One of the issues our Veeva Vault and other document management clients often struggle with is searching for content across Veeva Vault and other existing repositories, such as Documentum. Scenarios like sharing manufacturing specifications that are stored in a Documentum repository with Veeva-based eTMF and Submissions applications are difficult to support as users will typically require separate searches against the individual repositories. This post will talk about how a publishing approach can be leveraged with Veeva Vault to share content between repositories.
Veeva Vault and Cross Repository Searching – What are the issues
As clients migrate users and content to Veeva Vault from other applications, large customers will typically have a mix of different document management systems for managing different types of documents. These systems could include:
- Clinical Management
- Registration Tracking
- Other non GxP Document Management Systems
As a cloud-only based solution, Veeva Vault offers customers the benefit of not having to supply the infrastructure and save many of the costs of an on premise solution. One of the drawbacks of having one or many cloud based solutions can often be attempting to integrate search or other access across multiple cloud and on premise solutions. Customers can attempt to search for documents from different on and off premise solutions by:
- Moving everything to Veeva Vault – While this might be a strategic solution in the future, it is typically not realistic in the short to mid-term (1-5 years) given the variety of issues with migration (What Makes Migrating from Legacy ECM Systems So Difficult) as well as the change management involved in moving multiple key systems to a new platform. As a result, most companies will require more of a hybrid, multi-system approach where some content resides in legacy Documentum applications as other content is in Veeva. See our previous post in regards to ECM Sales Myths where we presented our thoughts on why “one repository to rule them all” is not typically very practical.
- Executing multiple searches – The manual method is often the default where clients have to login and access multiple systems.
- Federated searches – As also mentioned in our ECM Sales Myths post, federated searches, where one application accesses another for searching, can be difficult to support given reliance on competing vendors to play nice and integrations that are expensive to maintain.
- Publish content where it needs to go – As we mentioned last year, TSG recommends a publishing approach where content flows to where it is needed with duplicate “read-only” copies appearing in different repositories as required.
Veeva Vault and a Publishing Approach
In a publishing approach, a job is set up to monitor the business system looking for documents of a specific type and that have reached a stage that they can be pushed to a different repository. For example, publish all Manufacturing Specifications from a Documentum-based application when they become Approved or Effective. With this push, the new repository will have all the meta-data as well as a copy of the document itself. Typically we see clients publish a PDF of the document since it is to only be used for read access. The publishing job might also push a light version of security in the form of meta-data if required.
In this manner, the manufacturing plants can insure that access to their own system is still controlled and documents that are needed to be shared with other systems (i.e., Training, eTMF, Submissions) are done so in a controlled manner. Advantages of this approach over a Federated approach include:
- Simplified Integration – Rather than having the eTMF and Submissions application create and maintain a real-time integration to the Manufacturing system, the only publishing job would be accessing the Manufacturing application and exporting the appropriate metadata and content. With this approach there are no dependencies between the systems during new releases and upgrades.
- Performance – Search performance is not limited by the system with the slowest response time.
- Content Format – As part of the publishing job, content could be changed (typically to PDF) and also include additional items (headers/footers….) to provide consistency between systems.
- Simplify Administration – Each user would need to be defined and maintained in the overall search repository rather than the departmental system.
TSG has implemented the publishing approach for multiple clients with OpenMigrate. Several features include:
- Ability to pull from a wide variety of ECM repositories including Documentum, FileNet, Alfresco, Veeva, SharePoint as well as database driven systems (example Custom Oracle/SAP)
- Ability to “poll” a repository and push content on a set interval (every 5 minutes, once a day, etc.).
- Ability to transform content from a variety of formats into PDF and apply overlays.
- Ability to store and index into a variety of repositories including Lucene/Solr, Hadoop, AWS/Dynamo, Veeva, Alfresco, and Documentum.
- Ability to delete outdated or superseded documents from target repository.
As we have recently added Veeva Vault support for OpenMigrate to both target and source capabilities, opportunities for publishing with Veeva Vault include:
- Veeva Vault Ingestion – OpenMigrate can publish documents from existing systems for read-only access in Veeva Vault providing these documents to Veeva Vault users without having to move all of the authors from the source system.
- Veeva Vault Publishing – Content from Veeva Vault can be published to other systems for read only access. These could include both commercial and/or open source search only applications. See our article on creating a consumer search portal with Solr that could be an approach for combining a variety of different repositories.
Accessing content from Veeva Vault and other cloud or on-premise repositories can be a difficult and a manual effort. Veeva Vault customers should consider a publishing approach to both push and pull content from Veeva for other uses and repositories to avoid issues with integration, security and access. TSG OpenMigrate product’s ability to publish as well as migrate content to and from Veeva Vault can assist clients with their publishing efforts.