Does Every Business Process Seem to Start and End with a PDF in Public Sector?

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The world has changed with COVID-19.

In the past few months, our government partners have been adjusting to new realities such as engaging a large remote workforce instead of having in-person interactions. This is especially challenging when according to IDC, over 54% of organizations are still struggling with their paper to digital transformation efforts. The simple truth is, for many government agencies, operational processes start and end with a paper-based form online in Portable Document Format (PDF).

While organizations have started their transformation to meet digital first or in some cases digital-only environment, developing digital processes are often interrupted by legacy paper-based or manual steps—for example, posting a simple PDF form online that then requires printing, signing, and mailing, scanning, or waiting for information to be entered into an IT system. With government continuity and operational success facing its greatest test in our modern era, the need has never been greater to streamline and accelerate simple document and forms processes and sign them.

Rapidly deliver the digital experiences the workforce and constituents expect

As many organizations use static PDF Forms and Microsoft Office, and need to be National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) compliant, Adobe Sign and Experience Manager (AEM) Forms can quickly, easily, and securely enable forms and signatures; and integrates with the business, enterprise, and web apps you use every day—including Microsoft, ServiceNow, SAP, and SalesForce.

Some of the capabilities include:

With over 20 years of experience developing and refining PDF and signature technologies, Adobe is uniquely positioned to help your organization build legal and compliant signature processes in compliance with FedRAMP. For example, Document Cloud processes over 8B signature transactions per year for 77M users in countries around the world through Document Cloud platform alone.

Can one solution handle both electronic and digital signatures?

With Adobe Sign, you can build routing workflows that include typical e-signatures, digital signatures, or both. While the terms may seem similar, electronic and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) Digital signatures actually describe two different approaches to signing documents.

PKI Digital signatures use a specific method to sign documents electronically such as a certificate-based digital ID to authenticate signer identity. Each signature is bound to the document with encryption and validation is done through trusted Certificate Authorities (CAs) or Trust Service Providers (TSPs). The following steps show e-signatures and digital signatures in Adobe Sign.

Electronic signatures (e-signatures) refer to any electronic process that indicates acceptance of an agreement or a record such as using a variety of common electronic authentication methods to verify signer identity, such as email, social IDs, passwords, or a phone PIN. Standard e-signatures use single factor authentication. Enhanced e-signatures use multifactor authentication to increase security when needed. Proof of signing is done using a secure process that often includes an audit trail along with the final document.

While majority of Adobe Sign use cases are integrated into existing software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, there exist more sophisticated use cases that may require advanced forms and workflows (Adobe Sign and AEM Forms working together). Accessibility standards, increased data-sharing initiatives, commercial technology advancements, and user expectations are driving factors in the form paradigm shift to free the data. This challenge is especially true for organizations who interact with their workforce or constituents through a wide collection of complex forms. Some organizations try to answer this challenge by building tools in-house to meet rising customer expectations, yet these solutions are often expensive, difficult to scale across the hundreds of forms, and highly reliant on limited IT resources, especially during COVID-19.

Turn static PDF forms in fillable forms using artificial intelligence

Wouldn’t it be great to transform batches of static forms into a mobile responsive, optimized form-filling experience without the laborious work and high cost? Automated Forms Conversion is a cloud based micro-service that helps accelerate digitization and modernization of data capture experience through automated conversion of PDF forms to adaptive forms. The service, powered by Adobe Sensei, automatically converts your PDF forms to device-friendly, responsive, and HTML5-based adaptive forms. As an example, we have completed a conversion of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Application for Education Benefits form.

While leveraging the existing investments in PDF Forms and XML Forms Architecture (XFA), the service also applies appropriate validations, styling, and layout to adaptive form fields during conversion. The following video continues the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs example and walks you through the updated form experience. You can also leverage forms analytics for data-driven insight, easily add electronic and digital signatures to forms that need them, and persistently protect information independent of storage and transport through Digital Rights Management.

Adobe’s commitment

COVID-19 has challenged nearly every organization’s business processes as everything seems start and end with a PDF in public sector. With over 20 years of experience developing and refining PDF and signature technologies, Adobe is committed to assisting customers with the COVID-19 National Emergency by helping to enable secure #workfromhome business continuity for the workforce and making those solutions easily deployable.

At Adobe, we believe that everyone deserves respect and equal treatment, and we also stand with the Black community against hate, intolerance and racism. We will continue to support, elevate, and amplify diverse voices through our community of employees, creatives, customers and partners. We believe Adobe has a responsibility to drive change and ensure that every individual feels a sense of belonging and inclusion. We must stand up and speak out against racial inequality and injustice. Read more about the actions we’re taking to make lasting change inside and outside of our company.

We also know many people are still impacted by the current COVID-19 crisis and our thoughts are with you. The entire Adobe team wants to thank you, our customers, and all creators around the world for the work you do to keep us inspired during this difficult time.