Re: PDF v paper--what about customers?

Subject: Re: PDF v paper--what about customers?
From: Jim Prince <Jim_Prince -at- BANCTEC -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 09:50:35 -0800

<snip>
Sure, your solution will work just fine if your goal is to reduce product costs.
If that is your only goal, I am saddened. Why? Because I see so many companies
losing touch with what our real goal should be. We're supposed to be in this
business to empower the users--to provide them with the right type of
information when they need it to make their experience with our product
successful.
<snip>

We did an internal survey and our results were very interesting. The sales and
marketing (field types) wanted PDF. This allowed them to carry 50+ manuals at
one time, giving them access to large amounts of data. This worked well, and
they could leave PDF files with the customers if necessary.

The service personnel, training department, and the end users (all our
customers) wanted both formats but for different reasons. What they told us
was:

For operator, specs, site planning guides, etc. - PDF was OK, Paper was
preferred.
For any software manual - paper was preferred, PDF was acceptable to get latest
updates.
For any hardware manual - paper was mandatory, PDF was acceptable to get latest
updates.

All of the above travel with laptops, but each situation determines how useful a
the electronic version is. One glaring example was the service engineers - it
was impossible to make adjustments looking at a laptop - they really wanted the
hard copy. Also, being on the field, they do not always have access to printers
to get hard copy.

They all liked the convienance of having 50+ manuals on a CD, and found several
advantages to having the docs in this format. But specific situations always
seemed to warrant paper copies.

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