The Value of Zero

The concept of zero has changed civilizations that have discovered how to make it work for them. From simple counting to advanced mathematics, zero has played a pivotal role enabling the world to progress. In today’s business environment, zero is still a powerful number. Companies are constantly striving to lift measures like revenue, profit, and number of customers further away from zero. On the other side of the continuum, zero is a target when looking for opportunities to reduce costs, inefficiency, and competition.

Zero in Relation to Document Viewing

In the area of document workflow, especially viewing, zero has near tangible value. Large stacks of paper documents still seen routinely in all businesses today are a tactile reminder of the volume of document processing that goes into getting business done. Unfortunately, they are often a physical impediment to working more efficiently as well. ECM and business process applications ease the workflow burden by digitizing documents — coupling those with a highly-efficient document viewer can be very meaningful. For example, zero content stored on the client, zero installation and maintenance effort, zero time waiting for documents, and zero client licensing.

Harnessing the power of HTML, AJAX technology and web viewing can revolutionize your document workflow processes.

Zero Footprint

Installing an ECM system is a major project that often takes months of planning and a year of implementation. Systems like EMC®Documentum® or IBM® FileNet® can provide foundational infrastructure for the entire enterprise. Their primary benefit is centralizing all your document data and allowing client applications to pull from a single storage location. The typical centralized repository serves a document to the client workstation where it is opened in its native application. An example would be opening a Word document in MS Word. In that scenario, each client machine requires the individual application installed and running, whether it be MS Word, Excel, Adobe Acrobat or a TIFF viewer. When dealing with a variety of document types, a great amount of processing time is expended as well as possibilities for confusion and inefficiency created when the end user has to work with multiple applications.

A well-designed Zero Footprint viewer runs directly in a Web browser and delivers ongoing value for the end-user by providing universal document viewing and powerful processing capabilities regardless of platform or location. Using a Zero Footprint viewer enables end-users to view and manipulate documents in real-time by utilizing AJAX technology to make dynamic requests to a server repository. The Web browser serves as a single-point solution eliminating the need for additional applications or training. This increases overall productivity by simplifying the user viewing process, with zero consideration for end-user environments, applications, or document formats.

Zero Maintenance

Client-based applications are difficult to scale as enterprises grow. Installing client software, either individually or through a server, requires non-trivial time and planning, and is a costly undertaking in both budget and resource allocation. Additionally, tying applications to particular computers prevents configurations based on user-permissions. When updates or upgrades are needed, they must be performed separately on each user machine. Concern over undertaking this cumbersome process often leads companies to continue using software well past its useful lifespan. Relying on old software eventually lowers productivity and can inhibit using best-practices in business processes.

But a browser-based document viewer requires zero client-side maintenance and gives the IT department more control over permissions. Updates can be made quickly through the centralized server component without any disruption to the end-users. Additionally, user permissions can be more carefully controlled and set at group or individual levels to enable more efficient business processes for reviewing and approving documents. This liberates IT from mundane, software maintenance to focus on more strategic endeavors.

Zero Time

Time is a scarce commodity in most companies. Efficiency is the key to squeezing the most work and value out of the limited time available. The pursuit of efficiency in workflow revolves around the ability to remove unnecessary actions from the process. Even small improvements can have a large effect when magnified across the enterprise. However, one obstacle that always challenges workflow efficiency is document delivery. The electronic revolution that was supposed to simplify managing documents has produced improvements in areas like capture (high-speed scanning) and storage (centralized repositories). On the other hand, document delivery is a business problem that has only grown in magnitude as document file size has increased. The bigger the file, the longer it takes to deliver, open and/or print. Delivery lags behind other improvements creating inefficiencies in the business process.

Zero Time adds value to the business by optimizing delivery of documents -- an often overlooked but critical step in the overall workflow process. Updates in viewing technology eliminate the lag time that typically occurs in systems that download or stream the full document by using Page on Demand delivery. By taking advantage of server-side caching and processing, users are empowered to select specific pages, which are delivered on the fly, rather than downloading the entire document. This high-speed delivery of pages from documents of any size, from a single page to thousands of pages, minimizes interruptions and delays to keep workflows consistently moving. Zero delivery time results in measurably shorter document processing cycles and added efficiency that will increase ROI.

Zero Client Licensing

Distributing content throughout an organization is all about the numbers. You can count the end-users that will receive the files and count how many licenses you need to meet that demand. Those neat calculations disappear when you step outside the enterprise. If you need to make content available to affiliates, vendors, contractors, or customers, you can easily lose control of tracking how many seats will be involved. Beyond the problems of counting seats is ensuring that all end-users will have the appropriate software because customers quickly become frustrated by files they cannot open. Companies need to plan how they can present relevant information to their external customers and stakeholders — using a secure, AJAX-based viewer provides a simple answer to that problem.

The value of Zero Client Licensing is seen in the bottom line. The option to remove per-seat licenses allows you to scale internal resources on your schedule. Budgets can be planned more effectively and costs for scaling internal and external resources can be forecast more accurately. With the ability to distribute content on your terms, the potential for providing greater access to critical resources in a secure manner enables you to grow faster.

Zero Reason Not To

Companies that have given zero thought to document viewing are discovering an entirely new area to improve their business processes. The advantages of a zero footprint viewer for end-users, IT departments, business units, and the bottom line make it an investment that benefits the entire organization. And, just as important, provides a scalable approach for companies to reach outside their own walls and connect with external partners and customers.

With so much riding on zero, isn't it time you determined the value of zero for yourself?