by December 1, 2008 0 comments



In the late 70’s, enterprises needed a solution to manage their deluge of
paper documents like invoices, faxes, photos, etc. Their wish wasn’t fulfilled
until the early 80’s, when vendors introduced different kinds of document
management solutions. Immediately after that the computers market exploded and
brought with it electronic documents to manage as well. The early Electronic
Document Management (EDM) solutions used to manage file types that were specific
to individual organizations. Later, as more official documents turned
electronic, support for managing higher number of file types had to be
introduced. These solutions could handle both electronic as well as paper
documents. The next logical evolution was to have the ability to track the
movement of documents. That’s where modern day document managemnet solutions
stand. Apart from managing documents, they can also do work flow, collaboration,
auditing and security

Why document
management?


In the traditional system, we used to have a full fledged department to take
care of all documents. And is still being used by some organizations like banks.
But for organizations which are mostly into IT doesn’t really need to maintain
paper documents except for some special cases. There were number of limitations
in the traditional system, like it required space to keep those documents which
again gets full over time. Apart from these, it required dedicated human
resource and huge time to maintain the same. Moreover, search for a specific
document was cumbersome at times. There were security issues as well. Similar is
the case with electronic document. Everyone uploads file on the common shared
folder and after a period of time, the number of files becomes so huge that
managing them becomes tedious. There can be redundancy, security and
confidentiality issues as well.

An electronic document management can solve all such problems. For example,
you can save a lot on space and human resource, which alsol provides better
customer service. Moreover, you can have access to any authorized document 24×7.
Due to organized management policy it will be easier to access any document and
save lots of time. You can play safe with your data as it maintains all the
versions of a single document. And any change made to a particular document can
be tracked down, for instance, at which level a particular change is made.
Besides, it also provides disaster recovery options.

The dashboard of OpenKM provides
extensive view of the changes made or that are being done.

Technologies in DM
Even simple document management software will keep all information that is
required to get things working. Such metadata includes creation date of the
document, date the document was stored and name of the person who stored it. All
DM solutions do indexing i.e. tracking documents. Some complex DM systems can
integrate with other applications, like MS Office 2007. Once you have created
your document you can directly upload it from MS office. Moreover you can modify
the document live in the DM solution and then save it. For example, Google Docs,
which provides you DM and at the same time applications through which you can
modify or create documents. Some proprietary DM software let you directly scan
documents with the help of OCR. It can convert the scanned image to machine
readable text. Not all but most document management solutions also provide
workflow management and collaboration option like internal email system, rule
based workflow etc. Now let’s implement couple of document solution and explore
some interesting features in them. Some standards on document management are (src:
wikipedia)

  • ISO 2709:1996– Format for information exchange
  • ISO 15836:2003- The Dublin Core metadata element set
  • ISO 21127:2006– A reference ontology for the interchange of cultural
    heritage information
  • ISO 23950:1998– Information retrieval (Z39.50) — Application service
    definition and protocol specification.
  • ISO/CD 10244– Business process/workflow baselining and analysis
    associated with EDMS technologies

OpenKM: Document Mgmt the Open Source way
OpenKM is an open soure and free solution for electronic document management
that provides you a lower cost alternative to other paid EDM solution. A
proprietary version of OpenKM is also available which have all the features of
the OpenKM community edition like professional support, webdav integration,
workflow, preconfigured OCR, etc. The dashboard of this EDM software provides
you very extensive details about what is going around. For example, it shows you
all the recently checkout documents, last uploaded and downloaded documents,
subscribed document and folders, etc. The installation of this platform
independent solution is easy, but you need to make sure that you have installed
the correct version of JDK on your system. We have provided OpenKM with this
month’s DVD , just install JDK by executing the following command under Debian
or download the appropriate file from Sun JDK website.

The Statistics/ Report viewer in
OWL gives you the option to generate customized reports such as, who
uploaded which document.

# aptitude install sun-java5-jdk

Next unzip the zipped OpenKM file and run the following command to start
OpenKM.

# OpenKM-3.0-RC1_JBoss-4.2.2.GA/bin/run.sh

Now as the OpenKM server is started, open its web based console on any client
machine by typing out the following line in the address bar.

http://<ip-address-of-server>:8080/

Login in using username and password as ‘admin’, on the right side you can
see the entire folder list, and on the left side all the file in a particular
directory is listed along with details like size, update date, author, etc. For
viewing the dashboard, click on the ‘Dashboard’ link on the upper right corner
of the page. OpenKM lets you view video and image online i.e. without
downloading the file to your desktop. For this, navigate to the file which you
want to view, right click on the file and click on the ‘image viewer’ option in
case the file is of image type or play if it is a video file. For adding
document, you can find option under the file menu, through which you can
download document as PDF, send as links and export as zip files. The last two
options send as links and export as zip helps a lot in saving or rather lowering
your bandwidth usage of your organization. Under the ‘history’ tab, you can view
all the details like who uploaded, downloaded, and modified the file and also on
which date.

Free Document Mgmt for your Intranet with Owl

The SharePoint 2000 server also
provides you calendaring. This option helps in organizing your events and
share among different users easily.

If you are looking for fast deployment of some document management solution for
your intranet and that too for free, then Owl can be the best. It is especially
meant for publishing different types of documents onto the intranet, so that
people within your organization can have fast and easy access to them. It is
available in two different flavours; first is Owl Ultralight which is just for
managing document which doesn’t need any backend database. Whereas in case of
the second, ‘Owl’ gives you multi user environment, manage group, notification,
customizable user interface and much more. For installation, you need to provide
the database username and password along with the database name in the
configuration file found in ‘conf’ folder. Once this is done, you need to import
mysql-tables.sql into your database to create tables (use phpmyadmin for this
process). Once the tables are created, access the login page by typing out
following on the web browser; http://<ip-address>/owl , and after that providing
username and password as admin. Now let us see how you can you configure Owl DM
solution to send notification or alert to the users. For this, login with
administrator privilege, navigate to the ‘Site feature’ menu and then scroll to
the ‘Owl system e-mail setting’ section. Then check the ‘Use SMTP mailing
method’ option, define SMTP port as 25, define maximum attachment size, provide
the address of SMTP server that you will be using for sending mails. Provide the
sender address at ‘From Address’ text box and SMTP username and password for
authentication. Provide a subject for the outgoing mail and also mention the
reply address which will be used by users to send any feedback or comments. Once
all these things are done, click on the ‘Change’ button provided at the bottom
of the page.

Document Management with workflow using SharePoint
If you require more than just a simple document management and workflow, MS
SharePoint provides you lot more than that, but you have to spend some extra
penny. Apart from document management and workflow, the MS SharePoint 2007
provides you portal and business management. Now let’s implement the Microsoft’s
SharePoint 2007 server. We tried out this software on Window Server 2003 Core2
Extreme machine with 4 GB RAM and 120 GB HDD. Installation of MS SharePoint 2007
was an easy task. Once the system was installed, we configured it with the
default configuration which took couple of minutes and the system was ready.
Next we created a portal, in other words a site to share XYZ information with
different people, personalized the user experience and content as well.

Apart from email settings, OWL
configuration also allows you to customize your web page, search results,
etc.

For creating a site, log on to SharePoint 2007 web management console with
administrator privilege. Next click on the ‘Sites’ link on the top navigation
bar, and then click on the ‘create site’ link on the right hand side of the
page. Type out the necessary information which include title, description, url,
template and then specify the user permission, category that the site belongs.

If you don’t want to show the administrator navigation panel on the newly
created site, then select ‘No’ in ‘Use top bar from parent website and finally
click on ‘Create’ button. This will take couple of seconds and you will be
directly taken to this newly created site with administrator privilege. Now
upload some documents and then create some users. Now let see how you can make a
workflow in the SharePoint server for your newly created site. Suppose you have
written an article or report and that needed to be approved by someone. First
you need to upload the file to the site, click on the dropdown button on the
file uploaded, and select the workflow option. Now click on the ‘Approval’ link,
write the name of the approvers and then click on ‘start’. You can also give
date for the approval of the document and also can notify other people
associated with the workflow. Now let see how we can create a KPI (key
performance indicator) which lets you know how much progress is made till date
on a particular project, it even lets you to track that the task in on time or
not. For creating a KPI, login with administrator privilege, click on ‘Site
Action’ and then click on create option. Click on the KPI list link provided
under Custom list option and provide a name for the KPI and click on ‘create’.
Now to add a KPI to your newly created KPI list, click on new drop down menu and
choose ‘indicator data in SharePoint list’. Give a name to the new item and
provide the URL.

Next specify the goal value the number when reached, i.e. the project is
completed and warning value, so that the task is not completed on the date
mention then the indicator turns yellow. Finally you have created your KPI. It
can also take inputs from Excel workbook, SQL 2005 Analysis service and manually
entered information.

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