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Adobe rises to Document Cloud

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Adobe has announced Adobe Document Cloud, a new way to manage critical documents at home, in the office and across multiple devices.

At the heart of Document Cloud is the all-new Adobe Acrobat DC, which will take e-signatures mainstream by delivering free e-signing as part of the integrated solution.

Adobe Document Cloud consists of a set of integrated services that use a consistent online profile and personal document hub.  People will be able to create, review, approve, sign and track documents whether on a desktop or mobile device. Acrobat DC, with a touch-enabled user interface, will be available both via subscription and one-time purchase.

“People and businesses are stuck in document-based processes that are slow, wasteful, and fragmented. While most forms of content have successfully made the move to digital (books, movies, music), documents and the process of working with them have not, and that needs to change,” said Bryan Lamkin, senior vice president of technology and corporate development at Adobe. “Adobe Document Cloud will revolutionize and simplify how people get work done with critical documents.”

A study by Adobe titled Paper Jam: Why Documents are Dragging Us Down, has exposed how antiquated business processes and outdated ways of working with documents are having a dramatic impact on productivity, efficiency and worker satisfaction. The findings show that 83% of workers feel their success and ability to be productive at work are slowed down by outdated ways of working with documents, and 61% said they would change jobs if the only benefit was dramatically less document and administrative work. It’s a problem that businesses can no longer afford to ignore.

Adobe Document Cloud will include:

·         All-new Acrobat DC
With Acrobat DC, Adobe is taking the world’s best PDF solution to an entirely new level. With an intuitive, touch-enabled interface, Acrobat DC delivers powerful new functionality to get work done anywhere. The new Tool Center offers simplified and quick access to the tools you use most.  And, Acrobat DC uses Photoshop imaging magic to convert any paper document into a digital, editable file that can be sent for signature. Read to discover more about Acrobat DC

·         E-signing Anywhere, for Everyone

eSign Services (formerly Adobe EchoSign) will be included with every subscription of Acrobat DC, which is part of both Document Cloud and Adobe Creative Cloud.  Now you can electronically send and sign any document from any device.  New Fill & Sign makes signing anything fast and easy, including smart autofill across devices.

·         Introducing Mobile Link and New Mobile Apps
Access your work as you move between desktop and devices, and pick up that form or document where you left off with new Mobile Link – your files, settings and signatures stay with you. With two new mobile apps, Acrobat Mobile and Fill & Sign, people can create, edit, comment and sign documents directly on their mobile phones and tablets. Plus, use the camera on your device as a portable scanner to easily convert any paper documents to digital, editable files that can be sent for signature.

·         Document Management & Control
Services such as Send & Track let you manage, track and control your documents.  With intelligent tracking, you gain visibility into where critical documents are along their process, including who has opened them and when.  Control features also help to protect sensitive information, both inside and outside the firewall, for business or personal use.

Integration with Adobe Creative Cloud and Marketing Cloud

Acrobat has been central to Adobe Creative Cloud and its massive success – enabling creative mock-ups, markup and response, pre-press support, and more. Adobe Document Cloud will extend that use, allowing creatives to work with PDFs anywhere, and adding e-signing capabilities and the ability to synch with Creative Cloud. Adobe Creative Cloud customers will have access to Document Cloud through Acrobat DC, which will be included with a membership to Creative Cloud.

Today, Adobe Document Cloud e-Sign services integrates with Adobe Experience Manager Forms to provide seamless experiences to customers across web and mobile sites.  In the future, Adobe will integrate key components of Adobe Marketing Cloud to help businesses test, measure and manage documents, providing the same visibility into usage and interactions with documents that marketers already have with digital marketing assets today.

Document Cloud for the Enterprise
According to a recent survey by IDC*, disconnected document processes are pervasive and negatively impact all areas of business. More than 80% of document work is still not digital, with documents often making one or more transitions into and out of paper, especially when signatures are involved. Each time that happens, valuable time is lost.  In addition, workers are spending more than one-third of their time on administrative process instead of core work.

“Our study shows that organizations of all kinds are suffering from what we call the ‘document disconnect’,” said Melissa Webster, Program Vice President, Content and Digital Media Technologies, IDC.  “It afflicts organizations of all sizes in all industries around the world.  It results in significant delays and errors across critical business functions such as sales contracting and quoting, procurement, talent acquisition, and onboarding.  And it is a serious impediment to business that — according to our respondents — negatively affects revenue, compliance, cost, productivity, and customer experience.”

Document Cloud for the enterprise addresses this disconnect by providing departments and entire organizations with services, including enterprise-class e-sign services, that bring speed and efficiency to business document workflows, both inside and outside the organization. Document Cloud for the enterprise offers solutions for industries including healthcare and insurance, financial services, media and entertainment, government, and schools and universities. In addition, enterprises can centrally manage Document Cloud and Creative Cloud user accounts and licenses with single sign-on (SSO) in the Adobe Enterprise Dashboard.

According to the IDC survey, business leaders have estimated that the potential benefits of addressing the ‘document disconnect’ would increase revenue by 36%, reduce costs by 30% while reducing compliance risks by 23%. It’s an upside that any business should embrace.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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VoD cuts the cord in SA

Some 20% of South Africans who sign up for a subscription video on demand (SVOD) service such as Netflix or Showmax do so with the intention of cancelling their pay television subscription.

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That’s according to GfK’s international ViewScape survey*, which this year covers Africa (South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria) for the first time.

The study—which surveyed 1,250 people representative of urban South African adults with Internet access—shows that 90% of the country’s online adults today use at least one online video service and that just over half are paying to view digital online content. The average user spends around 7 hours and two minutes a day consuming video content, with broadcast television accounting for just 42% of the time South Africans spend in front of a screen.

Consumers in South Africa spend nearly as much of their daily viewing time – 39% of the total – watching free digital video sources such as YouTube and Facebook as they do on linear television. People aged 18 to 24 years spend more than eight hours a day watching video content as they tend to spend more time with free digital video than people above their age.

Says Benjamin Ballensiefen, managing director for Sub Sahara Africa at GfK: “The media industry is experiencing a revolution as digital platforms transform viewers’ video consumption behaviour. The GfK ViewScape study is one of the first to not only examine broadcast television consumption in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, but also to quantify how linear and online forms of content distribution fit together in the dynamic world of video consumption.”

The study finds that just over a third of South African adults are using streaming video on demand (SVOD) services, with only 16% of SVOD users subscribing to multiple services. Around 23% use per-pay-view platforms such as DSTV Box Office, while about 10% download pirated content from the Internet. Around 82% still sometimes watch content on disc-based media.

“Linear and non-linear television both play significant roles in South Africa’s video landscape, though disruption from digital players poses a growing threat to the incumbents,” says Molemo Moahloli, general manager for media research & regional business development at GfK Sub Sahara Africa. “Among most demographics, usage of paid online content is incremental to consumption of linear television, but there are signs that younger consumers are beginning to substitute SVOD for pay-television subscriptions.”

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New data rules raise business trust challenges

When the General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect on May 25th, financial services firms will face a new potential threat to their on-going challenges with building strong customer relationships, writes DARREL ORSMOND, Financial Services Industry Head at SAP Africa.

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The regulation – dubbed GDPR for short – is aimed at giving European citizens control back over their personal data. Any firm that creates, stores, manages or transfers personal information of an EU citizen can be held liable under the new regulation. Non-compliance is not an option: the fines are steep, with a maximum penalty of €20-million – or nearly R300-million – for transgressors.

GDPR marks a step toward improved individual rights over large corporates and states that prevents the latter from using and abusing personal information at their discretion. Considering the prevailing trust deficit – one global EY survey found that 60% of global consumers worry about hacking of bank accounts or bank cards, and 58% worry about the amount of personal and private data organisations have about them – the new regulation comes at an opportune time. But it is almost certain to cause disruption to normal business practices when implemented, and therein lies both a threat and an opportunity.

The fundamentals of trust

GDPR is set to tamper with two fundamental factors that can have a detrimental effect on the implicit trust between financial services providers and their customers: firstly, customers will suddenly be challenged to validate that what they thought companies were already doing – storing and managing their personal data in a manner that is respectful of their privacy – is actually happening. Secondly, the outbreak of stories relating to companies mistreating customer data or exposing customers due to security breaches will increase the chances that customers now seek tangible reassurance from their providers that their data is stored correctly.

The recent news of Facebook’s indiscriminate sharing of 50 million of its members’ personal data to an outside firm has not only led to public outcry but could cost the company $2-trillion in fines should the Federal Trade Commission choose to pursue the matter to its fullest extent. The matter of trust also extends beyond personal data: in EY’s 2016 Global Consumer Banking Survey, less than a third of respondents had complete trust that their banks were being transparent about fees and charges.

This is forcing companies to reconsider their role in building and maintaining trust with its customers. In any customer relationship, much is done based on implicit trust. A personal banking customer will enjoy a measure of familiarity that often provides them with some latitude – for example when applying for access to a new service or an overdraft facility – that can save them a lot of time and energy. Under GDPR and South Africa’s POPI act, this process is drastically complicated: banks may now be obliged to obtain permission to share customer data between different business units (for example because they are part of different legal entities and have not expressly received permission). A customer may now allow banks to use their personal data in risk scoring models, but prevent them from determining whether they qualify for private banking services.

What used to happen naturally within standard banking processes may be suddenly constrained by regulation, directly affecting the bank’s relationship with its customers, as well as its ability to upsell to existing customers.

The risk of compliance

Are we moving to an overly bureaucratic world where even the simplest action is subject to a string of onerous processes? Compliance officers are already embedded within every function in a typical financial services institution, as well as at management level. Often the reporting of risk processes sits outside formal line functions and end up going straight to the board. This can have a stifling effect on innovation, with potentially negative consequences for customer service.

A typical banking environment is already creaking under the weight of close to 100 acts, which makes it difficult to take the calculated risks needed to develop and launch innovative new banking products. Entire new industries could now emerge, focusing purely on the matter of compliance and associated litigation. GDPR already requires the services of Data Protection Officers, but the growing complexity of regulatory compliance could add a swathe of new job functions and disciplines. None of this points to the type of innovation that the modern titans of business are renowned for.

A three-step plan of action

So how must banks and other financial services firms respond? I would argue there are three main elements to successfully navigating the immediate impact of the new regulations:

Firstly, ensuring that the technologies you use to secure, manage and store personal data is sufficiently robust. Modern financial services providers have a wealth of customer data at their disposal, including unstructured data from non-traditional sources such as social media. The tools they use to process and safeguard this data needs to be able to withstand the threats posed by potential data breaches and malicious attacks.

Secondly, rethinking the core organisational processes governing their interactions with customers. This includes the internal measures for setting terms and conditions, how customers are informed of their intention to use their data, and how risk is assessed. A customer applying for medical insurance will disclose deeply personal information about themselves to the insurance provider: it is imperative the insurer provides reassurance that the customer’s data will be treated respectfully and with discretion and with their express permission.

Thirdly, financial services firms need to define a core set of principles for how they treat customers and what constitutes fair treatment. This should be an extension of a broader organisational focus on treating customers fairly, and can go some way to repairing the trust deficit between the financial services industry and the customers they serve.

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