Lab Test: Xythos Enterprise Document Management Suite 7.0 builds on Web 2.0 tech
Injection of AJAX, wikis, and RSS, along with improved tagging and search options, make Xythos a strong choice for bringing order to unstructured content
Besides the wiki's standard group editing of content, you can quickly link to documents in the Xythos repository. Importantly, Xythos automatically recognizes the original sharing and security rights of these documents. That is, if someone is viewing a wiki and discovers a page with a restricted document, then those items won't appear.
Additionally, Enterprise DMS 7.0 includes RSS, which lets me subscribe to changes made to any folder, document, or wiki. Other applications could also consume these feeds. For example, I added the Xythos RSS feed to a Microsoft SharePoint site using the RSS Viewer Web Part, so users of the portal saw when changes to Xythos documents were made.
In addition to WebDAV and the JSR-170 repository, Xythos interoperates with portals that use JSR-168 portlets, such as IBM WebSphere Portal – so you can access your Xythos content without leaving the portal. Document Manager's security lets you create a single-sign-on environment with your LDAP or Active Directory server.
Tag and ye shall find
Besides classifying documents into a broad area, I could now tag documents with free-form text. In combination with a much better search function, finding documents was quick and accurate. For instance, search filters let me locate content – in both the document repository and Xythos wikis – by file name, meta data, user-created tags, or keywords. Xythos' search explores PDFs and image files – a total of more than 100 formats. Searches can also be saved and shared.
Finally, workflow now lets you perform some significant business process automation – moving beyond the basic document routing and approval of the past version. For instance, based on an event, such as an approval, I had Xythos automatically post a document to a specific wiki. Another task that's easily automated is assigning tags based on the folder where a document is stored.
Xythos DMS is a strong offering, though there's some room for improvement. Hopefully, the company will consider expanding the product's APIs beyond the WebFile Server (the underlying content manager) so that workflow functionally, say, could be extended. Additionally, the wiki's capabilities might be updated with more collaboration options.
Xythos recently merged with Blackboard, a company that develops e-education enterprise applications. It's a natural fit: Xythos has a number of academic clients using the DMS to mange instructional content and education grants. Yet this really demonstrates the importance of cloud-based applications, especially document management – expertise both companies have and Xythos 7.0 proved during my evaluation.