One of our most popular methods to make Documentum better for our clients is to implement a consumer portal application based on Open Content Search. This consumer portal is typically a simplified search and retrieve interface based on a read-only cache of documents and metadata outside of the Documentum repository. TSG has implemented multiple consumer portal applications for our clients across many industries since 2005. For this post in our making Documentum better series, we will introduce the concept of a consumer portal and explore how it can make a Documentum implementation better.
Documentum Search Portal – What is it?
The simplest form of the consumer portal is depicted in the diagram below:
Essentially, TSG recommends a cached instance of the documents and metadata outside of the Documentum environment. Documentum Metadata and full-text is indexed by Solr and document copies for consumers are in a file store such as a NAS/SAN or in an object store such as Amazon S3. Users wishing to search and view content utilize OpenContent Search to find and view metadata. Watch a short overview video below:
Documentum Search Portal – What are the benefits?
The OpenContent Search consumer portal makes Documentum implementations better in a number of ways:
Simplified User Interface
- Simple search and view – the interface is optimized for simplified document search and view and strives to be intuitive to use for a typical document consumer. See our interface comparison video, which will be updated as part of this 2018 blog series.
- Minimal Training – this simplified interface is often rolled out to consumers with minimal or even no user training. Most users don’t even know the content originated in Documentum.
Improved Document Capabilities
- Solr Search versus Meta-Data Only or xPlore – Many Documentum clients struggle with either using simple meta-data search in Documentum or have issues with Xplore (on an old version of Lucene). By leveraging Solr, OpenContent Search Portal users can have combined meta-data and full-text with the benefits of the latest release of Solr.
- External Access – If placed outside the firewall, the OpenContent Search Portal can be utilized as a simple method to publish content to external users for public access.
- Additional Capabilities – OpenContent Search provides for configurable search and document capabilities such as:
- Proximity Date Searching – search based on proximity to ‘today’ vs. date ranges. For example, users can run a search that will find documents with an approval date in the past 30 days.
- Export search results to excel. Combined with Saved Search and proximity date searches, users can utilize OpenContent Search as a lightweight reporting interface
- Advanced Results Filtering including quick filters and facet controls.
- Bulk Document Download allows users to download multiple documents at once as a Zip file.
- Combine Documents – allow users to combine multiple documents together into one PDF. Users can even choose to include specific pages from each document to include.
- Open Multiple Documents – this may seem like a small thing, but is typically a big win for users. Users can check multiple documents and launch each document into a new tab simultaneously for viewing.
Multiple Repository Search
- Multiple Documentum Repositories – Multiple OpenMigrate instances can push content to a single Solr cache to provide for document search across repositories.
- Non-Documentum Repositories – Since Solr and the file object store have no knowledge of the source system, we can extend this solution to other non-Documentum repositories as well.
Documentum Stability and Performance
- Improved Performance of Documentum – By removing consumers and search from the main Documentum instance, performance of Documentum will improve.
- Fault Tolerance – By creating a separate environment, consumer searching of documents can continue even if Documentum is unavailable for upgrades, maintenance or other unforeseen events. Many TSG clients have created local instances of the search portal to provide searching even if the network is unavailable from remote sites and plants.
Documentum Cost Savings
- Reduction of Documentum Licenses – Depending on the systems user mix, there is the potential for reduced user licenses for both the ECM server as well as the client (D2, xCP, Webtop, etc.).
- 3rd party access to content – Depending on the firewall rules in the Search Portal environment, it is possible for exernal 3rd party consumers to access the OpenContent Search Portal. This would remove the need for these users to have access to Documentum or the corporate VPN.
Can we make it even better?
Based on the above starting point, TSG has seen clients make the base OpenContent Search portal even better in a number of ways:
Multiple Cache Instances
We hinted at this above when discussing some clients that will deploy a separate Solr cache to individual plants or office sites in case of a network outage. However, we’ve also had clients stand up instances of the Solr cache to different regions around the globe in order to provide better performance for global consumers:
High Volume and HA/DR Scenarios
Since Solr is a scalable platform, we’ve seen some clients utilize Solr’s horizontal scalability to provide for high volume searches as well as High Availability / Disaster Recovery. For example:
Overall, the OpenContent Search Portal described above is often the #1 suggestion that TSG recommends to make Documentum better for our clients due to the benefits and cost savings outlined in this post. Let us know your thoughts below.