If Money Was Not an Issue, Would You Opt for 20:20 Vision?
Of Course You Would - For Yourself AND For Your Customer Documents
From Scott Gerschwer, Ph.D., Compart NA Marketing
If you could have 20:20 vision and the money--for laser surgery, for mega vitamins, for whatever did the trick-- was not an issue, would you? The answer for most of us is: of course. Who wouldn’t? So let me ask you: if you could have 20:20 vision of your documents--before they went to print and once they are archived—and money wasn’t a problem, would you?
The answer for most of us is yes, of course. But not everyone does, and this is perplexing. The good news is that 20:20 vision is indeed possible. Not with many of the free viewers people download to look at documents online. Those viewers lie to you. They switch fonts, cheat on graphics, fudge the overall layout. But if you want a viewer that renders perfect fidelity with every document—no matter what print stream you are using—I have amazing news for you. And money will not be an object.
But first let us sing the praises of IBM.
Big Blue was an amazing company. Their mainframe computers put a man on the moon. And the engineers who worked on those mainframes were experts at precision. They knew that in the dark and cold of space even a small mistake could kill a man so they were extra careful about how they engineered their programs. And the same kind of software engineers, with the same ethic of precision that put Neil Armstrong on the moon, created Advanced Function Presentation (AFP).
AFP is great, right? Using AFP, an organization can control formatting and index and manage documents so they can be stored and accessed across multiple operating system platforms. It’s just a really precise, really useful print stream. IT people in the document output business love AFP.
But the AFP that comes from one document composition software is somewhat not the same style as the AFP that comes from another document composition software. So even though they all output perfectly formed AFP, some doc comp tools are good for dynamic transactional documents like EOBs and some are better for static documents like correspondence, statements of billing coverage and marketing. It’s a question of style.
So in order to make sure you are printing what you intend to print, you need a viewer that displays exactly what is going to be in print, no matter which document composition tool your AFP came from. Especially when you are printing a 12, 000 page statement and you don’t want to make a BIG MISTAKE. No one has the time or money for that. And you want to know exactly—exactly—what will emerge from the printer. But viewers lie. They lie.
Say your marketing department used an exotic font and the viewer doesn’t have it, chances are that it will substitute another font that’s close but not the same in order to render it as best they can. Same with graphics. And we can’t live with that. Not that we’re putting a man on the moon—but we do take our jobs seriously and we don’t want to approximate instead of getting it 100% correct.
In other words, we want 20:20 vision. And we want our viewer to have 20:20 vision.
Of course to complicate matters not every client organization feeds your operation AFP. There are still other print streams out there, and whether you are a print service provider or you work in-house, you need to be ready to print what you get: after all, that’s what you signed up for.
So you might have EBCDIC mainframe text data that you convert to Postscript via some unnamed document composition tool and you want to be able to look at it without Distilling it and-- if you can use the same viewer -- it’s a big time saver. And time is money.
So if Big Eyes with 20:20 vision is a must-have for checking out the documents before you commit to print, just click here and read this online brochure. But if you’re still not sure --because a lot of people settle for inaccurate viewers because they are free—please read on.
Look, you can get a free viewer from print technology vendors who often give away viewers that provide clear views of the print streams designed to drive their printers. Likewise, document composition vendors will give you a viewer meant specifically for their doc comp tool. But there is one basic flaw in the logic of downloading all these viewers: you want 20:20 vision for all your print streams.
So if you are in a service bureau or a shop that handles lots of documents from lots of doc comp software and especially if you don’t only get AFP documents but also Postscript and PDF and PCL, you need a vendor-neutral viewer. One that has a 20:20 view of all of them.
And here’s another consideration: you might want to find one that doesn’t rely on a browser to get the job done. When you are about to print a 15,000 page document, you don’t want to deal with firewalls and bandwidth issues.
It would be smart to have a viewer on your desktop that accurately reads AFP no matter what flavor it is. Because different document composition packages can be used for different jobs. And although they all output AFP, the AFP is not the same. Rather than match the file with the comp software, having one viewer that can display them all with clarity is simply more efficient.
A Document Solutions Architect spoke recently about how he uses DocBridge® View: “It is our only tool for viewing AFP output no matter what doc comp tool we used upstream. With it, I know that we can make sure that everything is composed correctly and laid out properly. I did a lot of research online and this is the only package I found that was not a plug-in for a specific printer or Internet Explorer.
It is the only one I found that is stable and that displays the output correctly—no matter what print file or flavor AFP I introduce. A couple of other AFP viewers I tried to upload –some of them for free—just didn’t have the same ability to load large files or show me fonts misaligned or graphics askew. Even the printer viewers that view index and control files don’t really display the AFP as it will actually look when it comes off the printer as well as DocBridge® View.”
That’s a terrific testimonial. But there is another application for View that needs to be discussed. Part of having an omni-channel Customer Experience capability is the integration of document output with customer relationship management platforms. For example, many organizations archive customer documents in PDF. And others store documents in AFP. No matter what format you use to store documents a Customer Service Representative can see it quickly and efficiently with View.
Every CSR in the world should have DocBridge® View! There is no faster and more effective way to help the customer. And in an age when customer experience is paramount, that is a great benefit. 20:20 vision is a worthy goal. And money, please be assured, is no object. The price point for perfection is low. You’ll see like you’ve never seen before. Ans your customers will thank you for your vision.