Adobe is trying to turn its Acrobat portable document format into the lingua franca of corporate document management. If you have enough money, Adobe has a family of servers that work with third-party document management solutions to provide a complete solution for document storage and recovery.
The company has also claimed a space in forms management, offering servers that, for example, allow any Acrobat Reader user to store partially filled forms for completion later. This is something the Reader software wont do by itself and I have to wonder if the reason it doesnt has more to do with protecting Adobe revenue that maintaining control of data.
Adobe has also recently announced a deal with GeoTrust to provide secure digital forms, assuring users that their information is safely encrypted and will only be sent back to the proper e-mail address for processing. Adobe is making something of a big deal out of its ability to provide document security in a file format that, while open, it controls.
The recently introduced Acrobat 7 software, while still too expensive for wide corporate consumption, at least allows users to create a document than can be reviewed and annotated by users of the free Reader product. Previously, reviewing and annotation required a copy of Acrobat itself. Version 7 also includes a number of features that improve form creation and other enterprise functionality.
Adobe is known for selling expensive software and this new endeavor is no exception. Its still easy to spend several hundred dollars a seat for an enterprise Acrobat installation. But if youre smaller than an enterprise customer, not to worry: Adobe doesnt much care about you.