December 9, 2014

PDF and PDF/A – The De-facto Standard for Customer Communications Archiving

Recently Crawford Technologies, in partnership with AIIM, the global community for information professionals, conducted a market survey into customer communications archiving practices. The survey questioned 226 respondents from North America and Western Europe from a range of sectors including government, banking, insurance, telco/media/utilities and healthcare. The survey provides an insight into the trends affecting customer communication archiving.

Having worked in the high volume print workflow and customer communications archiving market since 1995 CrawfordTech has witnessed several generations of technology. From text and line data through to all point addressable print formats like AFP and Metacode and now to PDF and PostScript. We have a strong sense of the trends in formats for customer communications archiving but the AIIM survey certainly brought home to us that there is a seismic shift occurring on the marketplace.

AIIM reports that 75% of respondents indicate they use PDF for long term archiving while 32% use PDF/A – the long term archiving format standardized in 2005 - or PDF/UA (3%) – the universal accessibility format standardized in 2012 . Raw TIFF is used by 40%, which although it is a robust format, provides little help for indexing and search. 25% of customers still reported the use of text files for archiving AFP was cited by 2% of correspondents.

AIIM identified a clear trend towards the adoption of PDF as an open industry standards for document archiving. This trend is mirrored at CrawfordTech we see most demand for PDF and PDF/A as the target for our transformation technologies. PDF/UA is also beginning to gain traction as companies recognise the need to provide documents for the visually impaired.

Of course this presents a challenge for the future of legacy archives storing native file formats and the availability of applications to access them. That’s probably why we are busy at CrawfordTech with an increasing demand for migration for legacy archives – I won’t be planning retirement any time soon!

AIIM’s report is a great place to look at the trends associated with customer correspondence archiving and can be downloaded here.

And look out for our next blog in the “Trends in Customer Communications Archiving” series.

If you haven't read the previous blogs in this series I invite you to read them here:

Introducing All-New Archiving Trends in Customer Communications - CrawfordTech and AIIM Announce the Results of Survey into Trends in Customer Communications Archiving

All-New Archiving Trends in Customer Communications- Statement and Invoices make up 68% of Outbound Correspondence

Trends in Customer Communications - 39% of Organizations Archive Outbound Correspondence

Trends in Customer Communications - 34% of Organizations Cite an 'Ad Hoc' System for Archiving

Trends in Customer Communications - The Top Reasons Companies Keep Correspondence is for Historical Record Keeping

Trends in Customer Communications - Why is the Responsibility for Customer Communications Archiving so Decentralized?

Trends in Customer Communications - Why do Companies Archive Variations of Customer Correspondence

Trends in Customer Communications - Why is the Average Print Budget $5.8M and the Average Print Archive Budget $623K?