Monday, November 26, 2012
Confluence means "a coming together" and has been helping workers do just that since 2004. Starting out as an enterprise wiki, it has evolved through the years into an all-round collaboration tool. Confluence is available as a SaaS or hosted product, powered by Java. It is the Atlassian product and it is designed to work with other Atlassian products.
Confluence has the widest spread application of Atlassian's products, it could be applied in almost any environment. It is free to open source institutions and non-profits. Pricing starts at just a charity donation of US$ 10 for hosted smaller installations for less than 10 users.
Price breaks go neatly up through the ranks until you are only paying US$ 1 per user, if you have 2,000 of them for the Hosted version.
Confluence offers the ability to create one or many sites, for the whole company, different teams, groups or classes of worker. Managing them is done through an elegant set of administration tools and dashboards.
Setting permissions is very easy.
Sites can be styled and formatted as needed. With styles for the most typical areas such as human resources, design projects, along with templates for common tasks like meetings, project plans, intranet or team project page can be created very quickly.
Communities are presented through bios, pictures, home pages. Users can find each other by holding the cursor over someone's name. To see a brief bio, they need to click on that name and they visit the main page.
Users can chart work progress through blogs, their status updates can be seen by other users in the group and home pages. There are also YouTube videos and Twitter-style updates.
Users will also get notifications (or can create an RSS feed) when someone edits an entry or changes a file.
All documents can be kept in one place accessible to all relevant users.
When combined with Atlassian's JIRA, users can create step-by-step workflows that will see tasks completed in a by-the-numbers fashion and everyone's contributions and input can be tracked.
The site has search function. Searches, updates and other entries can also be filtered to limit the search. There is autocomplete feature for the search.
Confluence has the ability to connect to applications like SharePoint. Confluence has a SharePoint connector. It also has full MS Office compatibility and smartphone access.
Confluence has Sandbox where you can try its features.
Monday, November 19, 2012
For records managers and others responsible for building and enforcing classification policies, retention schedules, and other aspects of records management plan, the problem with traditional, manual classification methods can be overwhelming.
Content needs to be classified or understood in order to determine why it must be retained, how long it must be retained, and when it can be dispositioned. Managing the retention and disposition of information reduces litigation risk, reduces discovery and storage costs, and ensures that organizations maintain regulatory compliance.
Classification is the last thing end-users want (or are able) to do. Users see the process of sorting records from transient content as intrusive, complex, and counterproductive. On top of this, the popularity of mobile devices and social media applications has effectively fragmented the content authoring market and has eliminated any chance of building consistent classification tools into end-user applications.
However, if classification is not being carried out there are serious implications when asked by regulators or auditors to provide reports to defend the organization’s records and retention management program.
User concerns aside, records managers also struggle with enforcing policies that rely on manual, human-based approaches. Accuracy and consistency in applying classification is often inadequate when left up to users, the costs in terms of productivity loss are high, and these issues, in turn, result in increased business and legal risk as well as the potential for the entire records management program to quickly become unsustainable in terms of its ability to scale.
So what is the answer? How can organizations overcome the challenges posed by classification?
The answer is a solution that provides automatic identification, classification, retrieval, archival, and disposal capabilities for electronic records as required by the records management policy.
OpenText Auto-Classification is the solution that combines records management with cutting edge semantic capabilities for classification of content. It eliminates the need for users to manually identify records and apply requisite classification. By taking the burden of classification off users, records managers can improve consistency of classification and better enforce rules and policies.
OpenText Auto-Classification makes it possible for records managers to easily demonstrate a defensible approach to classification based on statistically relevant sampling and quality control. Consequently, this minimizes the risk of regulatory fines and eDiscovery sanctions.
It provides a solution that eliminates the need for users to sort and classify a growing volume of content while offering records managers and the organization as a whole the ability to establish completely transparent records management program as part of their broader information governance strategy.
Auto-Classification uses OpenText analytics engine to go through documents and codifies language-specific nuances identified by linguistic experts.
Automated Classification: Automate the classification of content in OpenText Content Server inline with existing records management classifications.
Advanced Techniques: Classification process based on a hybrid approach that combines machine learning, rules, and content analytics.
Flexible Classification: Ability to define classification rules using keywords or metadata.
Policy-Driven Configuration: Ability to configure and optimize the classification process with an easy step-by-step tuning guide.
Advanced Optimization Tools: Reports make it easy to examine classification results, identify potential accuracy issues, and then fix those issues by leveraging the provided optimization hints.
Sophisticated Relevancy and Accuracy Assurance: Automatic sampling and benchmarking with a complete set of metrics to assess the quality of the classification process.
Quality Assurance Workbench: Advanced reports on a statistically relevant sample to review and code documents that have been automatically classified to manually assess the quality of the classification results when desired.
Auto-Classification works with OpenText Records Management so existing classifications and documents can be used during the tuning process.
OpenText Auto-Classification was developed in close partnership with customers using the OpenText ECM Suite, and works in conjunction with OpenText Records Management so that existing classifications and classified documents can be used in the tuning process.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
More and more organizations are moving to solutions where documents are stored in cloud-based systems. Implementing a solution in which documents are stored in a cloud-based system, such as a content management system, engineering drawing repository or a technical publication library, can present some challenges. You need to consider these challenges carefully so that you could provide the optimal experience for your users.
These are most important challenges to consider when implementing a cloud-based documents repository: working with multiple file formats; variations in document size; browser-compatibility with HTML5; and viewing documents on mobile devices.
Multiple File Formats
The documents that you might like to upload into your cloud content management system may be in many different formats. They may be PDF, TIFF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, CAD or many others. The device that is being used to display the content often may not have the correct software needed to display the document or image.
This issue is further complicated by the varying number of devices that the content will be viewed on. A common solution is to convert the files on the server to a generic format that can be viewed by many devices. For example, most browsers and devices today can display JPEG or PNG formats for images, Microsoft Office or PDF format for documents, CAD for drawings, etc.
It is very important to consider the size of the document, either the number of pages or the physical size of the file. Downloading the entire document can take a long time depending on available bandwidth. This is especially an issue on mobile devices with slow or crowded data connections.
A system that provides a preview of the document can help the user to determine if they want to download the document. The system can also provide quick initial view of the first few pages of the document allows a user to begin reading content while the rest of the document downloads. This increases worker productivity and can even reduce traffic if the user quickly determines that they do not wish to continue reading the document.
Another challenge is that there are various browsers that are used to access the Internet and not all of them work the same way. The four major browsers are Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari. Each browser has differences in how they operate and how the code works under the covers.
Document viewing technology is dependent on some level of support within the browser. For example some browsers support Flash and some do not. HTML5 is only supported on recently updated versions of some browsers, so older browsers can create problems. Even where HTML5 is supported, different browsers have different levels of support. Sometimes the differences are subtle and only cosmetic, while others, like complex formatting, can cause significant display issues.
With today’s on-demand business world, it is imperative to be able to support viewing documents on mobile devices. But not all the devices behave the same way, and different operating systems are used on the various devices. Without a consistent mobile viewing platform, separate viewing applications may need to be installed on each device and results will vary. Using a single technology that supports many document types is very important in a mobile environment.
Is HTML5 the Answer?
HTML5-based viewers can help resolve some of the challenges associated with browsers and mobile devices. However, there is a misconception that the adoption of HTML5 is the answer to all problems. It is not. The four major browsers have been implementing HTML5 over time and how much of the standard that is supported varies greatly with the version of the browser. Older versions of the browsers that are used in many government, education and businesses do not support HTML5.
Understanding that these common challenges are a possibility and preparing for them before you encounter them is important. Providing a single platform with multiple viewing technologies, including HTML5, Flash and image-based presentation, can help to ensure that all users can view documents, regardless of their specific device, browser or operating system. With that knowledge you can successfully promote a good experience for your users and overcome the major pitfalls faced by so many organizations today.