Since 2006, PDF/A has become the de facto standard format for document archival in France. Following its inclusion in the REFERENTIEL GENERAL d’INTEROPERABILITE, (the interoperability recommendation framework of the French public administration), all public sector bodies have an obligation to use it in new projects dealing with long term archiving of scanned documents images, with ripple effects in all sectors.
In the same period, thanks to a change in the law in 2000 giving equivalent legality of electronic signatures in French courts, PDF and digital signatures have created a winning duet fueling a shift towards dematerialized contracting in various sectors such as banking, e-commerce, insurance.
From 2013, PDF has been promoted again as a de facto standard in another far reaching application: e-invoicing. PDF e-invoices are now valid VAT invoices when they are properly digitally signed (which was not the case until the change of law in January 2013) or if they are part of a workflow forming a reliable and documented set of business controls.
Through those 3 use cases, PDF has gained a status of de facto exclusive file format when electronic document preservation is required, thanks to its unparalleled ability to faithfully represent page layout, its universal reach and the ease with which one can implement digital signatures.
Other vertical solutions have taken advantage of PDF’s intrinsic strengths in pre-press and in engineering.
Yet France remains still a “land of mission” for many lesser known capabilities of the PDF format. The high profile of the above-mentioned 3 use-cases have contributed to casting a somewhat narrow light beam on the PDF format as the “secure digital paper” and rarely more. Apart from PDF/A1, very few people in France – including amongst vendors of ECM systems – are even aware of how more advanced features can be used for solving business problems.
It is the objective of Vincent Ehrström and other members in France to work with the various stakeholders to widen the vision of what business value PDF-centered solutions can bring to end-users, vendors and systems integrators alike and how PDF technologies and tools can be a useful means for solving actual business problems of today and tomorrow, not an end.
Partners in France
The PDF Association had a partnership agreement since 2008 with APROGED. This cooperation has resulted in a PDF/A reference book.
Documentation / Resources
Here are some resources in French: