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Adobe Acrobat Brings E-Sign and AI to Very Small Businesses

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Adobe’s new Acrobat Pro With Advanced E-sign looks to streamline digital document workflow, especially for micro-businesses that have struggled to process documents during the pandemic.

“We want Adobe Document Cloud and Acrobat to cover the entire spectrum of document management,” says Todd Gerber, VP of Document Cloud for Adobe. “We started with high-level business products on through developer technologies for companies looking to add digital document capabilities to their own applications.”

Its latest addition to that platform is the new Acrobat Pro, which Gerber says the company built to attract very small organizations. “We want to help companies that work primarily in web browsers,” he says. “Those using integrated cloud service applications, like Dropbox, Microsoft Teams, and ServiceNow.”

But in order to make the new Acrobat package attractive to a broad swath of those customers, Adobe had to tackle more than simply embedding e-sign into Acrobat and dropping the price. To succeed, the company felt it had to upgrade its Adobe Sign platform with additional features.

Those new features extend to the other tiers in the Adobe Document Cloud, and include embedding customer-designed forms into branded websites. You’ll also find the ability to add custom branding to electronic contracts and invoices, so the Adobe logo can be replaced by your own. Lastly, your customers can now leverage new Adobe partnerships with Braintree and PayPal, so they can access payment processing directly from a document or website.

Acrobat Gets Artificial Intelligence

“We’re also betting on AI,” says Gerber. “We’ve added a ‘liquid mode’ to Acrobat so mobile devices don’t have such a painful time handling PDF documents.”

Gerber explains that liquid mode isn’t simply responsive so that PDF documents are resized for mobile devices; the AI technology also restructures those files so things like the table of contents or index automatically adjust to new page counts and locations. Another nice feature is that the AI tech is an independent layer, which means it’ll apply to older PDFs, not just the ones created after liquid mode was released.

Adobe aimed the new Acrobat Pro tier at small businesses partially due to information it gleaned from a recent survey it conducted across 500 small businesses. The survey showed that even during last year’s pandemic-impacted document workflows, 51% of businesses still handle paper-based processes daily. Additionally, the average small business operator signs and manages 16 key documents every week. Specifically for contracts, that means an average processing time of six days.

Adobe’s larger, business-oriented Acrobat tiers have seen up to triple-digit growth, its survey shows. That pandemic-fueled sales surge, and its own research indicating that up to 40% of very small businesses were considering conversions to digital document processing, was a prime driver in its development of Acrobat Pro With Advanced E-sign.

Adobe is offering the new Acrobat tier with an introductory price of $19.99 per user per month with an annual commitment. After this offer expires, Acrobat Pro with Advanced E-sign will jump to $27.99 per user per month. Gerber emphasizes that this tier is really aimed at solo operators and micro-businesses with two to nine users. While you can use the platform with larger user numbers, Adobe feels that its other tiers will provide better value for bigger businesses.

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