For years, Nuance’s PDF Converter family has secured its place as the best-selling alternative to Adobe Acrobat. Today, the value for money it offers combined with its comprehensive feature set have seen it replace Adobe Acrobat at Blackadders LLP, a leading law firm in the east of Scotland. There, it is playing a key role in the creation of an Intelligent Document Search Process, designed to make creating PDFs easier while helping unlock important information currently ‘locked’ in legacy scanned documents. The Intelligent Document Search process will help Blackadders LLP improve document workflow processes, to drive greater productivity, information sharing, swifter responses – and, ultimately – even better customer service.

Invest in the best

Blackadders LLP’s legal expertise, professional support staff and technical resources combine to create a first class legal service for both business and personal clients. Its lawyers boast a range of experience ensuring its clients’ legal requirements are met with the knowledge and ability to generate advantageous results. Combined with the breadth of its practice, it ensures informed decision-making, whatever the legal issue.

In order to maintain the excellent service that its clients have come to expect, the company regularly re-evaluates its IT hardware and software to ensure that it keeps a step ahead of a fast-paced and dynamic industry. With respect to its PDF solution, Blackadders LLP wasn’t confident that its former PDF solution still represented the best value for money. Graham Thoms, the company’s IT Director, explains: “Blackadders LLP was looking at how it could drive a greater return for our investment when it came to a PDF solution. At a third of the price of Adobe Acrobat, PDF Converter provides astonishing value for money, relative to its comprehensive feature set. Adobe’s Acrobat simply can’t match it.” Graham states that, “I estimate that Blackadders has saved approximately £9k using PDF Converter. The thing that is important to us, is that the continuing support costs are also low, so we’re not having to pay so much to keep up with latest changes in formats or compatibility.”

While value for money was a key factor when assessing alternative PDF solutions, Blackadders LLP didn’t want to compromise on performance, features or usability. Having assessed competitor products on the market, Graham was not satisfied by their performance. “The performance of the more cost-effective products at the lower end of the market was not very impressive. Their conversion accuracy wasn’t very good, while many had key functions missing. They lacked the options relating to document formatting or collation requirements that we need. Their price may have been attractive, but their limited functionality meant that their use would be, ultimately, restricted.”

Enterprise features, entry level pricing, unmatched savings

At a subsequent AIIM Roadshow, Graham was introduced to PDF Converter from Nuance. Despite its attractive site licence cost, Graham was surprised by its highly accurate document conversion accuracy and comprehensive feature set, including the enhanced visual document assembly – which makes it easy to combine paper, PDF and Microsoft Office documents into a single PDF. It also boasts robust PDF scanning capabilities, including one-click scanning with scan-and-markup capabilities.

Graham could also see the value in PDF Converter’s direct integration SharePoint and Documentum systems which could be used to help manage document processes, plus the ability to annotate and turn any form into an electronic form filler document. The document comparison feature that highlights any changes between different versions of a document, also appealed.

PDF Converter: for now, and the future

Blackadder LLP’s lawyers took to PDF Converter quickly: “The product and the interface is so intuitive that very little by the way of training was needed.  Users simply get on with it. It’s a great product.” Graham explains, “For us, it’s an essential PDF tool kit. It gives the company’s lawyers the flexibility to easily edit PDFs ‘on the fly’, and complete fillable forms with all the detail that’s required quickly and easily. This helps speed up the creation of intelligent PDFs that can be searched, making it easier and quicker to find information in the future.”

PDF Converter isn’t just optimising productivity at Blackadders, but helping it find new ways to cut costs: “Currently, Blackadders has a manual process for producing all fee note invoices. Once created, they are then produced on pre-printed, letter-headed paper. To speed up this process, reduce errors and to lower production and postage costs, Blackadders plans to utilise the PDF Converter Software Development Kit (SDK) to automate this process, to enable us to create secure electronic invoices, instead. This will play a key role in improving productivity and reducing costs.”

While enterprise search is at a very early stage at Blackadders, it is working toward taking documents and putting them in an intelligent format using PDF Converter. As Graham explains: “It’s about extracting the data that’s locked down in the document, and making it more useable.” Its Intelligent Document Search Process will see older archived scanned documents converted to intelligent and searchable PDFs. For the scanning of new documents, the company uses one of its 23 Canon multifunction devices. Once scanned, the documents are saved as searchable PDF files. “Converting documents using PDF Converter is fantastic, because it helps unlock data and make it available to anyone authorised to access it.”

Inspiring and instrumental

PDF Converter has a role to play in the company’s future too, as Graham explains: “A future project is to automate the mail room, to scan post as PDFs which can then be intelligently searched.” In the meantime, Graham is adamant that Blackadders made the right decision to standardise on PDF Converter for its growing PDF needs: “Not only is it great value for money, it’s also a very multifaceted product when it comes to document manipulation and collation. The fact an SDK is available is a further attraction.” His enthusiasm for PDF Converter is shared by his colleagues, as he states: “They’d be up in arms if they didn’t have PDF Converter; they find it indispensible.”