Offering Sustainable Document Accessibility Strategy

Offering Sustainable Document Accessibility Strategy | Adam Spencer
Adam Spencer
President and CEO of AbleDocs

Adam Spencer, President and CEO of AbleDocs, is an aggressive leader; he has always surged ahead despite challenges, trying to find the right solution. Adam Spencer’s number 1 quality that’s transformed AbleDocs is the ability to start up the company aggressively. Today, AbleDocs is the only company globally to guarantee the compliance of every file they produce and back it with a $10,000,000 liability guarantee. “My experiences in startups, both with successes and failures, help me realize what it takes to get a company up and running while building it successfully,” says Adam Spencer. “That persistent belief that we should make it succeed is what’s gotten us to where we are now. But it’s also about the team; we’ve been incredibly fortunate to have put together a fantastic team.”

AbleDocs was founded in 2019 as a conglomerate of PDF accessibility expertise and has grown to have operations in nine countries. AbleDocs’ offerings include a completely new approach to high volume document accessibility and testing.

Adam Spencer has been committed to reshaping the PDF accessibility industry through investment and developing new and exciting approaches to document accessibility. At this point, they have the largest development budget dedicated to documenting accessibility in the world. Their goal is to ultimately eliminate the need for organizations like theirs because they have made document accessibility ubiquitous so that constant re-investment and development into new techniques, products, and services is how AbleDocs continues to push that forward.

Leaving the Competition Behind

“I would say that our awareness of our competition is something that I take very seriously. We want to know who the existing players are, who the new players are, and what approach their taking. I think one of the biggest differentiators we have is our bench strength,” explains Adam Spencer. AbleDocs isn’t a one-person band or someone working out of their garage. “We’ve built AbleDocs with a strategy directed for our clients; clients in Fortune 500 and Fortune 1,000 companies, banks, governmental agencies, and more. So, we’ve looked to differentiate ourselves with the things those companies and organizations need.”

Offering Sustainable Document Accessibility Strategy | Adam Spencer

AbleDocs is the only company  that can guarantee the compliance of every file they produce and back it with a $10 million liability guarantee because they know the technology inside and out. The company understands how businesses need such revolutionary products, not as a nice to have, but as a must-have. AbleDocs is in the business of risk mitigation; this is a business problem clients need to solve. 

And the great benefit of what they do is that they make documents accessible for everyone instead of drilling down on people about lawsuits, complaints, and lying about capabilities. “We can do what we say we can do. A lot of our competition can’t. We often get called in after the competition won a job based on a lower price to fix up the same documents. We’re the ones making the products they’re using, and we know how to make files compliant in a sustainable way,” adds Adam Spencer.

Making Content Accessible 

AbleDocs has got three products they have developed to assess the accessibility of content. And Adam has repeatedly stated, “You don’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where to start.”

The company has always used ADScan, axesPDF, or even PAC to figure out what’s wrong, why they need to fix this, and how they can fix it more efficiently. “There are many times I get questions from companies asking, ‘We have so many files, and we don’t know where to begin. What do we do?’,” explains Adam. “And my approach is simple; let’s figure out what files you have and where they are. Do you need them? Are they being replaced soon?”

This whole process has to be cost-effective and sustainable for an organization. Adam and his team have seen it so often that places will gouge clients because they’re taking advantage of the situation and people who don’t know any better. So let the clients see the magnitude of the problem, and creating a strategy helps them understand and control their inaccessibility and build a path forward to ensure they are accessible and compliant in the future.

In an instance, a huge insurance company had a massive systemic problem of inaccessible content.  AbleDocs’ started working with them many years ago to build a strategy, and it took them six years to come back to the table and say, “Hey, we need help; where do we start?” My answer was, “We wrote you a plan six years ago. This is where you need to kick things off.” And AbleDocs’ continued to have an ongoing relationship where they have added in more of their products and services to more of their different business divisions and will often start with the single siloed team. “So, we’re able to help that team come to grips with the issue, as they may be the first public-facing group to face those accessibility challenges. But the company soon realizes this needs to be used by other groups within the company,” says Adam.

This is how it worked with the insurance company. It’s turned into a very successful multi-year engagement between AbleDocs and them, and AbleDocs’ felt like a partner to the clients. “We’re kind of like that external-internal resource. We’re here when you need us, and we’re always looking for ways to continue to reduce costs for them and find new solutions to answer their document accessibility problems. We’re able to use this with so many of our clients over and over again.”

Making Waves Being awarded a grant from the federal government to develop a new, fully accessible reader for mobile devices shows AbleDocs’ commitment based on their experience and how they can bring that forward in the future. Adam is really proud of it. It’s something that many within the company 

have been wanting to do for many years. But, the company knew the need for this type of reader, but didn’t have the resources. Building upon their strengths and the scale they have operating in nine countries, along with the fantastic team of developers and the staff, AbleDocs’ was able to do this.

For the days to come, AbleDocs’ will continue its expansion and reach. The company has a few more acquisitions in the pipeline, which they are excited about. These will continue to bring new technology and team members who will push the limits to what they can do with accessibility. AbleDocs recently acquired Web Key IT, a recognized leader in web accessibility services. Both companies’ founders and teams are excited to work together to provide global access to digital accessibility. The acquisition will widen the global presence of AbleDocs’ products, services, training, and localized document accessibility support across 49 languages.

“The acquisition of Web Key IT represents a new chapter for both organizations to expand our world-class products and services offering globally,” says Adam. “To continue Vivienne’s commitment to excellence in web accessibility throughout Australia and the Pacific Rim is a great privilege,” he added.

“We’ve got a new version of a product that we’ll release in the coming weeks as part of a non-profit, which we’re also really excited about. We’ve remained steadfast and committed to ensuring the next piece of document accessibility on our path to obsolescence,” says Adam. “And I know that sounds bizarre, but as an organization, we want to make document accessibility a thing of the past because we’ve solved it. And the next few product launches will get us closer and closer to that level.”

Adam likes to say that the sun never sets at AbleDocs now. Having started the company without two nickels to rub together and seeing where they are today, with a fantastic team, reaching more people and ensuring their content is fully accessible remains their steadfast commitment. And as AbleDocs has brought more and more offerings, they feel it allows them to extend their relationship with clients, ensuring a genuinely successful implementation, not just today but into the future. “So we’re going to continue to look at how we continue to expand that mission as we advance and reach as many people as we can.”

Adam Spencer award logo

“ We can do what we say we can do. A lot of our competition can’t. We’re the ones making the products they’re using, and we know how to make files compliant in a sustainable way. ”

Adam Spencer

President and CEO of AbleDocs

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