Curing document management complexity
Xythos, Xerox prove X marks the spot for keeping tabs on text, files
The old adage “keep it simple” is sometimes lost with enterprise document management products. Instead, vendors layer on non-core functions such as multimedia cataloging -- making the products pricey and difficult to implement and use.
There are exceptions, however: Xerox DocuShare 4.0.1 and Xythos Enterprise Document Management Suite 5.0 embrace simplicity and still deliver solid document and file management.
DocuShare is among the more cost-effective enterprise content managers. Its easily implemented document management, collaboration tools, and electronic distribution are a fine fit for document-intensive businesses. Xythos Enterprise Document Management Suite 5.0 forgoes DocuShare’s more formal team tools, such as threaded discussions, but covers all the document management essentials with little compromise. With either product, enterprises should see quick startup, little need for IT support, lower costs, and more efficient business processes.
Xerox DocuShare 4.0.1
Xerox DocuShare emphasizes ease-of-use, yet it doesn’t withhold features. Out of the box, enterprises get document collaboration and personalization, workflow, Verity’s K2D search engine, an embedded database, imaging tools, and plenty of scalability.
Contributing to a low TCO, DocuShare runs on Windows Server 2000 or 2003, Solaris, or Linux, and (optionally) works with Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server databases. For special needs, such as high-volume paper document scanning, the solution grows through add-on modules and integrators for third-party applications.
DocuShare’s multiple personalities make it appropriate for several broad areas. It works well as a basic document manager, while collaboration tools help workgroups update and track items such as research documents or marketing plans. DocuShare also handles electronic content distribution; recipients are notified when content is ready and download it from a secure location.
I installed DocuShare, a J2EE Servlet engine, on my Windows server in about an hour. No client software is necessary beyond a Web browser, although several possible end-user interfaces are possible. For Windows and Mac OS X users, WebDAV Web Folders let you access DocuShare from desktop applications; there’s also a Windows client that adds DocuShare access to Windows Explorer.
Version 4.0.1 introduces a Web portal view -- My DocuShare -- that I quickly customized with favorite objects, personal document collections, calendar, list of routing tasks to complete, and my browsing history. Navigation is straightforward; Collections (folders) show content in your organization’s desired hierarchy, and you simply click through to locate files you need. Alternately, improvements in the embedded Verity K2D search include new menus for quick word searches and a redesigned advanced search page.
When a document is located, associated edit icons let me view properties, check out the file, or route it for approval. I liked the new wizard-based Routing Slip because it let me create multi-step workflows without any programming. I was also able to route specific document versions and direct approvals to groups.
The main interface’s tabbed management pages offer quick access to other functions, including version history and permissions. To contribute content to Collections, I navigated to the desired folder and -- using the Add menu -- uploaded documents, created a discussion forum, and specified links to external Web pages.