Re: Document Management Systems

Subject: Re: Document Management Systems
From: Richard L Hamilton <dick -at- rlhamilton -dot- net>
To: Trish Robertson <trobertson -at- casenetllc -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 4 Nov 2011 17:46:11 -0700

Trish,

Sounds like you're embarking on a real adventure, one which will at least give you some good war stories:-).

I presume that when you say "free or low cost," you're talking about just the software. There's no way the overall cost of a project like this will be free or low cost (unless you have a very liberal definition of low cost:-).

Even with open source software, you'll have content analysis, process definition, software evaluation and selection, software setup, hardware costs, customization, training, maintenance, and probably several other things that escape me at the moment:-). Unless you've already got the skills in-house to do that (and they're not already occupied with real work), all of those things will cost you money.

While I'm a big fan of open source software, I'm willing to bet that if you do a total cost analysis, the actual cost of the software will be swamped by other expenses. So, while I wouldn't rule out open source software, I also wouldn't eliminate commercial software.

You're probably best off working with a good independent consultant who can help you evaluate what you need and help you find something that will work for you.

In your shoes, I'd try to talk my boss into sending me to Lavacon the week after next (see my signature for details). A lot of excellent consultants will be there, and for no more than the cost of a drink (or some chocolate; seems like the tech comm world runs on chocolate:), you can learn a lot and maybe find someone who can help you out.

Best Regards,
Richard Hamilton
-----
hamilton -at- xmlpress -dot- net

Lavacon Conference on Digital Media and Content Strategies
November 13-16, Austin, TX
http://lavacon.org

On Nov 4, 2011, at 2:37 PM, Trish Robertson wrote:

> Hi,
>
> I've been charged with locating a document management system for our technical docs, including work flows, business requirements, functional specs, technical design specs, and so forth; customer-facing docs, including user, administrator, installation, architecture, deployment, and upgrade guides, and database references; and online help files. We currently aren't using wikis or blogs to any extent but might in the future.
>
> We need to store, organize, and share documents, have version control and access permissions, and receive change notifications. We need to be able to do string searches in the collection within sets of files and by file and folder titles. We need to search different file formats--MS Word, Excel, FrameMaker, RoboHelp, HTML, XML, and plain text.
>
> An additional condition for a document management system is that it be useful in an adapted Agile Scrum environment, which we are just embarking on.
>
> And yet another condition is that the system be free or low cost.
>
> For those of you with experience using or ideas about document management systems, I'd love to hear from you.
>
> Thanks, Trish
>
> Trish Robertson
> Tech Writer
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Create and publish documentation through multiple channels with Doc-To-Help.
Choose your authoring formats and get any output you may need. Try
Doc-To-Help, now with MS SharePoint integration, free for 30-days.
http://www.doctohelp.com

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References:
Document Management Systems: From: Trish Robertson

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