The concept of a digital document in PDF format has been around since the first versions of Adobe’s product in the 1990’s. Since its publication as an open standard in 2008, the format has become ubiquitous to documents worldwide and is often referred to as the “digital paper” of our time. One finds its use in every industry, every sector, and all manner of business to business, business to consumer, and consumer to consumer transactions. It is truly one of the success stories of digitization in the modern world.
Digitalization, on the other hand, speaks to a complete refactoring of how to think about data. Brought on by IoT, service-oriented architectures, and always-on internet access, the industry, government, and consumer sectors are all rethinking their relationship to information and how it is authored, exchanged, revised, and archived. At Boeing, the company is fully engaged in a digital transformation that seeks to redefine how aerospace products are defined, developed, produced, and serviced. We will examine PDF use in Boeing and share thoughts on its role relative to digital transformation.