that provides resellers with the resources and support needed to help them to reach their sales goals, through a combination of initiatives and assets like access to a sales training program and ‘not for resale’ licenses for internal use.
To further accelerate the pace at which resellers can make a success out of offering PDF solutions, they should seek an experienced imaging partner that can offer access to vendor-generated leads, the support of dedicated channel account managers, as well as access to a dedicated pre-sales engineer and a reseller incentive scheme. It’s my belief that this is an exciting time for the channel as we’re entering a second dawn for PDF, fuelled by the movement towards more secure and flxible digital document workflws and the ability finally to put an affordable, enterprise-class PDF solution on every desktop.