Choosing the best PDF solution

With so many choices at varying price points in the market, it is sometimes difficult to choose the right PDF software for your organisation. Factors to consider include features, cost, licensing issues, and vendor support. Now, discover how you can improve the process … and make the right decision.
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With so many choices at varying price points in the market, it is sometimes difficult to choose the right PDF software for your organisation. Factors to consider include features, cost, licensing issues, and vendor support. Now, discover how you can improve the process … and make the right decision. Making the right decision included four key considerations:
 

1. Determine the need 

    Regardless of the department they work in, most employees need to create, convert, edit, and share PDFs—from both electronic documents and paper—and edit and share them. They may also need password security, digital signatures, cloud capabilities, collaboration, PDF/A support for archiving, and conversion back to Word and other Office formats. Some will also need forms and redaction features, while the IT staff needs to be able to manage each desktop at the server level.

    For the most part, to get the full return on PDF investment (using it instead of paper and saving printing, storage, and waste costs associated with it) each user will need a complete PDF solution that covers all of these needs.
     

    2. Count the costs

      PDF freeware has a great upside—it’s free! Initially, that is. It also represents hidden investments, such as little or no vendor support, file bloat, and forced installation of productivity-draining adware or “pesterware” that forces employees to repeatedly click “upgrade later” boxes before they can get work done.

      On the other hand, the different editions of Adobe Acrobat are the most feature-laden PDF solutions, but they are also the most expensive off-the-shelf authoring tools. In addition, they contain many speciality features that most office workers will never use, such as the preflight function for publication design.

      When it comes to PDF software – especially during economic slowdowns – budgets become a determining factor in choosing a PDF solution, so you should try to find a replacement for Acrobat that costs less – in terms of both budget and resources.
       

      3. Look at licensing and deployment

        Now you should look for software with licensing models that can accommodate growth without spiralling out of control cost-wise, or incur unplanned costs at inopportune times.

        Beyond the single-user box, group-licensing models can include a site license, which covers every seat in the organisation. Open licensing comprises a set number of seats at a volume discount. Both approaches help provide predictable budgeting without surprise bills in the middle of the fiscal year.

        If you’re installing a PDF solution on more than a few desktops, consider whether the vendor you’re evaluating offers tools to enable IT staff to manage the process from the server level.
         

        4. Get the support you need

          Another deciding factor is the support and online help that come with a PDF solution. For example, Nuance offers a deep, searchable self-help knowledge base on their website and technical support plans on a per-call or unlimited basis.

          Choosing a PDF solution isn’t as easy as it may seem. Consider these four factors when evaluating a PDF solution that’s right for you and your organisation.

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