Other Doc Management Pkgs SUMMARY

Subject: Other Doc Management Pkgs SUMMARY
From: Lucille Lattanzi <Lucille -dot- Lattanzi -at- FIRSTDATA -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 3 Jun 1999 12:07:24 -0400

Hi, Again, List folks -

I meant to post this sooner, but a back injury intervened. Many thanks to
everyone who responded to my request for experiences with document management
systems. I hope this information is useful to other list members.

There are 6 responses below.

Lucille Lattanzi

First Data Merchant Services

Melville, NY, USA


(1) Society for Technical Comunication - Some information is available on the
STC Management SIG web site.


(2) MS ACCESS - The manager of our documentation group created an Access
database (with
Visual Basic) to manage our documentation projects, and the documents
themselves (assigning file codes, tracking status, recording reviewer
The system is good because all of the information we need is tracked, and we
don't need to taylor our processes to match an application. The problem with
this system arises because there is no way of checking in-out or protecting
a document, so accidents can still happen; a document can be changed after
it has gone to customers, or the wrong document can be accidentally worked
on. It also takes a lot of work to maintain it. It's a measure of what is
more important; customization or ease of maintenance.
Before this job, I worked for the folks who made Office Control. It was
still in its infancy then, but it did control access to documents and
versioning and revisioning (as far as I can remember). The organization was
a little half-fast though, so I'd check it out good before committing.

(3)FILENET - I write for FileNET. We call ourselves the market leader in doc
(see http://www.filenet.com/), and while I'm not an expert on how we stack
up to Documentum and PC-Docs, it appears that our releases this year will
convince everyone (maybe even NASDAQ!) that we're the company to consider
for doc management solutions. We've certainly been beating the companies you
list in the last couple of quarters in the marketplace.
FileNET has had strong functionality on the server for ages, and now with
the release of Panagon IDM Desktop we have a good desktop solution as well.
I can tell you more if you want.
Document management is not easy to do. We had Microsoft's team assigned to
support the doc mgmnt marketplace in here recently, and while they were
competent and smart when it comes to their own object oriented
functionality, it was clear that they didn't appreciate how hard it is to
put rich, searchable property objects out on large networks and the web. I
think trying to create something in VB for a home grown solution could prove
a mistake for any but the smallest of jobs.
Just curious, but why isn't FileNET on your list?

(4) WORLDOX - I'm familiar with WORLDOX (www.worldox.com), a document manager
that's not
on your list....but if you have any interest let me know and I'd be happy to
provide you with my take on it.

(5)DOCUMENTUM - I've been involved with Documentum on and off for several years.
I was
involved with initial evaluation, proof of concept and implementation at my
last job. Now I am a member of the Documentum business team during a major
installation at BMC software.
If you have specific questions, I'd be glad to answer them. But my general
comment is this: Documentum is frequently hailed to be the answer to
internal process problems, and it can be used to enforce standardized
processes across an enterprise. But since it automates the workflow, the
workflow has to be well-developed. You have to 'plug in' some pretty solid,
logical, and consistent processes to gain the full benefit of the system.
It is one of the ironies of performance improvement software--The more
well-developed and standardized your processes, the more benefit you will
gain from the system the more quickly. But you will also feel less need for
the system. Generally the companies that feel the most need for such a
system are the companies that will have the most difficulty implementing it;
their processes just aren't mature enough to guide them as they configure
the system to support those processes.
Documentum is robust; it can do everything it promises. It is also much
less intuitive and user-friendly than Windows users may expect. It is UNIX
based, but emulates the Windows interface in many ways (but then fails to do
exactly what the user expects because it isn't really Windows). If you have
a large group of users, you may need to do a lot of training.

(6)PC DOCS - My company uses PC DOCS at our headquarters in Tel Aviv and St.
Louis. I can
access the library via the company intranet (CYBERDOCS).
Although I have nothing to compare it to, I think it is a good product.
Every document has a customizable profile with all the information you could
ever need. You search for documents by any parameter in the profile, as well
as do full text searches (e.g., I once found 42 documents containing the
word "massage", instead of "message").
I've never been involved with the development of the tool, so I don't know
anything from that perspective.

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