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KENNETH C. LAUDON AND JANE P. LAUDON
Alfresco: Open Source Document Management and
Collaboration
URL
URL
URL
(a) Alfresco Tour Video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p266dTL6oJQ; L=3:00
(b) Alfresco Document Management at City of Denver—
Customer Case Study (part 1)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01bUAsD5t8E; L= 4:50
(c) Alfresco Case Study: The New York Philharmonic
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWI5RZRC56A#!; L= 4:34
SUMMARY
A central element in managing organizational knowledge is developing systems that can
manage the documents which lie at the heart of all organizations. Prior to the development
of document management systems, organizations relied on physical copies of documents
to conduct their business which was both costly and ineffective. Document management
systems digitize physical documents and store the files in a database. This allows documents
to be accessed and shared both internally and with customers. While all large enterprise
software firms provide document management systems, Alfresco is unique because it is
an open source software platform and much more affordable than solutions from traditional
vendors.
CASE
Alfresco Software, Ltd. Is a software firm based in the United Kingdom that offers an
open-source enterprise content management and collaboration platform. Alfresco’s plat-
continued
ALFRESCO: OPEN SOURCE DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT AND COLLABORATION
2
form provides content management, Web content management, collaboration,
content platform and repository, image management, and content management
interoperability services to enterprise customers. The company was found in
2002 in Maidenhead, United Kingdom, by former executives of Documentum
and Oracle. Documentum was one of the original document management firms
in the 1990s that developed software to manage, organize, and store millions
of documents. They specifically focused on unstructured information found
in documents, images, audio, and video, as opposed to structured information typical of customer record systems, which have a fixed format of fields
and records. For instance, Documentum developed a customized system for
Boeing to organize, store, maintain, and selectively publish the thousands of
pages of information for the Boeing 777 training manuals which contained
multiple file types, including text, photos, and drawings.
Alfresco built on this early foundation by developing a document sharing and
collaboration platform based on open-source software, open standards, and
licenced under various open-source licenses. An open-source license is a
copyright license that makes the source code available for everyone to use.
This allows end users to review and modify the source code for their own
customization and/or troubleshooting needs. Open-source licenses are also
commonly free, allowing for modification, redistribution, and commercial use
without having to pay the original author.
There are different versions of the Alfresco software, as well as different
licensing fees. The Alfresco Community Edition is free software, open source
and open standard. The Enterprise Edition is commercially licensed and
proprietary, but builds on the open-source foundation. Modifications do not
have to be shared with the larger community. The Alfresco Cloud edition is a
SaaS version of the Enterprise edition that operates on Amazon Web Services
(AWS). Alfresco also developed an iPhone app so users can connect with the
cloud-based software. Alfresco received the Gartner Visionary designation for
ECM software as a service. Alfresco also offers a Digital Business Platform
in financial services that automates the loan application process using facial
recognition software (Amazon’s Deeplens video camera), and Amazon’s Alexa
voice recognition to complete loan applications.
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ALFRESCO: OPEN SOURCE DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT AND COLLABORATION
3
VIDEO CASE 1. How does Alfresco support a mobile business environment?
QUESTIONS
2. Why is Alfresco superior to email for supporting collaboration?
3. What were the factors that caused the City of Denver to go with the Alfresco platform as opposed to more typical proprietary software from other vendors?
4. What business process will Denver seek to automate in the future using Alfresco,
and why use a document management system to automate this process?
5. What problems did the New York Philharmonic seek to solve with Alfresco?
6. What benefits does Alfresco provide the Philharmonic?
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Copyright © 2022 Kenneth Laudon and Jane Laudon.
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