Parsons Brinkerhoff – Acrobat X for Document Collaboration

The Australian part of Parsons Brinkerhoff has standardized on Acrobat X Professional for document collaboration among its staff members, especially for the sharing of CAD drawings and project documents:

Enterprise Group IT Consultant Rob Pek said the rollout of Acrobat X had helped overcome a major challenge in ensuring individuals working on different versions of AutoCAD design packages on different workstations worked to a common output standard.

“One of our big hurdles has been getting a consistent output throughout the entire team without spending a huge amount of time configuring each PC as it gets rolled out,” said Pek.

“We had a lot of problems in the past where schematics were printed out for jobs we are pitching on with missing information. Getting onto a standard platform for everyone has been great.”

One of the major new features introduced in Acrobat X is the ability to record and export “Actions”, workflow steps in the production of a document. This feature is familiar to users of Adobe’s Creative Suite of products, and highly valued as a way to ensure repeatable workflow.

“It’s definitely been a great help for us,” said Pek.

When CAD documents are created at PB Australia-Pacific, the typical workflow sees them distributed via shared drives on the local network. Corrections are applied to the PDF internally and also through project partners, then the marked up PDF is returned to the CAD designers for final modifications.

One of the key new features in Acrobat X – one that has removed the need to interrupt this workflow when non-design elements need to be changed – is the ability to export data into a range of different Microsoft Office document formats.

There is a great advantage to being able to take a table that’s published in a PDF, export it out into Excel, make modifications there and then publish that back into the PDF.

My Comments
1. Pillar 1 of the 7 Pillars framework talks about the need to deliver “shared access to team data and documents.” Having consistent standards for file formats is part of this.

2. The ability for non-designers to change the non-design parts of the PDF document using Office tools is a great step forward.

3. PB is a big SharePoint shop, with at least the Intranet being run on SharePoint.

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