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Sign of the times: how Adobe Document Cloud makes document management easy

Sign of the times: how Adobe Document Cloud makes document management easy


Never mind Slack or Yammer or all the other new ways of talking to each other – for a lot of people the business world still runs on documents and forms. And whether they’re paper or email attachments, they’re not easy enough to fill out on tablets and smartphones. Adobe is trying to change this with its new Document Cloud – new versions of the Acrobat PDF software for different devices, and cloud services that make all those forms and documents easier to work with, without needing to go back to your desk.

“The multi-device environment has created all these amazing opportunities but it has also confounded people,” Adobe’s Mark Grilli told TechRadar Pro. “We can’t go back to a simpler world where the only way we get work done is at the desktop, whether that’s the fax machine or email attachments. There’s a ‘come into this century’ momentum happening, but it’s not easy enough. Everyone has a smartphone now and I can’t tell you how many times I get the confounded look from someone saying ‘I have this form and I don’t know what to do’. Right now, a lot of common currently used technologies and approaches fall down when you’re not doing things in a particular way.”

Documents are still the way business is done, he points out. “There’s a very large business in delivering overnight envelopes; we spend millions of dollars on it. And their sole purpose, apart from maybe some where you send a DVD with content to save on bandwidth, is that it’s a lot of contracts, agreements – things to be signed.

“The volume of effort spent on just simple approvals and signatures is enormous – think about a design agency getting sign-off on creative work. That’s a very labour intensive process. Or the architect on a remodel sending the floorplan for the company building or the specifications of a design for manufacturing. There’s an enormous number of things that are built on those technologies from, at best, fifteen or twenty years ago.”

Sign on Android

Making life easier

Some of the tools in Document Cloud are about making all this easier, like a new feature in Acrobat that lets you take a photo of a form with your phone or tablet, tap on the places you need to fill in details and then sign with your finger. That helps in terms of productivity and customer experience.

Others, like simple workflow or integration with SharePoint, are about getting documents and forms to the right place – and knowing where they are. “These are binding legal documents. How many non-disclosure agreements has your business signed and is subject to and they’re sitting in a salesperson’s trunk so you don’t know about them?”

The productivity side is highlighted by a recent IDC study, he says. “People said a third of their time is spent on admin tasks and two-thirds on real work. That’s a day and a half a week spent on doing things you don’t consider valuable.” (The study also said 61% of people would change jobs just to do less paperwork).

And customer satisfaction is set to become a competitive advantage, Grilli believes. “If you’re my co-worker and I send you something to deal with and you get it on your phone, then I can expect you to figure it out. That’s your job, although you shouldn’t have to figure it out, because there are these more modern approaches. But if I’m a sales professional and I need you to sign this sales agreement so I get my commission, I need to make sure you can do it. I can’t just leave you to figure it out.”

His bank recently made a mistake and turned off one of his accounts. “I have three other accounts with them, so they have my information, but to fix that account I had to reply with a paper form. That was somehow accepted practice, but it made me want to leave the bank.”

Out with the old

Documents are one of the last bastions of these old ways of working. Web conferencing means you don’t have to travel for a meeting just to show someone a presentation. Even market stalls use credit card swipe systems like Square so they don’t lose customers. Grilli thinks having to post a form off to someone is about the go the same way.

“What will make companies change their minds is that they’re going to start losing customers and they’ll realise one reason business is slowing down is that competitors are doing things better, faster, cheaper. What we’re hearing from customers is not, ‘How does digital signing for documents work?’ or ‘Is that even legal?’ – it’s ‘What’s the best practice that someone else is doing that I need to worry about?'”

Making it easy to work with documents on the devices you want, including filling out and signing forms, can improve both employee productivity and customer satisfaction. “Often the problem is that the company systems don’t talk to each other and the burden of making them talk to each other falls on me – or you put it on the customer. A connected customer experience is at the centre of all these things and that gets you the competitive advantage of customer support.”

Tablet signature

No big hassle

The idea with Document Cloud is to give you slicker tools you can pick up straight away but that can also fit in with what you already use. “We’re deliberately not going the route of you having to rethink your entire platform to make it happen,” Grilli explains. “If you want you can be up and running in minutes. Or you can, if you want to, figure some custom workflow and that would take maybe a week.”

“We have a customer that is stuck using SharePoint. They have a lot of workflows, but the way they’re using it, SharePoint hasn’t enabled things to go outside of their company. Our ability with a few days’ worth of setup to say ‘I’m going to grab this file and make something happen and then put it back’ has transformed these systems that they were viewing internally as something they had got to replace, but it would be really expensive and it would take six months or two years to do that, into something that can do what they need now.”

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Buying Guide: The best Samsung Galaxy S6 deals in March 2015

Buying Guide: The best Samsung Galaxy S6 deals in March 2015

Samsung Galaxy S6 deals

The Samsung Galaxy S6 has been one of the most hyped handsets of recent years. Samsung, it seems, has realised that the public needed a phone that wasn’t just a powerhouse, or with the latests features but something which looked different and had a bit of glamour about it.

So, the S6 and S6 Edge are two handsets that represent a complete reworking of Samsung’s flagship phones. Both have removed the microSD slot and user-replaceable battery. These are two things that were tentpoles of previous Samsung Galaxy phones, and some people will miss them a great deal. That said Samsung has made some changes that make these things less of an issue, for one thing, the minimum capacity of the S6 is now 32GB and at the high end goes up to 128GB.

One thing is for sure though, if you want the S6 it’s going to cost you a decent amount of money, so let’s get on with getting you the best possible price.

The UK’s best Samsung Galaxy S6 deal:

This month’s best S6 deal: For now at least, the cheapest possible deal on a Samsung Galaxy S6 in the UK is on O2. You’ll need to pay £394.99 for the handset, but this does reduce your monthly costs to just £13.50. The problem with this is that you get a fairly meager 100 minutes of calls, texts are unlimited, but the data allowance is just 100mb. On a modern smartphone there’s just no way that 100mb is enough data, so bear that in mind.

Compare: all Samsung Galaxy S6 deals

Now let’s break down the best iPhone 6 Plus deals by network…

iPhone 6 deals on EE

Best Galaxy S6 deals on EE

EE is the network to go to if you want high-speed 4G

Deal 1: 1000 mins, 1GB data, unlimited texts, £159.99 upfront, £31.99pm
The best deal we found on EE offers a split between up-front cost and a monthly fee. Here you’re paying £159.99 initially and then £31.99 per month. That gets you 1GB of data, 1000 minutes of calls and unlimited texts. The data is a little bit low, but we think you can get by with 1GB unless you’re a very heavy user.

Deal 2: Unlimited mins, 4GB data, Unlimited texts, £129.99 up front, £31.99pm
For those looking for a mountain of data, the best bet is probably for an S6 32GB at £129.99 up-front and then a monthly cost of £31.99. That gets you 4GB of data and unlimited calls and texts.

Deal 3: Unlimited mins, 5GB data, unlimited texts, FREE up front, £46.99pm
To get the handset with no up-front payment, you’ll need to pay £46.99 per month, which will get you unlimited calls and texts along with a generous 5GB of data. What you’ll notice from our total cost calculation below though, is that you pay a premium to spread the cost of the phone over the period of your contract. If you can afford it, deal 2 is better value and only gives a small amount less data.

Compare: all Samsung Galaxy S6 deals

iphone 6 deals on o2

Best Galaxy S6 deals on O2

O2 is the network with extras, including the popular O2 Priority service

Deal 1: 100 mins, 100MB data, unlimited texts, £394.99 up front, £13.50pm
Our best deal on O2 requires you find £394.99 for the phone, and a further £13.50 per month thereafter. That gets you just 100mb of data and 100 minutes of calls, texts are, happily, unlimited but given the whole SMS house of cards is collapsing, do you need that many texts included?

Deal 2: Unlimited mins, 5GB data, unlimited texts, £99.99 up front, £34pm
For a better deal on data, and for those who download lots of stream Netflix on the go, then you should go for O2’s 5GB package. The up-front phone cost is £99.99 and the monthly fee is £34 which gets you unlimited calls and texts.

Deal 3: Unlimited mins, 1GB data, unlimited texts, FREE up front, £37.50pm
If a “free” phone is what you crave then O2 will happily provide that if you’re prepared to pay £37.50 per month. You get 1GB of data – which is the bare minimum for smartphone use really – and unlimited calls and texts. The lifetime cost of this device is nearly the same as deal 2 though, so for £16 extra you could pick up 4GB more per month in data.

Compare: all Samsung Galaxy S6 deals


Best Galaxy S6 deals on Vodafone

Vodafone prides itself in coverage and quality, it’s often a bit mean with data, but there are extras like Spotify and Sky Sports Mobile thrown in.

Deal 1: 100 mins, 100MB data, unlimited texts, £199 up front, £26.50pm
Vodafone’s best overall deal requires you pay £199 up-front and then £26.50 per month. For that though you get just 100mb of data and 100 minutes of calls. Texts are unlimited, in case you haven’t heard of WhatsApp.

Deal 2: Unlimited mins, 4GB data, unlimited texts, £29.99 up front, £39.50pm
For the data lovers, there best option for you is the 4GB plan which also comes with unlimited calls and texts. It’s £39.50 per month, with an up-front fee of £29.99 for the 32GB S6 in black.

Deal 3: Unlimited mins, 2GB data, unlimited texts, FREE up front, £39.50pm
An interesting deal for those looking for a free handset is Vodafone’s 2GB data plan, which also has unlimited calls and texts. This costs £39.50 per month, but that’s a total outlay of £948 over two years. The data allowance is also enough for all but the very heaviest users.

Compare: all Samsung Galaxy S6 deals

iphone 6 deals on Three

Best Galaxy S6 deals on Three

Three is one of few providers that offers unlimited data, and Feel at Home is amazing for regular travellers.

Deal 1: Unlimited mins, 1GB data, unlimited texts, £49 up front, £39pm
Three’s deals on the Galaxy S6 are much like its iPhone deals, you tend to get a bit more data but the cost is higher. Three, for example, don’t pull that measly 100mb stunt. Its best deal is £49 up-front, with a per-month cost of £39. Calls and texts are both unlimited, and you get 1GB of data, but it’s far from the cheapest way to get this phone.

Deal 2: Unlimited mins, Unlimited data, Unlimited texts, £109.99 up front, £42pm
Three is also the only company to offer “unlimited” data but this will cost you £42 per month and you’ll need to hand over £109.99 for the phone. Everything is included though, with calls and texts both without limits and you can use the phone abroad in select countries for no extra cost.

Deal 3: Unlimited mins, 1GB data, unlimited texts, FREE up front, £44pm
If you want to avoid paying for the phone up-front, then the tariff to go for costs £44 per month. Texts and calls are unlimited, but data has a 1GB cap. This deal is basically identical to deal 1, but you’re paying £71 for the privilege of getting a “free” phone. If you can afford it, make sure you go for deal 1 instead.

Compare: all Samsung Galaxy S6 deals

Read: Samsung Galaxy S6 review