Alfresco’s world tour made its stop in New York City recently, and the visit came with a special surprise. In front of a packed crowd at the Apella Event Space at Alexandria Center, the company announced updates for its ECM system, Alfresco One, and BPM system, Activiti. Updates for its Records Management and Outlook Integration software were also announced. And after watching presentations for the entire day, BLI sees great potential for dealers to utilize Alfresco’s powerful, intelligent offerings as a platform for delivering Managed Document Services.
Tom De Meo, VP of Product Management, who was joined on stage by Paul Hampton, the company’s senior director of product marketing, announced the release of Alfresco One v5.1, Activiti v1.4, Outlook Integration v2.0, and Records Management v2.4. The duo was particularly excited about Alfresco One’s newest feature, Smart Folders. Based on meta-data, Smart Folders group files from different locations in Alfresco into a single folder. Hampton and De Meo demonstrated how Smart Folders worked, showing how contracts from the legal department and pictures from the marketing department can be found in the same Smart Folder, despite living in separate folders in different sections of the repository.
The introduction of Smart Folders coincides with Alfresco’s philosophy for maximizing content’s value. Smart Folders make it easier for users to access and share content, and more importantly, in the words of Alfresco CEO, Doug Dennerline, “lets content find the user.”
De Meo and Hampton also simulated a loan application process to show off Activiti’s BPM capabilities. In this demonstration, a fictional unemployed 21 year old college student was applying for a $4,500 auto loan. Using business rules and configurable decision tables—such as risk based on the age, income, and other factors—they were able to automate the approval (or in this example, disapproval) process.
At the opening of the day’s ceremonies, Doug Dennerline outlined four ways to maximize content’s value, stating users should be able to access, use, and share content easily; the user shouldn’t search for content, content should find them; that content should integrate with related processes and applications; and that content should evolve with a business’s changing needs. Alfresco delivers on all four of his points, the company claims. And thanks to its scalability and open source architecture as well as its interoperability capabilities, Alfresco One slots nicely into the MDS environment, especially when leveraged with Alfresco Activiti.
According to Dennerline, 90 percent of their systems are built on open-source platforms, opening the door for virtually endless customization possibilities. Important for dealers to note is how this opens the door for a holistic platform that can serve varying customers and their disparate needs, expanding their potential customer base. Further, thanks to its roots in open-source architecture, a dealer’s IT team could build apps to support any business process, for added revenue in that arena. And thanks to the solution’s flexibility—it can be hosted in the cloud, on-premises, or in a hybrid configuration—dealers can offer deployment options for the needs of varying customers.
The highly customizable solution offers integration capabilities with countless applications or line-of-business software, which again, opens more trails for additional revenue. Out of the box, the solution dovetails with products from Ephesoft and SAP, as well as Microsoft Office, Outlook, Google Docs and Salesforce, to name a few.
As far as scalability is concerned, the solution can handle incredibly large loads. In a November 2015 test, the organization passed the one billion (no, that’s not a typo) document benchmark in Alfresco, based on a technology stack consisting of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud and Amazon Aurora.
According to Dennerline, Alfresco One currently has over 11,000 users and 2,000 customers (and 2 million downloads for Community, the free iteration of One), managing over 7 billion documents. What makes these numbers even more impressive is the claimed 93 percent customer satisfaction rate and the 90 percent customer renewal rate for Alfresco One users. With numbers like that, MDS operations can turn into a serious revenue generator.