TSG will be conducting a Webinar with Alfresco on February 11 (Recording Posted) on how to enhance or extend Alfresco Share with HPI 2.1. This post is the second in a series of posts on how HPI 2.1 can work with Share and will focus on Folder and Document Processing.
Alfresco Share – Windows Explorer Folders
Alfresco Share, like Alfresco Explorer and other ECM interface tools, is required to fit a wide variety of document management scenarios. To fit these scenarios as well as demonstrate complete enterprise content management functions for new clients, Share needs to provide a robust folder interface. Often times this interface can:
- Resemble Windows Explorer – as many new clients are used to this type of interface from existing ECM tools or just working with Windows.
- Access all functions in a generic way rather than implement any specific business logic with different folder types
- Allows full-access to security, renaming, copy and other functions for all documents within a folder
Sometimes clients can struggle with this “one size fits all” approach as:
- Too much functionality – requiring training to use folders consistently across users and for business processes.
- Errors – due to inconsistent usage or inability to configure simplicity into a full-functioned interface.
- Additional indexing – since each document and folder requires it’s own indexing
HPI Approach – Process Driven Folders
HPI takes a process driven approach to allow for certain functions to be configured within folders as part of the business process.
Some of the unique components that differentiate HPI Folders from Share include:
- Trac – HPI allows an administrator to configure a “trac” for a certain business processes in the repository. The trac could be represented by a user group like Accounts Payable or Legal. A trac can limit the user to only storing documents and executing functions that apply to that business process. In this manner, the document types and index fields are limited to only those allowed in the trac. Also, documents will typically inherit attributes from the parent folder during import. This approach reduces the amount of user index keying and errors. Example could include a Vendor # that is available at the folder level but also on each document to assist in document retrieval by vendor across folders.
- Folder Notes – HPI allows for a “note” object to exist on a folder that, while it is a document in the repository, is only available when viewing notes. One excellent example is an Insurance Claim File where notes are used extensively to document correspondence and actions on a particular claim. For the Claim example, the Folder Notes are automatically displayed upon entrance to the folder.
- Folder Actions – Examples include View Properties (view and edit folder properties), Add Document, View Notes, Send Email and Alerts. Folder actions can be configure per folder type and often include default actions, security and index values pre-configured for the business process.
- Related Documents – Often times, in a business process, users will want to see documents that are not in the current folder. For example, in a Insurance Claim scenario, users might want to see related policies and other claims. HPI provides an easy mechanism to view related folders without having to search while working within the folder itself. Users love the side by side viewing of a working documents and historical related documents.
- Alerts – Similar to Notes, users can alert other users in an ad-hoc fashion to address issues within a folder that are logged in the Folder Notes. This is a small workflow that can be done in Share but isn’t always intuitive. Users can notify to both the Folder or a specific document.
- Send Email – HPI Folder Actions allow users to send emails directly from the folder that include documents within the folder attached and those emails store in the folder itself and documented in the notes. This allows users to have the history on correspondence in the folder as well as avoid dragging and dropping emails from their Sent file on their email client.
HPI Folder processing gives Alfresco clients the ability to automate business actions and reduce user decisions and errors commonly found with a “do all” user interface like Share. Business users benefit from a simplified interface with extended functionality highlighting what the user should be doing rather than overwhelming the user with options that should rarely be used.
Look for our next blog post on Document Actions.
Let us know your thoughts below….