Adobe Teams with Dropbox To Make Working with PDFs Easier
Earlier this year, Adobe unveiled a new Document Cloud service to help enterprise users overcome the "document disconnect" between increasingly mobile, digital work and the continued reliance on paper in the workplace. Today, it's expanding that service with new capabilities for e-signing and, in partnership with Dropbox, PDF document management.
As Adobe's first file sync-and-share partner, Dropbox aims to make it easier for its users to open, share and annotate PDFs from both desktop and mobile devices. The collaboration between the two companies will enable users to open PDFs stored in Dropbox directly from Adobe's desktop or -- eventually -- mobile apps.
Adobe today also announced new support for e-signing that targets enterprise users who are increasingly reliant on digital documents. The new capabilities include improved workflow for consistent signing processes, the ability to cancel documents "in flight" to make corrections, and support for advanced signing requirements set for adoption in the European Union next year.
Desktop Now, Mobile Soon
Through the partnership between Adobe and Dropbox, users will be able to open Dropbox-stored PDF files from Adobe Acrobat Document Cloud on desktop devices or from Acrobat Reader on mobile devices. Anyone, whether subscribed to Adobe's DC service or not, will be able to highlight, annotate or add comments to PDFs. In addition, Acrobat DC subscribers will be able to fully edit PDFs, organize pages or convert the documents back to their original formats.
Access to Dropbox PDFs via desktop is available now, while support for iOS access from iPhones or iPads will be added "in the coming months." Integration for Android devices is scheduled to become available sometime in 2016.
"The requirements of our customers have constantly evolved over time. [T]oday, mobile has become the rule and people expect to complete work quickly and simply wherever and whenever they need," said Kevin Lynch, senior vice president and general manager of Adobe Document Cloud, in a statement.
"Ultimately, we want you to be able to work with any kind of file easily, from viewing to editing to sharing," Thomas Hansen, Dropbox' global vice president of sales & channel, noted in a blog post yesterday. "Our collaboration with Adobe, the inventor of the PDF, is the next step in this process."
We reached out to Maureen Fleming, an analyst at IDC, who told us that improving the efficiency of how people work on mobile devices is important as more and more activities revolve around mobile.
"This relationship between Adobe and Drobox is one of many ways technology partners are working together to create a seamless user experience," she said. "End users are the major beneficiaries in any interoperability arms race."
A 'One-Two Punch' for Document Cloud
Adobe is also partnering with several organizations -- including Ariba, Salesforce and Workday -- that will be adding the company's new e-signing capabilities to their own systems.
Those capabilities include a new drag-and-drop Workflow Designer to help users estabish consistent signing processes for documents, additional controls for enterprise users and support for digital signatures, a more secure form of e-signature that will be required for many businesses in the European Union starting in July.
To expand its support for EU users, Adobe said it should have new Document Cloud data centers online in Ireland and Germany by the end of this year. Those centers are part of the company's global expansion efforts set to continue throughout 2016.
In a report earlier this year, Craig Le Clair, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc., predicted that the use of e-signatures by businesses would likely exceed 700 million by 2017, compared to 210 million in 2014.
"Since May, e-signature transactions are exceeding this forecast," Le Clair told us, adding that those figures do not include, for example, payment pad signings at grocery stores. Le Clair also noted that improvements in mobile technologies are helping to ensure the validity of e-signatures.
"I do not believe e-signatures pose significant security threats for enterprises," he said. "Authentication -- moving to the mobile device -- and advancing biometrics -- is getting stronger and piggybacking on electronic ID innovation from e-commerce."
Adobe said its new e-sign capabilities will begin rolling out to customers next month. Among those will be Adobe eSign Manager DC, which the company called "an upgraded mobile app companion."
Lynch described the company's new offerings as "a significant one-two punch across both the pillars of Document Cloud: Adobe eSign services and Adobe Acrobat DC, with mobile playing a starring role."