While most companies have made strides in reducing the amount of paper they need to deal with on a daily basis, paper is still at the origin of many processes, from invoices to claim forms to case report forms in clinical trials. Quickly capturing and classifying the paper so it can be electronically distributed throughout the organization is vital.
In the Documentum world, Captiva InputAccel is used by a large number of businesses to manage the document capture process. In addition to providing key imaging functionality (scanning, image enhancement, OCR, etc.), InputAccel facilitates the export of acquired images into Documentum through its Documentum Export module. This module allows for specifying the document type images should be created as, setting properties and security, defining storage location, etc.
Implementing Similar Behavior with Alfresco
While there currently is no Alfresco Export module available from InputAccel, there are options available for clients to achieve similar functionality while still leveraging InputAccel:
Exporting to Alfresco with WebDAVCIFS
Alfresco’s support for these file sharing technologies allows the Alfresco repository to appear as a “shared” drive to end users or in this case to third-party software like InputAccel. As a result the standard InputAccel directory export modules can be leveraged to drop the acquired content directly into Alfresco – a specialized Alfresco module is not necessary.
The Alfresco folders setup as export targets in this fashion are typically configured through the Alfresco Rules and Actions framework to provide a lot of the functionality users of the Documentum Export module might be accustomed to, including:
- Automatically apply security policies, populate properties, etc. for the exported documents
- Issuing email notifications or starting defined workflows upon ingesting content
- Creating subfolders or performing additional storage logic to properly store the document
Exporting to Alfresco with OpenMigrate
As capture processes become more complex the WebDAV model of supporting ingestion may not meet all the requirements – for example conditional population of document properties, complex workflow, etc. In these cases we have had success in leveraging OpenMigrate to facilitate the export of content into a repository like Alfresco. The basic approach is as follows:
- The InputAccel capture flow is configured to export scanned content and associated metadata to a designated export folder on a file system. The content can be in any format (e.g., tiff, pdf) and the associated metadata is exported in XML or simple text files.
- OpenMigrate is subsequently setup to watch these export folders. As the capture software exports to the folders OpenMigrate processes the content and data, and based on its designated configuration exports to the target Alfresco repository.
This allows for the full features of OpenMigrate to be leveraged during the export to provide advanced behavior, examples of which include:
- Support creation of different types of documents in Alfresco from within a single capture batch. For example, a purchase order can become a purchase_order type while an invoice can become an invoice type. All the documents in the batch do not have to be treated the same exact way.
- Conditional security can be applied to documents based on metadata values using OpenMigrate. For example, invoices in a batch for Vendor ABC can have different security applied than invoices for Vendor 123.
- Enhanced ability to launch workflows for documents upon export. OpenMigrate can be configured to launch different workflows depending on metadata values, object type, etc. For example, an invoice with an amount >$10,000 can be started on a workflow different from an invoice with an amount <$10,000.
Either of these approaches allow users to preserve existing investments in InputAccel while still being able to easily export and store the captured content into Alfresco. In the case of moving from Documentum to Alfresco, the modifications required to the underlying InputAccel capture flow are minimal and the same export functionality can be made available with Alfresco – the choice of implementation between OpenMigrate or WebDAVCIFS will typically be driven by the range of functionality needed to meet the requirements.