Do PDF/A and Enterprise Content Management systems complement each other (perfectly)?

20 Mar 2019 By Dietrich von Seggern

ZUGFeRD PDF/A-3 PDF standards PDF/A

There are numerous tools on the market, including freeware, with which users can create PDFs. But are the results of this always satisfactory? So it can happen that a certain PDF file can be opened with one reader and not with another. In addition, the PDF format is not suitable for long-term archiving. Invoices or other documents that have to be stored for decades should therefore be stored in PDF/A format in the ECM system. The ECM system also uses appropriate mechanisms to ensure that documents are stored unchangeably, as required by law.

Numerous ECM providers, therefore, already integrate our PDF/A technology as SDK (Software Development Kit). Their users can then - integrated into their document processes - create PDF/A files or check their conformity. It is relatively new that here also the somewhat special PDF/A-3 format is used and thus enriches the scope of services of the ECM system. The special feature of PDF/A-3 is that this standard part enables the embedding of any document in a PDF/A file. The PDF thus becomes a kind of "ZIP archive with user interface". Thus, users can elegantly combine several documents in one file.

PDF/A-3 is useful for hybrid archiving, i.e. combining the source document like an Office file with the associated PDF/A file. Emails with business-critical content that are worth keeping are rendered with callas technology. In a PDF/A-3 file, the original e-mail can then be stored in the ECM system together with its archivable counterpart in a revision-proof manner. Another example is the storage of invoices. Information that an OCR reads from an invoice can be stored in a separate file and archived together with the invoice in a PDF/A-3 file. PDF/A-3 can also be used to elegantly compile files, such as documents and drawings that are created within a project. Another example of its application is the generation and processing of ZUGFeRD invoices. For incoming invoices, callas pdfaPilot automatically extracts the contained invoice data in XML format and forwards them to systems for processing. The PDF/A invoice is then stored in the ECM system.

PDF/A and especially PDF/A-3 and ECM complement each other perfectly. PDF/A-3 can additionally increase the benefits of digital processes, since connections between documents can also be displayed outside the ECM system. There are numerous advantages for ECM users with regard to document management and distribution. In addition, it is ensured that the PDF files stored in the ECM system can be reproduced at any time.

Just as info, this year's PDF Camp in Berlin will take place from April 8 starting at 11 AM and ending on April 9 at 4 PM. During this hands-on event, we will work in groups to find answers to your PDF questions. The idea is that you bring up your production problems and project challenges. Hope to see you there.

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