Wednesday, 18 March 2015 06:39

Acrobat goes to the cloud - for a price Featured

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Adobe has announced the biggest ever change to its widely used Acrobat PDF reader, as part of its new Adobe Document Cloud.

Adobe Document Cloud, which follows its previously released Creative Cloud and Marketing Clouds. Adobe says Document Cloud consists of “a set of integrated services that use a consistent online profile and personal document hub. People will be able to create, review, approve, sign and track documents whether on a desktop or mobile device.”

The most important part of Document Cloud is Adobe Acrobat DC, a completely new and cloud-based version of its Acrobat reader, one of the world’s most widely used pieces of software.

Acrobat DC incorporates a number of new features. It features the ability to create Microsoft Word documents from PDFs, a widely desired feature previously possible only with third party products.

It also features enhanced e-signatures and a touch-enabled user interface. It can still used on the desktop, along with mobile apps Acrobat DC Mobile and Fill & Sign at no cost.

But some of the extra functionality will come at a price.To use Acrobat DC with the full Document Cloud will need a subscription of $12.99 a month or as one-time purchase (price not announced). A more fully featured version, called Acrobat Pro DC, will cost $14.99 a month. It will include:

  • Edit and organise PDFs from mobile
  • Standardise PDF tasks with Actions to complete routine, multistep tasks
  • Permanently redact information and sanitise PDFs
  • Convert paper documents into editable PDFs.

“The release will address the waste and inefficiency associated with document processes,” Adobe’s Australian managing director Chris Skelton told iTWire. “Whether it’s school permission slips, health insurance forms or complex enterprise document workflows, Adobe will transform how people and businesses get work done.”

He said the arrival of Adobe Document Cloud would empower businesses in the region.

“Research shows the level of frustration people have with paperwork and the burdensome processes that slow business down. In Australia we have businesses operating in highly competitive, fast–moving sectors, so being able to cut through the pain of handling documents will have a major impact on productivity and efficiency, not to mention making people happier at work.”

A global study conducted by IDC for Adobe titled Paper Jam: Why Documents are Dragging Us Down, also highlighted the challenges for Australian workers.

“It’s a problem that businesses can no longer afford to ignore,” said Skelton. “83% of Australian respondents said their productivity was slowed by outdated ways of working with documents. Lost information was another frustration, with 74% of respondents who lost information saying hard drive failures had consumed vital work.

“61% of Australian respondents said they would consider changing jobs solely for the sake of dramatically less paperwork. At the same time, 74% said they felt completing a process without the use of paper was easy, secure and saved time.”

Adobe Document Cloud includes:

Acrobat DC

Includes a touch-enabled interface, and uses Photoshop imaging to convert any paper document into a digital, editable file. Allows the creation of Microsoft Word documents from PDFs and includes enhanced PDF editing capabilities.

E-signing

Adobe Document Cloud eSign services (formerly Adobe EchoSign) will be included with every subscription of Acrobat DC, which is part of both Document Cloud and Adobe Creative Cloud.  Now you can electronically send and sign any document from any device.  New Fill & Sign makes signing anything fast and easy, including smart autofill across devices.

Mobile Link and Mobile Apps

Create, edit, comment and sign documents directly on mobile phones and tablets, and use the camera on the device as a portable scanner to convert any paper documents to digital, editable files that can be sent for signature.

Document management

Intelligent tracking to gain visibility into where documents are along their workflow process, including who has opened them and when.

Integration with Adobe Creative Cloud and Marketing Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud customers will have access to Document Cloud through Acrobat DC, which will be included with a membership to Creative Cloud.

Document Cloud for the Enterprise

Document Cloud for the enterprise offers vertical market applications for industries including healthcare and insurance, financial services, media and entertainment, government, and schools and universities. It includes workforce productivity, sales acceleration, HR and procurement contracting, Enterprises can centrally manage Document Cloud and Creative Cloud user accounts and licenses with single sign-on (SSO) in the Adobe Enterprise Dashboard.

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire. He is one of Australia’s longest serving and most experienced IT journalists. He is author of the only definitive history of the Australian IT industry, ‘A Vision Splendid: The History of Australian Computing.’

He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time weekly IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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