April 02, 2001, 9:27 AM — IF YOU HAVE been waiting for the digital revolution to eliminate the reams, if not mountains, of paper that pass through your departments and workgroups, it's time to face the facts: Paper is not going away. If anything, increased computer use probably has led to a rise in the number of documents that are printed, copied, collated, and mailed -- at significant cost to your company.
For sales, marketing, human resources, and other departments burdened by the hassle and costs of distributing paper documents, Adobe Systems has introduced an application, aptly named Acrobat Messenger, that transforms a Windows NT 4.0 workstation and attached sheet-fed scanner into an easy-to-use document-scanning and -distributing kiosk.
Messenger allows you to scan documents into Acrobat PDF format and e-mail them, fax them, or post them to the Web, helping to eliminate the cost and time associated with sending hard copy documents. In terms of ROI, the more paper you distribute in your daily operations, the more you stand to save by using Messenger. Your biggest savings will come from reduced shipping expenses (sorry, FedEx). Of course, because electronic documents can be delivered immediately, you'll also gain from faster workflow.
A third benefit is that Messenger allows you to create an archiving system of PDF files, thanks to the included Apache Web server and OCR (optical character recognition) software. Although each scanned document appears exactly like the original, allowing you to preserve handwritten notes and signatures, all of the text is searchable using Acrobat Reader. Because Messenger offers a complete solution to the corporate paper problem, I gave it a score of Very Good.
Simple scanning and sending
Messenger's scanning and delivery functions are seamlessly integrated into a very easy-to-use interface. Anyone with rudimentary mouse skills can scan documents using Messenger and save them directly to a networked desktop system, send them as an e-mail attachment or as a fax, or post them to Messenger's built-in Web server.