A New Start for PDF in Financial Services

A New Start for PDF in Financial Services

Steven Steenhaut

Senior Director, Global Demand Center at Nuance Communications

Steven Steenhaut was Senior Marketing Director EMEA, where he was part of EMEA management team, leading 16 marketing professionals. With considerable experience in B-to-B and B-to-C, Steven previously held a Product Manager position at Fujitsu Siemens Computers and marketing positions at Panasonic Belgium.

Views 583

A New Start for PDF in Financial Services

20.01.2017 10:15 am

Consider, if you will, a small irony. While PDF was conceived as a universal document format, financial services organisations, for many reasons,  haven’t been able to make it available on every desk, reducing the broader deployment of this very useful ‘universal’ solution.

Previously, because of high costs, a business may have purchased a small number of relatively expensive PDF licences, turning those few users into a resource to be used by other parts of the business. The ‘PDF factories’ within these companies soon started to experience a decline in their own productivity as their colleagues interrupted them with PDF-related requests. They often took time out of their own jobs to help resolve their colleagues’ problems. This was one of the reasons why the ability to put a PDF solution on every desktop became all but irresistible for practically any type of business, and not just those in the financial services sector. Today, a further driver results from the digital economy, combined with the exponential growth in smartphones and other portable devices that underpin the Bring Your Own Device model.

Combined, these have fuelled the requirement for an affordable universally portable document model. However, against this need for a PDF solution on every desktop, private and public sector organisations of all types and sizes are still feeling the economic squeeze. This means that IT departments are looking closely at how different PDF licensing models impact cost, as that will have a significant bearing on an organisation’s ability to deploy a PDF solution enterprise-wide.

Shackled by the past

Undeniably, one of the key issues with the broader uptake of PDF, is linked with its history. Initially developed as a way for the print/publishing industry to share content, PDF became ‘tied’ to Adobe and Acrobat. As that software grew more feature heavy, all most business users really needed was a way to convert documents from various sources into a file that was easily shared with colleagues, suppliers and other stakeholders.

Over time, various products have sprung up which offer more ‘office-friendly’ ways to benefit from PDF, from a raft of freeware utilities that offer the most basic word-to-PDF conversion for casual or one-off users, to the likes of Nuance Power PDF 2, a software solution that matches paid-for competitors in almost every respect – apart from, crucially, cost.

Reasons to be cheerful

Of course it takes more than cost savings – even in this day and age – to drive a business to swap one industry leading solution in favour of another. As mentioned, the PDF market includes a number of freeware and shareware products, but it is fair to question how these would stand up to ‘serious business use’. In a financial services market - where strict compliance within governance frameworks, robust document security, powerful redaction tools, and digital paper trails are essential – it is important to ask whether freeware and shareware solutions can meet the market’s considerable requirements.

Putting an enterprise-grade PDF solution on every desktop is an investment worth making though, as turning paper records into digital documents rids organisations of the paper that can be damaged or destroyed during a disaster, or that can become lost in day-to-day work operations. This approach can not only improve business continuity but also overall business operations in document-intensive environments. For instance, with some PDF solutions, digital documents can be created so content within the documents is searchable which makes finding information a lot easier than hunting through filing cabinets.

The ‘P’ doesn’t stand for ‘Proprietary’

The days of PDF being a proprietary Adobe offering are long gone, as the format conforms to the ongoing ISO 32000 open standard introduced in 2008, making it suitable for use in government, healthcare and business alike. But somehow the perception has remained that PDF is inextricably linked to Adobe and therefore it is not as universally ‘useable’ as other major office file formats. In fact, just a few years ago, it wasn’t at all uncommon to hear office users refer to PDFs as ‘Acrobat files’. When was the last time you heard anyone use that phrase? The PDF – this almost unimaginably portable, flexible document format, conceived before the wider world was ready to fully grasp its potential benefits - is certain to become ever more widespread in an IT eco-system spreading onto tablets, phones and other ‘non-compute’ devices at a startling rate. Perhaps the irony that plagued PDF in the past is now coming to an end, as new, affordable PDF solutions finally enable the universal standard to flourish.

Latest blogs

Simon Black Awaken Intelligence

Boom or Bust: How the Financial Services Sector is Coping

Covid-19 has had an impact across all industries and businesses are feeling the sting. However, is it equally devastating within every sector? As industry and individual concerns grow during the inevitable economic crisis, financial services are Read more »

n/a n/a

Tips on How to Successfully Trade CFDs

A CFD or contract for difference is a financial product that allows a trader to speculate on asset classed without owning a portion of the underlying asset. A CFD trade is not an investment but high-risk speculation that carries the risk of losing Read more »

Patrick McKinney and Joe Fuchs Wolters Kluwer Finance, Risk & Regulatory Reporting

Building an Integrated Data Management System: A Guide for Digital Banks

Digital banks and other FinTechs are emerging as more nimble competitors to established legacy banks. The digital banks that are on their way to becoming fully chartered have the opportunity to setup fully automated processes and systems without Read more »

n/a n/a

How COVID-19 Is Ushering In a New Era of Cashless Technology

  Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-shopping-online-3944405/   Cashless technology isn't a completely fresh concept. People have been using credit cards for decades, and the market for fintech services has been Read more »

Jean Shin tyntec

Using WhatsApp for 2FA is the Future of Banking

From user authentication and password resets to transaction verification, two-factor authentication (2FA) offers basic but useful protection for consumers. The 2FA process typically sends an SMS sent to the customer with a one-time password (OTP). Read more »

Related Blogs

Chris Miller RSA Security

Back to Normality: Five Steps to Stay Resilient After Disruption

The financial services sector has lived through many global disruptions, but the nature of recent events has put an unprecedented strain on operational resilience; from needing to ensure critical functions could continue with skeleton staff and Read more »

Alex Malyshev SDK.finance

How to Apply For Electronic Money Institution License and Payment Institution License In Lithuania

As a supplier of core payments and transaction engine software, SDK.finance knows what difficulties our customers face in the process of applying for an Electronic Money Institution License and Payment Institution License In Lithuania. So we decided Read more »

Gemma Doswell Paybase

Paybase Predicts...

What we said in 2018 Read more »

Mark Grainger Engage Hub

Banking on change: what’s next for the financial services sector in 2020?

2019 has been the year of disruption for the Financial Services (FS) sector, largely driven by evolving customer expectations and the influx of new technology. Increasing regulatory requirements, combined with new entrants in the market and shifting Read more »

Tim Hooley Red Hat

Red Hat 2020 Trends: Financial Services x Technology

Whilst we talk about legacy technology as if it is commonplace across industries, it’s a relatively new term within Financial Services. The financial services industry didn’t used to compete by innovating for customers, instead they relied on Read more »

Magazine
ALL
Free Newsletter Sign-up
+44 (0) 208 819 32 53 +44 (0) 173 261 71 47
Download Our Mobile App
Financial It Youtube channel