A buyer's guide to selecting the best ECM tool
A collection of articles that takes you from defining technology needs to purchasing options
Alfresco views enterprise content management (ECM) and business process management (BPM) as tightly related activities, and that's reflected in its two application suites. Alfresco One is an ECM product and document management platform that includes Alfresco on premises; the software as a service version, Alfresco in the Cloud; and a mobile version, Alfresco Mobile. Alfresco Activiti is a workflow and BPM platform that can be used by developers and administrators, or directly by end users.
Both platforms are open source, and Alfresco remains committed to open standards. Rather than provide a complete turnkey solution, Alfresco focuses on building a tool set that partners can use as building blocks for a complete solution.
Key features include:
- Access controls for setting user and group permissions that limit who can read or modify documents.
- Version control to track changes and allow rollback to previous versions.
- Collaboration that facilitates content sharing in a secure manner, controlled by IT.
- Compliance features that manage record lifecycle from creation to destruction.
- Document management stewardship for business-critical documents.
- Mobile content management that allows access to documents anywhere, anytime.
- Process management tools to streamline cross-company business processes.
- Social media interfaces for YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr and Slideshare.
- Workflow to help developers, administrators and non-technical business users design and manage business processes.
Alfresco relies on a network of system integrators, software vendors, infrastructure providers and resellers to build complete solutions, which are tailored to specific customer requirements. Alfresco integrates with several major software systems, including SAP, Amazon Web Services, Salesforce, AutoCAD, Google Docs, Jive and Microsoft Office.
The current versions are version 5.0 of the Alfresco One ECM product and version 1.3.1 of Alfresco Activiti BPM Suite. The latest releases include numerous improvements aimed at increasing end-user engagement, especially among less tech-savvy business users who want to get involved in process design and management.
Since its platforms are open source, Alfresco doesn't charge license fees. However, they do sell subscriptions for support. Pricing for the three levels of support is determined by the total number of named users and by the level of support required.
Customers can try a full-featured version of the Alfresco One ECM product or Alfresco Activiti BPM platform for 30 days or Alfresco online for 14 days. Alfresco Community Edition is free to download and use for an unlimited time, but no support is provided. This package targets developers and technical enthusiasts.
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