The Government of Canada elects Foxit PhantomPDF

by DeeDee Kato, VP, Corporate Marketing

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If better workflows are a priority, find out how The Government of Canada (GC) voted to standardize on PhantomPDF

Jason Pantalone, IT Manager, Workplace Technology Devices, Procurement at Shared Services Canada (SSC), knows the importance of the GC’s mandates. One is to ensure all major branches of government have tools that support the goal to be a more open and collaborative digital government. Another mandate is to seek competition, best price, and the ability to consolidate contracts.

So, when the GC’s Adobe Acrobat contract was coming up for renewal, the time was right to look at how PDF software was being used to ensure employees had the functionality they needed. It was also time to guarantee they received the best pricing.

The discovery phase puts PDF software to the test

SSC interviewed heavy PDF software users and conducted discovery sessions with IT, procurement, and information management end users from the departments with the largest number of Acrobat licenses. That included:

  • Revenue Agency
  • Correctional Services
  • HRSDC
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
  • Transport Canada
  • Department of Defense

The discovery phase consisted of surveys and one-on-one interviews asking them about their PDF usage to formulate requirements—which, not surprisingly, can differ greatly. There are groups, for example, that work on ATIP requests (Access to Information and Privacy, similar to the USA’s Freedom of Information Act) that need redaction. Health Canada, on the other hand, has more demand for a PDF editor and the medical coding required for claims.

SSC then utilized Gartner and online searching to review the PDF software competitors in the marketplace. They examined potential vendors’ websites, viewed demos, and combed over the ISO standards to ensure that all PDF editing software they looked at met industry standards.

The field narrows to two competitors

With a list of PDF editing software providers in hand, SSC sent out a Request for Information (RFI). Questions focused on five business categories: Productivity, Accessibility, Security, Regulatory Standards, and IT/Admin, plus compliance features. They rated criteria according to two features profiles, Core and Advanced, to ensure vendors could meet all requirements.

SSC narrowed the field to two potential PDF editing software solutions: Kofax Power PDF and Foxit PhantomPDF. After using the products in the field, the vast majority of government departments chose Foxit.

Foxit comes out on top

There were several key reasons why the GC overwhelmingly chose Foxit:

  • The GC wants to use its buying power to secure the best price on any contract. Foxit Software consistently comes in at an affordable price for similar features and services when compared to competitors.
  • Foxit PhantomPDF fulfilled the most functionality across both the core and advanced feature profiles that SSC created.
  • The Foxit team developed solid relationships with SSC and GC representatives from first contact to implementation to remote and on-site training sessions. That includes highly responsive support for GC users.
  • Foxit adapted to the GC’s roadmap product requests by making changes in the PhantomPDF 10.0 release which made users even happier about the transition.

PhantomPDF delivers the advanced features government users need

Ultimately, departments preferred PhantomPDF’s technical capabilities because many of their requirements were geared around advanced features that Power PDF didn’t offer. Those features were critical to aligning with the objectives of the GC’s Digital Government initiative to streamline its business processes and improve how it delivers services to Canadians.

Using digital signatures and PDF portfolios speeds up governmental processes

Before e-signatures were available, it often took three to four days waiting for signed approvals as folders filled with paperwork were routed from office to office manually. Now, processing is much faster, often resulting in same-day turnaround. That also ensures that invoices are handled within typical 30-day timeframes before late payment fees accrue.

Keeping sensitive information secure

To enhance the GC ‘s ability to digitally transform how they operate, they required that any PDF editor software they adopted must provide core and advanced security capabilities to ensure documents and agreements are secure.

Not only did PhantomPDF meet all of the GC’s core security feature requirements, such as password protection, digital signatures, certificate-based digital signatures, and encryption, it also met their advanced feature requirements. These included retaining metadata from source content in final PDF output, security restrictions on functions such as printing and modifications by user type, operating in protected mode, full redaction capabilities, private and public digital ID key support, timestamping, and extension of Microsoft Active Directory Rights Management Services (RMS) to PDFs.

All these security measures enable public servants to more quickly review and approve the multitude of government contracts, forms and agreements in PDF format with confidence.

Enabling work on the go keeps public servants productive outside the office

Because many more public servants in the GC are working remotely now, Foxit included Foxit PDF reader Mobile. Built upon the same foundation as Foxit Reader and PhantomPDF, the app brings the power of full-fledged PDF viewing, editing and collaborating to mobile devices and employees working remotely.

Meeting accessibility requirements ensures services are delivered to more citizens

PhantomPDF was chosen to make documents accessible to vision- and hearing-impaired individuals. That includes tagging to present content reading order to screen-readers. Compatibility with JAWS (“Job Access With Speech”), the screen reader  for Microsoft Windows. Ability to replace document colors to make them viewable to colorblind individuals. And ability to run an accessibility check of files to ensure that documents are compliant.

Smooth migration keeps the government running

Pantalone gives Foxit high marks for the simplicity of migrating departments to PhantomPDF. “When migration to new software and a new vendor occurs, major things can go wrong, but the GC didn’t experience any of that,” he says. “Usually we hear things like, ‘well I’m not switching this product because this feature’s not working.’ But we’ve heard none of that. It’s been one of the smoothest migration projects I’ve ever been a part of.”

24/7 training gives public servants the skills they need

Between online demos and live presentations, Foxit training is available 24/7 to every GC employee. Foxit offered online demos every two weeks, then followed up with the departments one-on-one. Departments could also request their own training.

Success means more functionality for the GC—and more licenses

All told, the increased functionality, ease of use, excellent training and affordability of licensing means PhantomPDF has practically become a desktop standard for the GC. Now in their third year working with Foxit, SSC sees the GC benefitting across the board from electronic signing of contracts, invoice signing, form review, form creation, and more.

They’ve gone from 50,000 Acrobat licenses to 100,000 Foxit licenses and continue to speak very highly of Foxit in all respects.


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