Taking Sides in the Document Revolution

The document revolution has begun. Systems like Enterprise Content Management, Document Management, Business Process Management, Records Management and others define how companies work with documents from capture to archiving. They have broken down the walls that traditionally kept documents siloed by business unit or department.  This has allowed companies to create document lifecycle processes that account for unique requirements.  In short, these systems have revolutionized how companies treat their digital documents and changed the landscape of business.

The front-end applications for viewing and interaction with documents are also changing. Enterprise viewing applications that support many document formats have increased end-user productivity. Companies are recognizing that speed is the number one priority in delivering documents to end-users. Especially when pushing documents out to hundreds or thousands of users. Traditional methods for viewing documents fail to meet the requirements for speed.

Traditional Viewing Methods

Native applications used for document viewing. This is the least productive method for working with documents because it requires a separate application to load per document type (MS Word, PDF, TIFF, etc.). The network must then transmit data for the entire document before the application will display it. The applications run on the client desktop hindering performance and speed when multiple documents are open. Finally, many native applications do not offer thumbnailing capabilities, requiring users to manually find the content they need.

Streaming content from the document repository to the client. This has the advantage of reducing load time for the end-user by quickly displaying the first page.  The disadvantages are that the entire document is still sent through the network and cached on the client machine. Bandwidth usage is not significantly decreased because the entire document is transmitted. And users cannot access pages near the end of the document until it has finished streaming. Some interim solutions do allow you to select your entry point into the document and then stream pages from that point.

The Document Viewing Revolution

For large enterprise working to consolidate electronic document storage while still being able to provide access regardless of physical location in order to process documents, traditional models cannot deliver the speed they need to be efficient.

Page On Demand eliminates the need to download the entire document, stream any data, or cache any data on the disk. Using server-based processing, documents are broken up on the server enabling the data for individual pages to be quickly identified. The data for a requested page is packaged as a separate single-page file and sent to the client for viewing. Users can retrieve and view only the pages they require from a large document instantly without having to wait for the entire document to download.

Another advantage of this technology is on-the-fly construction of virtual documents. Virtual Documents are created by pulling pages from a set of documents, independent of location, and enabling the user to browse as if it were a true, single document, with all the same functionality.

For additional efficiency, server components can generate page thumbnails on-the-fly for faster and easier document browsing by the end-user. Page On Demand viewing produces the fastest retrieval speeds available through a viewing application and truly provides immediate access to any page in a document.

Now is the time to decide which side of the document revolution you want to be on. . . the traditional or the innovative? ECM and processing applications are increasingly more tightly integrated to improve efficiency and ROI but not all are created equal; lots of innovation is going on. Fast page delivery and integrated document processing capabilities provide additional proof points of the overall solution’s value. That’s a change everyone can see.