What is the first thing you think of when you hear New Orleans? I know I don’t think about enterprise content management (ECM).
But two weeks ago, AIIM held their annual conference in New Orleans and Alfresco was proud to be a platinum sponsor of the event. The event brought together ECM, records management and web content management idea seekers from across the globe.
Walking through the exhibit floor you could hear attendees conversing on a variety of topics about why information governance is still essential in today’s business to why the future of enterprise content is gaining secure access inside and outside the firewall.
What I loved about this conference is that AIIM set-up interactive sessions where attendees heard from thought-leaders on a variety of subjects. Our very own John Newton, who is also AIIM’s Chairman of the Board, talked about how cloud connected content is changing the way organizations create, share and manage files– in short, how your business works. He discussed how keeping files synced inside and outside the firewall, is changing the way business work and manage/access their content.
While it was great to hear John talk about ECM and the future of ECM, I think the best part of the conference was listening to LexisNexis talk about their Alfresco implementation. I always love listening to how our customers react to our software and the cool things they do with it. LexisNexis connects the dots between millions of public records and transactions, resulting in actionable information their customer can then use to advance their goals. LexisNexis considered using Alfresco because of our open source, reliable, mobile functionality as well as our easy adaptation for the end user. So far, in just a short two years, they have eight million documents stored using 4 TB of data and migrated four millions documents from their legacy document management system into Alfresco.
All in all, AIIM gave us a great platform to be able to showcase our platform including hybrid, business process automation with Workdesk and records ranagement components. The attendees responded to the great strides we are making to make our software the premier ECM solution as well as learned how to manage their information better, faster and more accurately so they become more effective and efficient.
To get more information on the Alfresco presentations shared at AIIM this year, please leave me a comment below and I’d be more than happy to share them with you. Now I just can’t wait to be in Orlando for next year’s event!
Armedia is an Alfresco Platinum Partner and a Platinum Sponsor of the recent Alfresco Content.gov event held in Washington, DC on March 5, 2013. This support marked Armedia’s third consecutive sponsorship of the event and demonstrates Armedia’s commitment to flexible, open source content management solutions for federal agencies.
We had a blast at Content.gov this year in partnership with Alfresco as it reinforced our commitment to solution deployments within government entities at the federal, state and local level including HUD Records Conversion and the FederalConference.com solution for the Army Strong Bonds program.
At Content.gov, we introduced a case study showcasing our recent work at the US Food and Drug Administration. The FDA Center for Diseases and Radiological Health (CDRH) needed an improved method of interacting with submitters of devices through the review and approval process. With the existing process, medical device companies would submit a device for approval and then be forced to wait for an indefinite period of time before learning whether their medical device had been approved or denied by the FDA. Leveraging the Alfresco platform, Armedia worked with CDRH to develop DocMan that enables and tracks communication between FDA and applicants and provides an external view to FDA’s review process
This case study was just one of several presentations at Content.gov that highlighted the success of Alfresco within the federal government. The federal government is at a point where it is being forced to do more with less. Doing more with less is a very important change for the government, particularly in the context of the recent sequester. This presentation provides an innovative and cost effective way to help government organizations support open government initiatives leveraging open source technologies.
The FDA Safety and Innovation Act (Public Law 112-144) includes the Medical Device User Fee Amendment of 2012 or MDUFA III. Under this provision medical device companies agreed to pay a fee when they register with the system to list their devices with the organization. These fees, which can total up to $595 Million over the next five years, help the FDA to pay for innovative tools, such as the DocMan system, that better enable their organization to adhere to increased expectations.
We are looking forward to figuring out new ways to help organizations do more with less with the strength of the Alfresco platform. If you have an example, please share it here!
A few weeks ago I got to attend Alfresco’s Content.gov in one of my favorite US cities, Washington DC. Having lived near the city for six months a few years ago, it really felt like a different place when talking to old friends and customers about what was happening to the government sector right now. We talked about sequestration, the furlough and budget squeezes that were having an impact across all the government agencies. This situation is not too dissimilar from the challenges faced by the UK government everyday too.
So the key question several people I met posed was this – with all the cuts going on in government, how can agencies and departments deliver more with less?
My inevitable answer was cloud. Cloud enables IT departments to shift their resources from spending 80% of the budget (the average today) from simply running and maintaing existing systems and infrastructure, towards spending smaller budgets on delivering new solutions and innovations instead. And it seems the current administration agrees with a directive to push agencies towards open-source and cloud solutions to benefit from these cost savings.
While the cloud provides many benefits, in addition to the cost savings, there are several challenges government agencies need to address before adopting a scalable cloud solutions:
First and foremost is compliance. While there is a push towards cloud, cloud solutions must be FISMA compliant and depending on the data being stored, potentially HIPPA along with a whole other range of compliance certifications too
Closely tied to compliance is security. While a lot of Government data is publicly accessible, there are huge amounts of data which aren’t and need to be kept top secret and out of the hands of hackers. With the recent Wikileaks postings and increased foreign activity in cyber espionage, this concern is very real.
And finally, like many large organizations, integration. Being able to customize cloud solutions to their individual requirements, are still important, to get the most benefit out of the solution.
So how can government agencies adopt cloud while addressing these challenges?
Enter Open-Source Hybrid ECM
With the current state of security, compliance and integration challenges within the public sector, cloud-only solutions cannot meet all the needs of agencies and their constituents while on-premise cannot open up content to new use cases such as easy external collaboration, mobile devices and sharing data with other cloud services. It iss clear a new solution is needed that delivers the control and compliance of on-premise with the agility and cost savings of cloud. We call it Hybrid enterprise content management (ECM).
Using our powerful open source on premise Enterprise solution for ECM, you can easily synchronise content to Alfresco in the cloud, to enable new use cases and architectures for managing your content both inside and outside the firewall all while benefiting from the cost savings of open source and cloud compared to the more traditional ECM solutions out there.
The Key is Content Classification
By understanding the classification of your content, you can decide what needs to stay under your control on-premise and what can go into the cloud. Many agencies generally categorize their content into three broad categories:
Public - This is content that is publicly available and does not need to be secured. For example this could be articles, web content or policies that have been published to the public. This should be able to go into the cloud without any issues.
Confidential – This is internal content like day-to-day office documents that agency workers create and share to do their jobs. The content is confidential, but if the content was leaked, it would not have a harmful impact on the agency. Most of this content should be okay to go into a secured cloud, but certain pieces of content may need to be kept on premise if it relates to more confidential information.
Top Secret/Restricted – This is the highly restricted and top secret information that should never be out of the control of the agency and would be harmful if ever leaked. Think security briefings and intelligence dossiers. These still need to be managed and accessible, but cannot be put into a third party cloud service.
Using these broad definitions, agencies can start to decide which content needs to stay on-premise and what can go into the cloud. Alfresco provides the same user experience on both sides of the firewall. Your employees, third party partners and constituents will not get stuck behind a firewall. They can also access mobile, desktop sync and Web access to create and share content freely. They get a seamless experience while giving your IT organization new agility and architectures to enable new use cases.
For example, you may decide a project to archive defence documents needs to be delivered on-premise, but for the facilities project to capture pictures of all your facilities from mobile workers raising issues that need to be fixed can be delivered via cloud with the pictures automatically syncing back to on-premise for archive at a later date that you set and control.
On-Premise is the New Private Cloud
When I refer to on-premise it’s important to highlight that this doesn’t necessarily mean the traditional server/data center setup that many organizations have today. With our recent Amazon Web Services partnership, you could also provision your own Private Cloud using Amazon’s Federal Data Center and we have Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) that enable you to get started in minutes using Alfresco on AWS. With Private Cloud the infrastructure and solution is under your complete control while still enabling you to benefit from the agility and cost savings cloud provides.
Your Strategic Stepping Stone to Cloud
It’s clear that cloud is here to stay and many agencies are looking at how cloud can help them deliver more with less. But there are still many issues that need to be addressed by cloud-only solutions before all enterprise content can be moved into the cloud. Hence a Hybrid ECM solution like Alfresco provides your organization a strategic stepping stone to delivering new solutions for your users quickly, while still keeping control of where the content resides for security and compliance requirements.
Alfresco is the sole vendor in the ECM and cloud-only markets today that can deliver the Hybrid ECM solution. If you’re interested in finding out more, please contact our sales team who will be happy to answer any of your questions.
Also check back later this week for the last blog post in the Conversation’s from Alfresco’s Content.gov series!
Earlier this month, we held our third annual Content.gov event in Washington, DC. designed to highlight the successes federal, local and public sector agencies have experienced in solving the latest document management challenges.
In the spirit of this year’s theme centered around open government, open standards, transparency and collaboration, this is the first in a three-part series that continues the conversation around the tools and resources used to manage government agencies content chaos.
The first US Deputy Chief of Technology, Beth Noveck, kicked off the day encouraging the discussion around President Obama’s Open Government Initiative (OGI) and the US Government’s commitment to building a system of transparency, public participation and interaction. She highlighted that the US Government is moving toward an open platform to foster a smarter government, a better government and a government transparent to its citizens.
Following our keynote address, the audience of over 200 broke out into two separate tracks – technical and business to tackle best practices around records management as well as hear from the Patent Trade Office on how they successfully used Alfresco’s case management solution to enable document workflow, secure file-sharing and records management.
Partners from Zia and Armedia were given the opportunity to highlight the innovative solutions they’ve built using the Alfresco platform while customers ranging from the FDA to AWS shared stories around why they chose Alfresco, the challenges they needed to overcome and how they are well positioned for future projects. Mil-OSS also spoke about open source in the military and how it is changing the way our government does business.
Below are links to all the presentations given during our time together so stay tuned as we welcome others to share their experience at Content.gov and how they are managing, organizing and enabling regulated content to proactively meet open standards!
It has been six months since Alfresco launched Alfresco One with support for hybrid open source enterprise content management (ECM) scenarios. Alfresco’s enterprise sync capabilities let organizations put content in the cloud to support mobility, collaboration as well as other use cases, while still powering processes that need to access on-premise data or back-end systems.
This hybrid ECM model is resonating with our customers as they are in various stages of moving content and process to the cloud. They like the flexibility it gives them to support a variety of scenarios and all of their users without forcing them into a cloud-only situation or creating new silos.
Like many of our customers, industry analysts are seeing value in Alfresco’s hybrid model as well.
A powerful capability is the hybrid cloud model, which allows organizations to combine an on-premise implementation for office-based employees and cloud access for remote workers and partners. This allows specific content to be made available to mobile workers and partners, which can be worked on and then synced back to the on-premise version.
Ovum found a number of others strengths in Alfresco as well, such as strong support for mobile workers, an active developer community and low-cost compared to legacy ECM providers.
Alan Pelz-Sharpe of 451 Research also made note of Alfresco’s hybrid model in a recent write-up on Alfresco’s acquisition of WeWebU. He says:
WeWebU’s MobileWorkdesk application should play very nicely with Alfresco’s new hybrid cloud offering. Overall, as Alfresco moves toward an IPO, expanding its commercial offerings to specific business applications makes good sense.
I’m very excited that as of today, users of Amazon Web Services can run Alfresco Enterprise on Red Hat Enterprise Linux with just a few clicks through the AWS Markeplace -
This availability follows our initial AWS Marketplace release, where we outlined the benefits of rapidly deploying Alfresco Enterprise without the hassles of installation and configuration that normally accompany these kinds of deployments.
Building on our previous release by teaming up with Amazon and Red Hat, Alfresco Enterprise is now fully available on a supportable open source stack giving customers the option to purchase enterprise-grade support from Alfresco and additional support from Amazon Premium Support, backed by Red Hat.
Alfresco Enterprise for the AWS Marketplace defaults to a 30-day trial and works with our existing mobile apps for iOS and Android making secure file sharing fast and easy.
Assuming you already have an AWS account, you simply need to visit the Alfresco + RHEL listing on the AWS Marketplace and click the “Continue” button to login and launch.
Step-by-step directions can be found at the Alfresco Wiki, but please visit the AWS Blog for more details on the availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux on the AWS Marketplace. You can also learn more about the benefits of secure file sharing with Alfresco on AWS by viewing the recent webinar recording.
Give it a whirl and leave a comment here to let us know what you think!
From the beginning, our open source roots have allowed us to build a community of supporters across the globe. This rich and diverse global community has also embraced our cloud offering, proving its not just the West that is adopting cloud, but companies in countries across the globe. As a result, we’ve been constantly asked when we will deliver Alfresco in the cloud in other languages apart from English and the answer is TODAY!
You can now use Alfresco in the cloud in 6 languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Japanese. These languages represent our core user base at Alfresco and over time we will endeavor to add more to this list. This means that if you’re one of the global companies using Alfresco, your employees will be able to select and use Alfresco in their native language. It also means for customers adopting our hybrid solution for on-premise and the cloud that users will be able to access Alfresco on both sides of the firewall in the same language.
To use this new feature, simply select the language you want on the login screen and your Alfresco experience will be transformed into your native language. Once you’ve had a chance to try it out, leave us a comment to let us know what you think and how we can continue to improve our Alfresco in the cloud service.
Happy New Year and welcome to 2013, the year cloud goes BIG! In my role I’ve been overwhelmed with the positive response to our cloud service, but more importantly by the huge shift in attitude towards cloud since I joined Alfresco 18 months ago. Large brand name companies are making strategic moves to cloud, under pressure to adapt to more challenging market conditions and keep up with their users quickly changing needs. In 2013 cloud will finally hit the mainstream and as companies look at how to transition to this brave new cloud world, hybrid solutions like Alfresco, who is the only vendor meeting this need will provide the stepping stone required.
In this light, we plan to kick 2013 off with a running start! I’m pleased to announce a whole host of new features that will enable you get more out of your content in Alfresco in the cloud.
New Editing Capabilities
A key to getting your users adopting a solution like Alfresco is making it easy for them to access, share and edit their content on it. In order to help your users get more productive creating and editing their documents on Alfresco, we’ve launched two new ways to edit documents directly in Alfresco: Edit in Microsoft Office or Edit in Google Drive. These complement mobile editing, WebDAV and the upcoming desktop sync to enable your users to work the way they want on their documents productively in Alfresco.
Google Drive Integration
If you want to make real-time edits on a document with your colleagues or quickly edit a document in your browser then this great new feature is for you.
A lot of our customers are moving to Google Apps and want to bring Google’s great editing capabilities onto the documents they store in Alfresco. Alfresco is great at securing, organizing and sharing documents and Google Drive is great for editing them.
With the new integration, all supported documents (Word, Spreadsheets, Presentations) will have a new option ‘Edit in Google Docs.’ When selected, Alfresco will send your document to Google and when you’re done, automatically save it back. Unlike other integrations we’ve seen, it won’t leave a copy of the document in Google Drive after you’ve saved it, ensuring the document is saved in one place, not two. In addition, you can also create new documents directly in Alfresco and write the initial draft from your web browser.
See the video below for a demo on how this great new feature works.
Native Microsoft Office Integration
Online editors like Google Drive are great, but if you started a document in Microsoft Office, as most do, you sometimes lose features and formatting when opening it in an online editor. For those users that want to quickly edit their documents without losing any functionality or fidelity, this feature is for you. Apart from Microsoft’s own cloud service, Office365, Alfresco is the only other cloud service that supports native Microsoft Office integration. That means if you have Microsoft Office installed on your computer already, you don’t need to install any additional software or plugins to use this feature as it uses the built-in capabilities of Office.
If you have Microsoft Office installed, a new ‘Edit in MS Office’ option will be available for all supported document formats like Word, Excel and PowerPoint. This will automatically open the document directly in Microsoft Office where you can edit and save it back into Alfresco. It’s so quick and simple you’ll be hooked on this great new feature in no time!
See the video below for a brief demo on this great new feature in action.
The number one concern for companies using cloud services is security. In 2013, we will be investing even more in this area to address those concerns and ensure customers have complete control over their content in the cloud. In order to help cloud users have more control over securing their files and content, we’ve introduced a new UI that allows you to secure folders and content at a more granular level than before.
Previously, if you wanted to have a private area in your site that only certain users could access, you could only do it at the Site Group level. As a result, if you were a consultancy and had a project site to share documents with your clients and wanted to hide internal work in progress, you’d probably have to have two sites: one for your team and one to share deliverables with your client. Now you can keep all project files in one site with both your team and client working together closely with specific folders hidden from the client until the documents are ready to share, keeping all your content in one place.
To use this feature, select ‘Edit Permissions’ on a folder or document and you will go to a new screen that allows you to specify individual users and their permissions on that folder or document, hiding it from any users not added to the list.
Alfresco isn’t just good at managing documents, it can manage all types of content, which includes video, high-res images and audio files. Unlike similar services, Alfresco understands the data embedded in those files as well (metadata), allowing you to search on that data and even visualize it. For example, try uploading a photo from your phone to Alfresco in the cloud, you’ll see a red pin next to the file and an option to show where that photo was taken on a map.
In order to make it even easier to view and manage your rich media, Alfresco in the cloud now has a new ‘Gallery View’ that can be selected in the top right of the Document Library. This will display all your rich media and documents in a rich thumbnail view, which can be dynamically re-sized using the slider at the top.
Watch this space for even more rich media support and views, making Alfresco a great solution for creative marketing departments and agencies working on evolving campaigns full of rich content.
Look out for new languages, more security and administration functionality giving you peace of mind when using Alfresco, desktop sync and customization options so you can start empowering Alfresco to streamline your business processes!
Having finished 2012 with a record quarter and two of the biggest deals in Alfresco’s history, the team has done a great job building a strong foundation for the future. Today marks another significant milestone in Alfresco’s history. As one of the largest content management and open source companies in the world, I made the choice that Alfresco needed a US-based leader with enterprise cloud experience to position the company for dramatic cloud growth and a future US IPO. [click to continue…]
The process of reviewing and refreshing your website content is never ending. In fact, most organizations have a team of people working together much like little elves collaborating to complete the big project in time for the big day. This process becomes even more complex when the production team at the north pole and the outsourced web team are trying to share information on who is naughty and nice. The more people and more complex your organization is, the greater importance there is to have an easy way to find the content you need, accessible wherever you are. [click to continue…]