Some of our larger regulated industry (Pharma, Utliity…) clients are looking into Alfresco to see if it could be used to manage their controlled documentation and potentially replace Documentum. This post will present our most recent in-depth analysis based on common document control requirements.
The first question we commonly hear is: Does Alfresco contain all the necessary functionality?
The short answer is yes. Alfresco does contain all of the key content management components (versioning, lifecycle, workflow, security, etc.) that Documentum and other ECM solutions contain (See Table Below). To prove this out we recently took our High Performance Interface (HPI) and hooked it up to run on Alfresco. The demonstration, which will be posted in our knowledge base shortly, really shows off that Alfresco can handle the typical controlled documentation requirements. It also shows off how the user can be unaware of the technology platform that is being leveraged… HPI/Alfresco looks just like HPI/Documentum!
Many of our clients have customized the OOTB Documentum interfaces to enable business specific functionality (only allow delegation of a workflow task to users in my groups, specialized linked CR processing, etc.). Do not expect Alfresco to contain OOTB logic to support these types of customized business processes. Alfresco does have the framework (rules, actions, web services architecture, spring, etc.) to enable business-specific rules to be integrated as well as integrations with other third party products.
This table lists the Alfresco functionality evaluated. For more detailed information on any of the topics below, feel free to contact us.
|Functionality||Alfresco Contains Functionality||3rd Party Add On||Notes|
|Security||X||Supports role-based security, folder inheritance|
|Object Model, Properties, Value Assistance||X||Supports custom object types, properties, repeating, required, value assistance, etc. Note Alfresco’s use of aspects and data lists to make maintenance easier|
|Searching||X||Supports full text and property searches, wild cards, saved searches.|
|Reporting||X||Cognos, Custom, Business Objects, etc.|
|File Transfer Protocol||X||Uses standard HTTP file transfer protocol rather than UCF transfer applet that Documentum utilizes|
|Versioning||X||Supports major and minor versions|
|Audit Trail||X||Contains a built in audit trail or user can write events to own audit table|
|Linking||X||Supports peer-to-peer and parent- child linking|
|Renditions||X||Can convert native file to PDF when a specific action is performed (i.e. check-in). Renditions stored as association or within a property|
|Rendering||X||X||Open Office, or others can be linked in|
|Lifecycles||X||Lifecycle state tracked in a property. Allows for more flexibility.|
|Workflow||X||Utilizes Activiti. Supports parallel and/or serial workflows, proxy, delegation, email notifications, notification for overdue or almost-due tasks, Part 11 Compliance, etc.|
|Configuration Ability||X||Many options in Alfresco platform utilizing rules, action, Spring , XML framework|
|Records Management||X||Alfresco contains a separate Records Manager product that is DoD 5015.02 certified.|
|Mobile||X||Alfresco is already wired for simple mobile integration (RESTful API, HTTP transfer protocol, etc.)|
|XML||X||X||Supports storing of XML content. Can integrate with XML authoring tools|
|Advanced Publishing||X||Custom job working with rendering solution|
|Advanced Forms||X||ActiveWizard, others…|