Revealing the promise of digital forms and documents

Digitizing paper-based workflows eludes some agencies, but alternative PDF-editing tools can offer competitive options to this complex challenge.
digital documents
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DeeDee Kato is vice president of corporate marketing for Foxit. She has over 20 years’ experience in product management and product marketing for large technology companies focused on solutions in support or ERP solutions and large-scale commercial off-the-shelf software installations in both the public sector and private industries.

DeeDee Kato, Vice President, Corporate Marketing, Foxit

In spite years of efforts to move away from paper-based systems, federal agencies continue to face a mountain of paperwork. In 2018, Congress passed the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act to require agencies to digitize their services, but by 2020 congressional reports found that some were still far from meeting these requirements.

For example, the Department of Health and Human Services and its component agencies use over 5,000 unique paper forms. Within the Centers for Disease Control alone that equates to about 1.3 billion paper forms processed annually. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services processes roughly 1 billion paper forms. All that paper across these agencies adds up in cost and time to process.

And HHS is hardly alone. The judiciary system, tax agencies, human resource departments, acquisitions organizations and finance teams are some of the areas where government manages a high amount of paper in their workflows.

The Idea Act was put in place to push more services and forms to be available online to bring savings to government. However, digitizing documents also requires new infrastructure investments to modernizing website, integrating applications and streamlining the user experience. Prior to the pandemic there was a lack of inertia and urgency to invest in these upgrades.

The pandemic, though, has increased the need to digitize documents and forms. The remote work environment puts accessibility and security of digital information at the top of most CIO’s priorities. What managers have yet to fully appreciate is that there are alternatives to commonly used PDF tools that can offer competitive pricing and improved user experience.

Canada makes a federal-wide investment

When the Canadian government established Shared Services Canada (SSC) in 2011, they gave them a mission to transform how the government manages its IT infrastructure and streamlines processes. That included supporting more than 200,000 federal employees with modern collaboration tools.

Like many government agencies, the investment choices that were made in the years leading up to the pandemic have proven themselves to be big wins during the remote work shift.

When Canada chose to work with Foxit, its executives were looking to form the foundation of the government’s shift to becoming more agile, open, and user-focused. Digitally enabling public servants was key to everything the government does; including the services it delivers, the policies it develops and their transformation initiatives. For them to be successful, standardizing tools empowered their employees to be more responsive to Canadians citizens.

  • PDF viewing, editing and collaboration by making documents readable and easy to open. Reducing document file size, and standardizing file formats are just two examples of how PDF productivity software streamlines the user experience.
  • Handling large document files. By packaging files together, agencies can create PDF portfolios for work like contracts. Our software allows for multiple file types to be kept together in their original formats using a PDF wrapper. And PDF portfolios allow signatures to be applied and continue to be valid within the PDF portfolio.
  • User training to increased adoption for the software. Foxit provides virtual customer support for the end-user, which — in the case of the SSC — ultimately took them out of the equation and allowed Foxit to help individual users and departments for the agencies the SCC SSC serves.

The SSC decided to make Foxit’s PDF Editor a standard on employee’s workstations desktops, along with other office collaboration tools, to streamline how their employees work. Additionally, they were ultimately able to save on costs for procurement, licensing and support by standardizing the services they offer across the board.

Foxit is a best-of-breed PDF solution

Adobe created the PDF format, but it was released as an open standard in 2008, and there are many vendors that provide PDF editing capabilities. Over the last 20 years Foxit has given enterprises and government agencies an effective alternative to create, edit and manage their digital documents.

As an open standard, the ISO Committee, PDF Association guides the industry standards for the technology, and Foxit sits on the board as a key leader on the specifications.

We understand the kinds of features government agencies are looking for. Software that solves for complex scenarios like to edit, bookmark, or redact huge documents and record cases. A tool that can quickly scan documents and make them text searchable. There are a range of use cases that having a tool to edit and sign documents digitally can solve.

Ours integrates seamlessly with a cloud-based e-signature solutions such as DocuSign that is FedRAMP approved, which becomes critical to comply with the signature requirements that the Idea Act actually requires.

Besides the full feature capabilities of an enterprise product, cost is a huge concern among our partners who need a large number of licenses for an effective enterprise-wide solution. Though the industry is leaning towards subscription-based licensing, this can end up being a more expensive solution.

Foxit offers a licensing choice. We can offer a perpetual, one-time cost license, which saves up to one third of the cost on average but also a subscription-based license for those who need it. Now large agencies can make the solution available to more users with the scope of their budget.

Ultimately, our goal is to work with our partners on a roadmap to digitize their documents and forms.

Learn more about how Foxit can help your organization take next steps to moving toward PDF editing tools.

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