Categories: General Posted by QBS on 3/22/2017 4:30 PM | Comments (0)

Written by David Ronald

If you’re creating documents containing business information that has long-term relevance and/or you’re creating an archive that users may access way down the line, you want to ensure those PDF files will be usable. Since PDF is regulated by an ISO standard, it’s meant to be future-compatible, but you have to follow some principles of interoperability to ensure that’s true. In order for your PDF files to be accessible in the long run, you need to validate their correctness and long-term legibility. Fortunately, there’s an easy answer because this is precisely what PDF/A validation does for you.

What is PDF/A?

The PDF/A ISO standard is a set of guidelines that dictates certain restrictions on how what a PDF file can contain and the processes you use to create it. That’s why it rules out some features that aren’t compatible with long-term readability and view-ability. That means features such as encryption, non-embedded fonts, external references to multimedia content and 3D content, among others. When you validate a PDF/A file or process, you check documents for compliance with the ISO standards for PDF and PDF/A documents. Once your files are validated, you can be confident that they’re suitable to go in your archive and will be accessible in the long term.

PDF/A validation best practices

Here are the top ways to ensure your PDF files are validated appropriately:
  1. Use Foxit PhantomPDF to validate single PDF files. PhantomPDF has PDF/A, PDF/E and PDF/X compliance validation built right in and lets you detect and fix problems.
  2. Use Foxit pdf compressor to set up a process for validating large numbers of scans. If you’re working scans at an enterprise-level scale, you can create a process validation in order to handle checking for PDF/A compliance automatically. Once you set it up (and ensure it’s working with a few tests of random samples), you can set it and forget it.
  3. Set up a single entity responsible for validating incoming files. This is how they do it in Germany, the birthplace of PDF Compressor, where there are 400 savings banks and one service provider runs the central archive. Because the service provider is the single point of responsibility, they validate each and every incoming PDF file for PDF/A as they receive it. (If you want resources to create this kind of validation solution, contact us for a recommendation on good partners to help you do it.)
Keep in mind, the whole point of having an archive is enabling your PDF files to be accessible for the foreseeable—and not so foreseeable—future. If you’re archiving without validation, you may be inadvertently saving bad pdfs that are unreadable, unsearchable and generally unusable. It’s just one more reason to use PDF/A to ensure the highest technical quality of your business documents.
Categories: General Posted by QBS on 3/6/2017 8:54 AM | Comments (0)
Empowering Colleagues to Share Knowledge Companywide - TechSmith Case Study

Case Study by TechSmith

Formed in 2006, Virgin Media serves millions of customers in the United Kingdom with television, broadband internet and telephony services. Virgin Media employees continuously push themselves to “change the game,” a phrase that describes their dedication to doing things better, smarter and faster than anyone else.

The company was formed through several mergers throughout the years, bringing people with different backgrounds and experiences together to form what is known as Virgin Media today. As one of the largest media companies in the world, Virgin Media has thousands of colleagues to train and support every day.

The Virgin Media workforce collectively holds years of company history and specialised knowledge. However, this ‘tacit’ knowledge is notoriously difficult to capture and share. When Casson McRae, a learning technologies business partner on the training and development team at Virgin Media, tasked himself with changing the game of training at the company, he turned to TechSmith for help.

The challenge

Casson and the training and development team at Virgin Media knew that years of personal experience and knowledge was locked away in the minds of peers across the company. More importantly, a number of those peers were getting close to retirement. Casson and his team needed to find a way that would allow everyone to share their personal knowledge quickly and easily.

“We have an internal social network at Virgin Media on which colleagues share information every day,” said Casson. “We wanted a more effective approach to sharing information across this network, which is why we decided to focus on video as an engaging way to capture and share knowledge from colleagues.”

While video recording and editing programs are more affordable and powerful than ever, Casson didn’t want to make the video process difficult or intimidating with the complex features found in many video programs. He needed a simple interface with the ability to record sound and the screen in front of the employee.

The solution

The training team turned to TechSmith Snagit for simple video recording and sharing. Snagit allows users to make quick and simple screen recordings that can be shared on nearly any platform, making it the perfect tool for the job. However, instead of simply rolling Snagit out to 150 colleagues, Casson and his team decided to roll it out to 15,000 employees company wide instead.

“Snagit makes it easy for all of our colleagues to quickly record their knowledge as simple videos for peers to use to do their jobs.” said Casson. “Colleagues are able walk through a routine process or respond to questions with videos and share them through our internal social network for all to see.”

With the simplicity of video recording in Snagit, the training and development team was able to focus on sharing knowledge between colleagues, instead of training peers on best practices for video effects or advanced video editing functions. All colleagues had to do was gather their thoughts and press the record button to make short, informative videos for their peers.

The results

As more colleagues watch videos created by their colleagues, they are able to see just how easy it is to share knowledge with video. By installing Snagit on computers across the company, Virgin Media colleagues already have everything they need to make informative videos and images of their own.

“Training departments today can’t know everything,” said Casson. “We have to rely on the expertise of our colleagues and show them the most efficient and effective ways to share their personal knowledge with others. Snagit makes it easy for us to empower colleagues across the company to do just that.”

As retiring colleagues share the videos they have created, Casson and the training and development team encourage others to share their expertise by creating their own videos. By offering a simple and quick way to share information, the training and development team at Virgin Media has ensured that the personal experience and knowledge of one becomes readily available to all.

Categories: General Posted by QBS on 2/14/2017 3:29 PM | Comments (1)


Delivering Impressive Performance and Increased Efficiency

Hilson Moran Redefines Project Efficiency With Revu

With 40 years of experience within the build environment, Hilson Moran has embarked on a digital strategy to completely transform its workflows. A key tool in this initiative is Bluebeam Revu—an award-winning PDF creation, editing, markup and collaboration technology designed for the engineering and construction industry. Bluebeam Revu has provided the engineering consultancy instant time-saving dividends when handling contractor drawing and technical submittal reviews, whilst converting the firm’s paper-based traditional workflows into digital solutions.

Why Go Digital After 40 Years?

“There is no doubt the digital revolution has now arrived in the construction industry and it is starting to make a real impact. User-friendly software like Bluebeam Revu is at the forefront of this change,” observes Hilson Moran’s digital champion, Director Vince Ugarow.

“Our users actually see the benefit of Revu,” explains Finance Director Roger Waters-Duke. “Our engineers say it actually makes their life easier and that’s part of why the product is the quickest software to ever be adopted at Hilson Moran. We went from 10 licences a year ago to 229 licences now across the whole company.”

Rolling Out Revu

The forward-thinking management team at Hilson Moran first introduced Revu to a small innovation team and implemented the software on PCs, laptops and Wacom tablets. The same design and construction information previously found on sheets of drawing paper could now be seen on screens and tablets, giving this group of employees the degree of familiarity to explore and innovate new workflows, before actually trialing it on a sample project. After finding first-time success in using Revu on a peer review for a very large residential development in South London, Hilson Moran began implementing the software across the company.

Training Time

Hilson Moran organised a tutorial with an external trainer for first-time users to help them become familiar with the features. After a few larger overview sessions, the staff broke out into groups of five. These groups were trained extensively and eventually colleagues began teaching each other Revu features and shortcuts. “I used it experimenting with the different tools and features just to get an idea of how the different things worked,” says Mechanical Design Engineer Stephen Atemie.

Workflow Innovations

One of the unique features Hilson Moran credits to the quick success of implementing Bluebeam Revu is the ability to make customised tool sets within the program. “Each department has their own tool sets, so mechanical and electrical engineers can each drop their respective drawing symbols into drawings, which makes marking up and sketching much, much quicker,” declares Mechanical Design Engineer Will Major. “We have actually created some custom tool sets which are considered Hilson Moran tool sets for specific tasks. These can range from very simple line types to detailed engineering symbols that we all use, ensuring consistency and quality,” adds Ugarow.

A popular workflow that Revu makes easy for Hilson Moran is the design review process. Atemie explains the early workflow: “Before, you would get sent the drawing—say from an architect or a client—and you would print it out, make your markup in your sketches on the drawing and then scan that back onto the system which, depending on the quality of the scan, might not necessarily show all the details that you want. Then, if you needed to make changes again, you would print off the scanned version, draw on that and then scan that back into the system, which, each time you do it, would reduce the quality of the drawing and use a lot more paper.” Atemie and the whole firm, now prefers the paperless way.

Bluebeam Revu has massively helped my project work. It has made me much quicker and more efficient and I think a step towards a paper–free office is definitely a good thing.” Hilson Moran Mechanical Design Engineer Will Major

Revu features like Batch Overlay, which allows multiple pairs of file revisions to be easily compared, are popular, while markups and custom tool sets round out Revu feature favorites.

Waters-Duke remains optimistic in how much further digital solutions will take the company. “We are looking to use Bluebeam Studio to allow us to collaborate between our UK, Abu Dhabi and Qatar offices for much more seamless collaboration.”

Measuring Success

Waters-Duke has seen the positive side of implementing digital solutions for the engineering consultancy. “When I first joined Hilson Moran ten years ago, there were drawing boards everywhere,” he says with a laugh. “Everybody still did everything on large printers and our printers were slow. Therefore, it took a lot of time to print out drawings, mark them up, scan them and then return them to an architect. Today with Revu, we are now able to streamline that process and it allows us to electronically mark the drawings and return them to the architect without ever having to print them, which also not only improves our efficiency, but also improves the environment.”

Categories: General Posted by Mateusz Jazdzewski on 5/23/2012 4:50 PM | Comments (0)

IT is an integral part of the day-to-day operations for most businesses today. The smooth operation of integral systems is a target which many organisations struggle to achieve. With the cost of in-house staff ever-increasing, many find employing external contractor a tempting alternative.

Services_network IT Services companies provide two basic models of servicing their customer. The traditional “break-fix” model which is still the most popular form of providing IT services to customers. When the customer experiences a technical issue with their systems they raise a ticket with the support company. The resolution of the issue depends on the nature of the problem and the Service Level Agreement which both sides agree to.

Managed Service Providers supply a more advanced method of looking after their customers. They constantly monitor a customer’s systems looking for issues which are not yet felt by the end users. Their aim is to eliminate potential problem before they begin to affect the operations of the customer. In this scenario the only way for the managed service provider to make money is to maintain the systems in the best possible way using IT best practice.

In addition to the above, they often take care of all the software and hardware purchases required as well as manage customer’s interaction with other suppliers (broadband supplier, phone line supplier, often even electricity supplier) allowing the customer to have truly one point of contact for any issues that may arise.

How can this benefit the small business owner? Managed service providers employ experienced IT support staff who will take the time to understand a customer’s business first. They then offer solutions to the pain points which the customer points out. They are constantly on the looking for ways to make the infrastructure more reliable. By eliminating most avoidable issues as well as preparing for possible failures they will be prepared to react if a serious issue occurs, therefore limiting or eliminating data loss and impact to the customer’s business.

As you can see the fact that Managed Service Providers offer a proactive way of managing the customer’s infrastructure, makes it a far more superior method of IT management, allowing the customer to concentrate on what they do best, in turn making them more competitive and successful.