Document management software

Manage your purchase




Web technology, low-cost scanners and cheap storage have combined to
make document management affordable.
No single document management system will meet all your requirements.
Highly integrated systems aren’t necessary for all users.
You must determine your needs before you buy.
ODMA 2.0 compliance is no guarantee of product interoperability.
Low-end document imaging software can be a boon for individuals and
small workgroups.
You should seek a scalable system only if you’re sure your needs
will grow.



Sidebars
Personal
document management programs are low-cost, easy to use.
There’s a variety of features
for enterprise document management systems




In an industry awash in technospeak, document management could be mistaken for just
another piece of flotsam.


And, unquestionably, it’s difficult to get a handle on what it means. Ask 100
software developers, secretaries or government information systems directors for a
definition and you’ll likely get 90 or more different answers.


For some, document management is as simple as collating and stapling pages from a
printer or fax machine. For others, it’s stuffing telephone messages into
pigeonholes.


For this Buyers Guide, however, document management refers to one of several hundred
highly evolved software systems for organizing, storing and retrieving complex digitized
documents.


Whatever it is, it’s big business. Spending for document management products will
reach $3.9 billion worldwide this year, and $33 billion by 2002, according to a market
research study conducted jointly by the Association for Information and Image Management
International (AIIM) of Silver Spring, Md., and International Data Corp. (IDC) of
Framingham, Mass.


The promise of document management software is to reduce the workload and improve the
productivity of most offices. A study by the international accounting firm Ernst and Young
indicated that electronic document management can triple processing capacity, cut staff
work time by up to 50 percent, provide immediate access to decision-critical data, cut
document storage space by up to 80 percent and provide fail-safe, secure systems.


Definitions of modern document management systems have expanded far beyond most
expectations.


Document management systems have never been as cheap as they are today. Most software
architectures have been built around a client-server model in which a server running
Microsoft Windows NT, SunSoft Solaris or Unix manages most of the processing but offloads
some tasks to a PC running Windows 95 or NT.


Such LAN designs offered many benefits, but low price wasn’t one of them. Although
most systems managers embraced the concept of document management, not all felt they could
afford it.


But today, by combining low-cost scanners and cheap storage, you can digitize and store
huge files on magnetic or optical storage media and create a solid strategy for retrieval
and management of stored information. Add Internet use, which has spread around the globe
faster than chicken pox in kindergarten, and you have highly affordable document
management at your fingertips.


Using Web browsers as the main tools for information gathering and dissemination,
programs that cost thousands of dollars per seat a year or two ago now go for as little as
$100 to $500 per seat, depending on functions selected by users. More than half of the
programs listed—27 out of 40—are Web-enabled. The message to software makers is:
Put a Web component in your document management system or risk extinction.


Some high-end enterprise document management systems, such as FileNet Corp.’s IDM
Desktop 2.0, offer a mix of client options. IDM Desktop will serve both thick clients and
browser-based thin ones. Thick clients, full-fledged PCs or workstations running on a LAN,
can offload heavy portions of the document management workload from a server running
Windows NT or Unix onto their own processors. Thin clients, which are less robust and
powerful, work via a Web browser such as Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet
Explorer. With less processing overhead to manage, they cost less per seat to implement.


Platinum Technology Inc.’s new Raveler 1.0 is another enterprise document
management system offering support for both thick and thin clients. At its core, however,
it is a true Web-based document management system and includes document content gathering,
versioning and usage.


Intertech Information Management Inc.’s DocuPact Web Server 3.2 and Netright
Technologies Inc.’s iManage Network 4.0 are straightforwardly Web-based. DocuPact Web
Server is designed mainly for document viewing and annotation. The iManage Network
software operates from a three-tiered design that provides open access to documents from
remote computers over the Internet using standard Web browsers. It is scalable from a
handful to several thousand users.


Net-It Software Corp.’s Net-It Central 2.6 clients use browsers exclusively for
Web publishing and intranet document sharing. Lotus Development Corp.’s Web-based
Domino.doc 2.0 works with Lotus’ Domino and Notes for enterprisewide document
management with workflow, imaging and archiving support.


Xerox Corp.’s DocuShare 1.5 is a tool for posting and managing collections of
information on intranets. Newly customizable, it lets users assign any properties they
choose to DocuShare objects or documents. This latest release also supports automatic
Hypertext Markup Language conversion of documents and most common desktop formats. It also
supports enhanced log reporting for tracking activity on the server and Secure Sockets
Layer for extranet apps.


Together with Encanto Networks Inc. and Chiliad Publishing Inc., Xerox plans to
incorporate DocuShare 1.5 into Web access and publishing software.


The move to Web technology is the most dominant trend among document management
systems, but it’s not the only one. The AIIM-IDC study also lists integrated
functions, standards compliance, scalability and knowledge management as other key factors
in the document management strategies.


Users once had to settle for tool kits of loosely related components to patch together
a full-fledged document management system. Many of today’s document management
systems act as umbrellas under which functions such as workflow, document imaging,
archiving and storage management may be clustered.


PC Docs Inc.’s DocsFusion, FileNet Corp.’s IDM Desktop 2.0, Keyfile
Corp.’s Keyfile 4.0 and Treev Inc.’s Treev 1.0 are examples of integrated
enterprise document managers.


Treev 1.0 includes DocuTreev, an imaging engine with archiving for capturing, storing
and retrieving stored images, word processing documents, spreadsheets and other graphical
files; DataTreev, a COLD report storage and retrieval engine; AutoTreev, a workflow engine
that moves documents based on definitions of work types, users and tasks; and OmniTreev,
the system’s general document management engine for capturing, storing, retrieving
and managing all files.


Interoperability between different vendors’ document management systems is even
more important than integration of proprietary product functions, most users say,
according to AIIM.


In May, AIIM released a production version of its ODMA 2.0 Software Developer’s
Kit (SDK), a tool kit designed to help vendors implement the Open Document Management
application programming interface specification.


The ODMA 2.0 specification, unanimously passed by AIIM members, calls for improved
support for popular document management features such as alternate file formats, compound
documents, expanded ways to reference documents and an increased set of document
attributes, according to Marilyn Wright, vice president of standards and technical
services for AIIM.


Information about the ODMA 2.0 SDK is posted on the AIIM Web site at http://www.aiim.org/industry/standards/intex.html.


Another standards effort, especially important for government users, is rapidly gaining
favor among vendors and users. The Defense Department’s DOD-Std 5015.2 for records
management applications describes standards for ensuring interoperability among different
vendors’ records-keeping programs, a subset of document management.


Tower Software Corp. and Universal Systems Inc. claim their programs—Tower Records
and Information Management (TRIM) 4.2 and ePower 1.0, respectively—meet the DOD-Std
5015.2 compliance requirements.


The Defense Information Systems Agency evaluates products to certify compliance. DISA
provides more details about the process on its records management Web site at
http://www.jitc-emh.army.mil/recmgt/.


Increasingly, users want to scale their document management systems up from dozens to
several thousand users across the enterprise. Most scalable are products listed as
enterprise document management systems: Altris Software Inc.’s Pro EDM 1.0,
Documentum Inc.’s EDMS 98 3.0, Eastman Software Inc.’s DMX 2.0, FileNet
Corp.’s IDM Desktop 2.0, Novasoft Systems Inc.’s Novation 1.0 and Platinum
Technology Inc.’s Raveler 1.0. Smaller systems, such as Keyfile Corp.’s Keyfile
4.0 and Lotus Domino.doc 2.0, are less scalable but also less expensive.


At a recent AIIM conference, Lotus president and chief executive officer Jeff Papows
described how a large petroleum company using Lotus Notes and Domino also uses
videoconferencing and online whiteboarding as part of its document management strategy.
Via its network, a company representative can in real time call up corporate experts to
help explain the array of text, graphical and Web documents used in a particular technical
discussion. Papows called it the future of collaboration and document sharing. Future
versions of Domino will have similar network capability with real-time application and
document sharing capabilities, he said.


If there is a new trend to watch for among document management systems, it is knowledge
mangement components, including video and audio components. 



Want help in getting out from under the reams of faxes, e-mail printouts, hand-scrawled
notes, newspaper clippings and word-processed documents that litter your desktop?


A quick scan of the Web turned up several technologies that cost about $100 and can
help you clean up, if not put an end to, the clutter.


Many of the programs fall into the category of document-imaging
software—shrink-wrapped software tools designed to work with a scanner to help import
images, manipulate them and index them after they’re stored to your hard drive.


The $100 PaperPort Deluxe 5.1 from scanner manufacturer Visioneer Inc.
of Fremont, Calif., works with most scanners to provide image conversion and optical
character recognition scanning from paper to PC. It has rudimentary but effective text
search capability and a fairly complete storage system that includes user-defined folders.
Check it out at http://www.visioneer.com.


The single-user version of Computhink Inc.’s The Paperless Office,
priced at $70, combines image manipulation with storage management to help individuals and
small groups facilitate workflow. Research it at http://www.computhink.com.


The $100 Pagis Pro 2.0 from ScanSoft Inc. of Peabody, Mass., at http://www.pagis.com, is similar to The Paperless Office
but integrates with Microsoft Windows to scan and store documents. It also lets you use
your PC’s resident fax software and modem to fax scanned documents.


Details about Newsoft Inc.’s $49 Presto PageManager 98 3.0 are
posted at http://www.newsoftinc.com. Newsoft of
Fremont, Calif., bills it as a three-tiered personal document manager with an image filing
cabinet, disk explorer and Web page manager. It also comes with a fuzzy search engine for
finding documents by key-words and annotation tools for electronic document markup.


The $39 PageKeeper Standard from Caere Corp. of Los Gatos, Calif.,
works with scanned paper documents on most scanners, arranges them into logical groups,
previews their contents and lets users fax, e-mail or print them. The Lite version of
PageKeeper is bundled free with many third-party scanners. Get the details at http://www.caere.com.


Mindworks Corp. of Sunnyvale, Calif., has a $100 Recollect 95 that
isn’t imaging software, but offers powerful full-text fuzzy search capabilities.



No single document management system can meet all your enterprise requirements, but
use the following list of key features culled from the product literature of FileNet
Corp., Keyfile Corp., PC DOCS Inc. and other leading software developers to help you
narrow the selection of products that will best meet your requirements.



J.B. Miles writes about communications and computers from Carlsbad, Calif.

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