Xythos suite simplifies document sharing

Remote workers can use Xythos to access and share files on a central server.

Federal agencies have thousands, if not millions, of documents to manage. Without a good system in place, keeping track of them all would be impossible. The Enterprise Document Manager 5.0 from Xythos Software Inc. comprises a set of server-based utilities that give agency users better access to documents and help them share information.

Xythos Enterprise Document Management Suite 5.0

Performance: A

Ease of use: A-

Features: A

Value: A-


Price: $45,000 for 250 users; $31 per user for agencies with 10,000 users

Reviewer's comments: It would have been impossible for one suite to both share and control information just a few years ago. This management suite is good for agencies that need to store multiple documents and make sense of all the information.

We installed the software on a Microsoft Windows 2000 server in the GCN Lab and tested access with desktop and notebook clients running Windows XP.

The first thing users will notice about the Xythos software is that it does a lot more than manage documents. It acts like a Citrix server in that employees can access their files remotely. We could log into the management server from a remote location using a browser and secure http protocol. Once there, it was like sitting in our office, though with some enhancements. For example, each folder has several options integrated into the Internet Explorer navigation bar. One is the Web Folder button. When you select this tab, it creates a link from your remote PC to a server-based folder. From then on, you can access any folder on the server from the bookmark section of your browser. We opened Word, Excel and a PowerPoint presentation from a remote system. All files actually resided on the lab server running Xythos. We loaded documents, edited and saved them as if they were sitting on a local hard drive. We even tested this over a 56-Kpbs dial-up connection, and there were no problems.

Once you feel comfortable with the system, you'll probably want to transfer all of your remote files to the server. This way you get the benefits of regular backups. Plus, you only have to manage one copy of your work and not bother with multiple versions.

Document management

Back in the lab, we put the extended document management features to the test. We were able to select a Word document and gain access to a bunch of helpful features not available in the standard desktop interface.

For example, you can manage subscription information for any document within the system. With a single click, you can e-mail any of your co-workers, inviting them to examine or change the document. The e-mail includes a link to the document, and as owner of the document, you can choose to receive an e-mail whenever someone views or edits the file. The link to the document is the pathway people use to get through your firewall, but you can control the link and set it to expire after a certain time.

Because you're sending users a link and not the actual document, you can securely share information and specify how each user can interface with the document. You can set it to 'read only' for certain people but leave it editable by your boss, for example.

The Xythos tools also let you set up a workflow process where documents are routed, edited and approved, all while sitting safely on your servers and being securely accessed by your team. No documents ever leave your control.

The Enterprise Document Manager as tested by the lab is quite an investment at $45,000 for 250 users, but agencies tasked with stewardship over a lot of documents will quickly see benefits.

Xythos Software Inc.,(888) 499-8467, www.xythos.com.

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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