About Alfresco Content Services
One of the greatest impediments of successful business processes is the lack of an integrated document management solution. Files placed on multiple storage facilities, in a heterogeneous contexts may cause inconsistencies and errors in the process. With the implementation of Alfresco ECM (Enterprise Content Management) a highly efficient and flexible solution becomes available with respect to document storage and management.
Alfrecso ECM facilitates the sharing and editing of documents on an integrated, homogeneous interface, regardless of the way the user accesses it, thus preventing errors due to individual interactions. It creates an intelligent, transparent storage solution, with superb search and retrieval options.
Alfresco ECM can be integrated with other enterprise systems via the CMIS protocol.
User access can be configured via Active Directory synchronization, and with further assignment of user permissions.
Storage capacity is not an issue with Alfresco ECM as the system and the infrastructure behind it is highly scalable.
Alfresco mobile client applications are available (both for iOS and Android). Custom Hungarian language localization is developed and provided by BroadBit Hungary.
The Alfresco ECM is a fully functional system with only its out-of-the-box features, however, customization is highly recommended to utilize it to its fullest capacity. Individual business needs can be met by creating the document model, the customization of document types, metadata and automatic processes.
The Alfresco ECM provides outstanding solution for managing document versions. New versions can be created by user interaction or by automatic processes as well. Versions can be labeled thus making it easier to track changes. Both the documents and their set of metadata are versionable.
Following activities is very easy on Alfresco interfaces. Besides that, each user interaction and access is logged.
Besides document sharing solutions, Alfresco facilitates workflow management as well. With the out-of-the-box workflow options users can create tasks, start individual and group review processes, follow and manage their own tasks.
Microsoft Office integration
Documents in the repository can be edited directly via the Google Docs and MS Office integration protocols. Documents that are being edited are automatically locked for all other users, thus preventing data loss due to simultaneous modifications. With the application of the CMIS protocol, documents can be accessed with LibreOffice applications as well.
Vertical segmentation of the repository is achieved with the use of Alfresco sites. Content divided by content, function or scope is placed in different sites. Each site is complete with its collaborative interface, where users can track document lifecycles, activities of site members, share information in datalists, manage blogs and wikis.
Besides the use of sites, each user can upload content into his/her own storage space, if sharing those documents is not necessary.
User access is also managed on the sites. The prerequisite of accessing content on the site is that the user is added as member. Furthermore, each user is assigned a role that regulates what operations are permitted for the user within the site. User roles are as follows: consumer, collaborator, contributor, manager.
Customization of the Alfresco ECM is possible with the creation of the document model. With this step document types and metadata are defined that are relevant for the organization’s business needs. Each document created in the repository is assigned a document type. This defines the set of metadata that describes the document. The document model also defines metadata formats (e.g. text, date, integer) and other rules such as mandatory or multiple data values.
Besides metadata based on the document model, categories provide additional possibilities to classify documents. Categories are organized into hierarchies. They have a set list of values (that can be modified by the administrator), and are perfect for describing data with long term value sets, such as partners, locations, projects etc.
One hierarchy can be set for each repository. Browsing by the categories constitutes an alternative view of the site document library, so it is important to assign categories to data relevant for this display option.
Search and retrieval
With the Alfresco search interface searching is possible both by full text content and metadata. Advanced search forms can be customized to specific sets of metadata. Within each site “Saved Search” dashlets can be configured to display search results to pre-defined queries. Besides that Smart Folders can also be configured as virtual folders that group documents based on the configured search criteria. The content of Smart Folders is always up to date, the document appears in the folder as soon as it meets the query criteria.
Thanks to the high level flexibility and stability of Alfreco ECM it provides an excellent platform for individual development in addition to its out-of-the-box components. Based on this feature, BroadBit Hungary has developed extensive expertise in the field of Alfresco customization. One of the outstanding developed products is the document sorter script. Its key feature is creating a folder hierarchy based on selected metadata values, and moving the document into the appropriate destination folder. A rename option is also available: with this the document name is modified based on designated metadata values. With this solution, documents are placed instantly into the appropriate folders, creating an orderly, transparent repository. In addition, both the folder path and the document name are informative for the user.
Document sorter processes happen instantly, as soon as the documents are assigned the required metadata.