IT service provider trusts in software products from SoftVision

LVR-InfoKom, the information technology service provider of the Landschaftsverband Rheinland municipal association and Germany’s largest services agency for people with disabilities (better known by its abbreviation LVR), has been successfully running the n2pdf and webPDF software solutions from SoftVision Development since early 2015. The LVR uses n2pdf for enabling the various boards and committees to work digitally, which means the meeting documents can be provided to officials in these political bodies in paperless form.

The many community affairs and policy committees within the LVR debate and decide upon hundreds of proposals and initiatives every year. Up until 2015, the best available way of preparing for the numerous sessions was to print out the meeting documents and mail them to each committee member. The result over time has been some 3.2 million pages of paper being printed and distributed.

Many clear benefits of digital committee work

  1. Access to all meeting documents from anywhere at any time
  2. Less work and significant savings in paper, postage and printing costs
  3. Allows electronic annotations that can be saved on tablets
  4. A more ergonomic way of handling complex meeting documents (no time-consuming sorting and compiling)

The municipal association’s desire to organize and do committee work digitally led to LVR-InfoKom creating a way of providing meeting documents electronically from existing procedures and making them readily available on tablets and other devices during the gatherings. Ultimately, this led to the highly effective employment of n2pdf in tandem with webPDF.

Here is where n2pdf is used to generate meeting documents for the political representatives, or more specifically where n2pdf/webPDF creates one single PDF meeting folder from all of the many meeting documents and their enclosures.

“We used to compile meeting folders manually using the PDFCreator printer driver. Naturally, we weren’t very happy with this. We tried out any number of different products in our search for a software that could help us before we decided on SoftVision Development,” stated Wilma Haake, the product manager at LVR-InfoKom.

What can n2pdf offer as a software?

“We were impressed by the capability of integrating n2pdf within the IBM Notes environment. This solution from SoftVision had one other decisive advantage that really swayed us: It gives us the option of developing ourselves exactly how the PDF document should look when it’s finished. Other applications we considered only offered a range of settings choices. We found n2pdf’s versatility to be compelling, since we’re always seeking custom solutions that are a perfect fit for our customers. The ability to program the software along with its broad development potential were key factors behind our choice of this product from SoftVision,” remarked Manuela Ketterer, the product administrator at LVR-InfoKom. “Programming benefits and adaptability are persuasive arguments, not to mention the ability to convert all our Lotus Notes documents and their file attachments into a single PDF document. Another highlight is our latest advancement made to the meeting folders and for which we can now set bookmarks in enclosures.”

What’s it like for users working with n2pdf?

“Buttons are all it takes to use n2pdf. In other words, it’s an extremely simple and user-friendly experience that leads to only very rare difficulties. We think it’s worth pointing out how incredibly fast it generates PDF documents. Problems involving its operation only arise when converting HTML to PDF when occasionally the way content is displayed does not match user expectations 100% (e.g. fonts, font size, line breaks). But then again, you’ve got to keep in mind that these PDFs are not generated using a PDF print driver. What’s more, and besides n2pdf’s benefits (progammability, versatility and depth), we sometimes face a situation whereby finding an error becomes time consuming since you’ve first got to determine whether the error is in the programming or the PDF conversion. This is not a software problem per se, but just something that naturally comes with the territory,” explained Manuela Ketterer.

All of the desired savings in time and money were achieved by using n2pdf to digitize the work of the various boards and committees.

Very good service and problem-free implementation by SoftVision

“Rolling out n2pdf was remarkably uncomplicated,” added Manuela Ketterer. “We were initially provided the product for testing, which we accomplished in close collaboration with the relevant department within the association and using a pilot committee. We started out by simply using n2pdf to create invitations, materials for deliberation, and memorandums. Later we added the meeting folders and, in generating them, worked on further optimizations including the ability to add bookmarks to enclosures.

“The orientation into the n2pdf software application itself was a matter of learning by doing using the n2pdf help feature and sample databases. Somewhat problematic was the fact that these only applied to the Lotus Notes client and not the Domino server. The latter would have been more helpful. Training through self-study meant that getting familiarized took a little longer and the handover to co-workers was more challenging. Sample databases for the server would have been quite helpful. The software implementation and the support provided by SoftVision were more than satisfactory. We were always helped competently and, above all, quickly,” acknowledged Manuela Ketterer in reference to the good working relationship.

LVR currently using n2pdf in two departments

LVR-InfoKom is using n2pdf and webPDF in an additional operation, namely the electronic employment application. Here is where job application packages consisting of different file formats are merged into a single PDF document. LVR will continue to pursue this advantageous avenue of development and realization with modules and applications from SoftVision Development.

About LVR-InfoKom
LVR-InfoKom is the IT service provider of the Landschaftsverband Rheinland (LVR) municipal association. As an independent organization delivering on its vision of “quality information technology for people,” LVR-InfoKom covers the association and its other customers’ full needs for cutting-edge infotech services. With more than 50 years of experience in the local-government sector, this systems integrator offers action-oriented software solutions for administrative bodies, public-sector companies, clinics, schools and cultural institutions.

LVR-InfoKom’s services portfolio encompasses all the latest in information processing and technology and extends from process consulting to the design and implementation of intelligent methods and practices, all the way to solution packages that include systems operation, change management, training and the maintenance of all the required hardware and software components. The basis for this is a redundant infrastructure distributed across two ISO-certified data centers in Cologne that meet the highest standards for security and energy efficiency.