Table of Contents
- Drivers of PDF and e-Signature Adoption
- Benefits and Challenges of Adopting Digital Document Workflows
- Comparing Three Market Leaders
- Appendix 1 – Testing Template
- Appendix 2 – Test Results
- Appendix 3 – Use Cases
- About Thom Langford
The business world is in a constant state of change. It’s moving faster than ever with more elaborate legal and compliance requirements being enforced along the way. Much like the way the stock markets responded when computers were first introduced on the trading floor, most organizations consider speed as a critical factor. Maintaining a competitive edge often means adopting technology and adapting business processes in ways that would have been unthinkable a decade ago.
One time-honored business process that is clearly ripe for change is working with paper. Since its inception in 1993, the PDF electronic document format has enabled paperless document sharing, emerging as a true standard when Adobe “opened” the format in early 2007.
With businesses moving now to adopt 100% digital workflows, the push to the fully paperless office is well underway. PDF and eSigning are both core components of enabling digital document workflows, but neither has traditionally been widely deployed across organizations; rather, only certain users get such capabilities. This is now changing as organizations understand that digitizing document workflows is foundational to larger digital transformation initiatives.
This paper examines the drivers of increased digital workflow transformation, the benefits and challenges that await enterprises that engage in it, and the increasing necessity to make document workflows fully digital. In an effort to assist the evaluation of solutions that will enable digitization, the report also details the results of real-world testing of three market-leading solutions in the PDF and eSignature space. By running these solutions through a series of “use cases” that knowledge workers commonly encounter, we understand how well each solution might meet the broader demands of an organization looking to digitize its document processes.
The three products reviewed for this paper are:
- Adobe Acrobat DC
- The Nitro Productivity Suite
All three products perform as expected. DocuSign holds its own in the e-signature space, but needs to be coupled with an additional PDF solution to enable a full digital workflow. Acrobat DC is slick, capable, and multi-platform. It is also the most expensive of the three solutions. The Nitro Productivity Suite is capable, cost-efficient, and easy to both learn and understand. It also successfully completed the most use cases of the products tested in this report. However, its desktop PDF component only runs on Windows.
The final recommendations from this field test offer valuable insights into the relative features and capabilities of the three solutions. However, it’s important to keep in mind that value ultimately depends on individual requirements and use cases. Among the findings:
- While Adobe has a significant presence in creative environments and departments using primarily Mac desktops, organizations can roll out Adobe Acrobat DC at lower head-counts to accommodate the higher per-seat cost.
- In environments where Windows is the primary operating system, the Nitro Productivity Suite provides full PDF document creation, manipulation, and signing capabilities across the workforce. The lower per-seat cost makes this more palatable from a financial perspective.
- DocuSign is the household name when it comes to eSignatures. In terms of functionality it is comprehensive, but imposes a price point that some companies may find too high for everyday use.
The Venn diagram in Figure 1 offers a high-level perspective of the capabilities offered by DocuSign, Acrobat DC, and the Nitro Productivity Suite. By understanding where each product’s capabilities intersect, organizations can better determine how these solutions can meet their needs.
Figure 1: High-Level Capabilities