Alfresco 4 Enterprise Content Management Implementation

By Munwar Shariff , Snehal Shah , Rajesh R Avatani and 5 more
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  1. Introduction to Alfresco

About this book

Alfresco 4 has improved a lot with its new and advanced concepts for content management. Users have been waiting for a book that covers these concepts along with security, dashboards, and the configuration features of Alfresco 4.

Alfresco 4 Enterprise Content Management Implementation is a well-crafted and easy-to-use book, and it is a complete guide to implementing enterprise content management for your business needs using Alfresco 4. It covers the enhanced document management, integration with standard productivity tools, and various integration options with proven external applications.

This book will take you through a number of clear, practical sections that will help you to make a proper decision for your business needs using standard practices with Alfresco’s Document Management and various third-party integrations

You will learn how to install, administer, and manage your entire application. The concepts of mapping your business documents by extending content models and achieving your complex business process using Workflow models and business rules will be discussed in this book. Integration with various third party tools like MS Office, Mobile Application, Outlook, Liferay, Ephesoft, and Kofax will also be covered. You will learn to create your own custom workflow using Activiti BPMN 2.0 Process Designer and also maintain and administrate the entire application.
This book explains everything you need to know to manage your documents using standard processes and mechanisms.

Publication date:
July 2013
Publisher
Packt
Pages
514
ISBN
9781782160021

 

Chapter 1. Introduction to Alfresco

Enterprise content management (ECM) is the fastest growing category of enterprise software. Customers who are implementing or upgrading ECM systems are facing issues such as vendor lock-in, high maintenance costs, and lack of standardization. Open source technologies and open standards are becoming powerful alternatives to commercial closed-source ECM software. Alfresco being a stable player in this market has gained a lot of momentum by providing content management solutions to enterprises using open standards and open source based technologies. Alfresco is positioned as "Visionary" in Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management (as per Gartner's ECM report 2012).

The latest release of Alfresco has an Enterprise Edition as well as a Community Edition. The Alfresco Community version is an unsupported product and is designed for use by developers and technical enthusiasts in non-critical environments. It serves as the research vehicle for new features and as the platform for the Alfresco Community. Constant innovation of the Alfresco Community renders a daily build, offering the latest functionality.

The Alfresco Enterprise Edition is production ready, stress tested and certified build that is supported by Alfresco Software Inc. It is fully a supported, Alfresco product that can provide support to corporations and governments that require commercial Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

This chapter provides an introduction to Alfresco and outlines the benefits of using it for your enterprise's content management requirements. It also introduces the features of the latest release of Alfresco, Version 4.2, as of May 2013.

By the end of this chapter you will have learned about:

  • The overview of Alfresco

  • Key features of Alfresco software Version 4.2

  • Alfresco products including Alfresco Mobile and Alfresco Workdesk

  • Using Alfresco for your document management, business process automation, records management, team collaboration, web publishing, secure file sharing, and mobile content management requirements

  • The future roadmap

 

Overview of Alfresco


Alfresco was founded in 2005 by John Newton, co-founder of Documentum, and John Powell, former COO of Business Objects. Its investors include the leading investment firms Accel Partners, Mayfield Fund, and SAP Ventures. The proven track record of its leaders, the features in the technology, the open source business model, and good venture capital backing of the team, as a combination makes Alfresco different.

Leveraging the benefits of open source

Enterprise customers can reduce costs, minimize business risks, and get competitive advantage by adopting the right open source based business software solutions. Based on publicly available pricing from a range of vendors, a white paper from Alfresco shows how it is possible to save, in the first year of implementation (based on a 1000 user configuration), up to 89 percent of the cost of SharePoint purchases and up to 96 percent of the cost of other ECM solutions by using Alfresco's open source ECM. You can reduce the cost of software solution acquisition, deployment, and maintenance by bringing the community into the development, support, and service process.

Alfresco is the leading open source alternative for enterprise content management. It couples the innovation of open source with the stability of a true enterprise-class platform. The open source model allows Alfresco to use the best-of-breed open source technologies and contributions from the open source community to get higher quality software produced more quickly and at a much lower cost.

State-of-the-art content repository

The following diagram explains the overview of Alfresco content repository and its integration with external systems such as virtual filesystems, web applications, knowledge portals, and web services.

A content repository is a server or a set of services used to store, search, access, and control content. The content repository provides these services to specialist content applications such as document management, records management, image storage and retrieval systems, or other applications that require the storage and retrieval of large amounts of content. The repository provides content services such as content storage or import, content classification, security on content objects, control through content check-in and check-out, and content query services to these applications.

What distinguishes content management from other typical database applications is the level of control exercised over individual content objects and the ability to search content. Access to these services requires wrapping the calls in security to prevent unauthorized access or changes to content or its metadata. The finer granularity of this security and its complex relationship with other objects such as people and folders requires a more sophisticated mechanism than provided by a traditional database security.

The complex requirements of these services imply that much of the business logic of the content repository can be as large as or larger than the database itself. Almost all the content repository vendors provide proprietary service interfaces to encapsulate the breadth of functionality required. Despite having tried over the last 10 years to standardize these interfaces, it is only over the last two years that any progress has been made. In 2005, the Java community adopted the JSR-170 standard interface and Alfresco's content repository is based on these standards.

Scalable architecture

The single most important aspect of any ECM system is the underlying architecture. Alfresco supports pluggable, aspect-oriented architecture out of the box by leveraging the open source standards and components such as Spring, Hibernate, Lucene, CMIS, JSR-168, JSR-170, and JSE6.

The architecture is based on open standards and hence the applications built using Alfresco can be deployed on any environment such as Windows, Linux, and Mac, using any relational database such as MySQL, and Oracle. Applications can run on various application servers such as JBoss Application Server and Apache Tomcat, can work with any browser such as Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Internet Explorer. More over the applications built using Alfresco can be integrated with any portal such as JBoss Portal, and Liferay Portal.

In any enterprise, the amount of content you will manage will keep on increasing. In some organizations such as media, pharmaceutical, and healthcare, the content increases exponentially every year. Hence scalability is a critical issue when evaluating the ECM solution.

Due to modular and light-weight architecture, Alfresco is highly scalable. Alfresco provides horizontal scalability by having each tier in the architecture deployed on multiple servers. Similarly Alfresco can scale vertically by partitioning and load balancing in a multi-server environment.

Open standards-based underlying components

Open standards protect enterprise investment, promote innovation, and make it easier for IT departments to support the software. By adopting open standards for their ECM requirements, enterprises can lower the risk of incompatibilities with existing technologies. The enterprise application integration becomes easier with open standards.

Alfresco is completely built on the following open standards:

  • Java 1.7

  • WebDAV – IETF web-based distributed authoring and versioning

  • 5015.02 – US Department of Defense (DoD) certified for records management

  • JSR-170 – Java Content Repository (JCR) API

  • JSR-283 – Next generation of JCR

  • JSR-168 – Portal integration standard

  • CMIS – specification supported by all major ECM vendors including IBM, and Microsoft

  • Spring 2.0 Aspect-Oriented framework

  • Apache iBatis (replacing Hibernate from Alfresco 3.4 version onwards)

  • AIFS (Alfresco Intelligent File System) supporting Windows files sharing (SMB/CIFS), NFS, and FTP

  • Open Office 3.3

Globalization support

If your enterprise has a global business model, it is very important for you to provide content in multiple languages. Most of the enterprises look beyond their geographic borders for new markets. The majority of the web users speak little or no English. Hence ECM systems should be designed with globalization in mind.

Alfresco out of the box supports major languages including Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish.

Security and access control

Protecting unauthorized access to the content is the key requirement for enterprises. This is true for corporate websites, intranets, extranets, front office, and back office applications.

A nice thing about Alfresco is that the permissions can be applied at a space (folder) level or can be set for each individual content item. Out of the box, Alfresco supports relational database-based membership systems and also supports external identity management systems such as LDAP, NTLM, Kerberos, and Active Directory.

Essential library services

Library services are required if you want to manage, leverage, modify, and control the content in an ECM system. Alfresco provides library services such as Check-In/ Check-Out, version control, auditing information, and content streaming.

Using Alfresco, you can define the library services to be executed automatically based on the business rules. For example, every edit to the content can version the content automatically. Or every check out can move the content to a specific location based on the business rules.

Alfresco provides additional intelligence to the content by adding metadata (data about data), business rules, security rules, and collaboration rules dynamically, using aspect-oriented programming. Alfresco also provides features such as content metadata extractors, content transformers, translations, and auto categorization to make the content intelligent.

Business process automation

Business process automation increases productivity, reduces costs, streamlines processes, and shortens operation cycles. Alfresco includes Activiti (http://www.activiti.org/) as a business process management and automation solution. This would help manage document life cycle with security and audit trails capabilities. Alfresco extends the support for JBoss JBPM workflow engine which was the default workflow engine for the earlier versions.

Enterprise integrations

Alfresco provides open-standards based protocols to integrate with external applications. Some of the application integration examples are mentioned in this book in Chapter 9, Integrating External Applications with Alfresco. Alfresco could be used as an embedded repository or as an external content repository. Because it is open source, you can reuse the integration components for your business applications saving time and money.

Alfresco now integrates with applications such as Facebook, ViewOne Pro, and iGoogle, and gadgets such as iPhone. Alfresco integration with Drupal (PHP-based web content management system) is a perfect example of how cooperation between open source projects can yield innovative solutions more rapidly than a proprietary model.

Alfresco integrates with Ephesoft, offers the customers access to a comprehensive production capture solution, including automatic document classification, data extraction, and validation for both Internet-based distributed capture or centralized environments.

Alfresco integrates with an open source J2EE-based leading portal framework called Liferay. Alfresco Liferay bundle is an out of the box solution, which provides an excellent portal-based ECM solution.

Alfresco integrates with external identity management systems such as LDAP and Active Directory and supports centralized security and single sign-on.

 

Alfresco Enterprise 4 – an overview


Alfresco Enterprise 4.0 is built on the Alfresco Surf platform. This platform enables you to build dynamic, REST-oriented web applications and collaborative websites. The Surf platform is designed to work in a number of different web environments. It includes content oriented components designed around the Yahoo!® User Interface (YUI) Library and Adobe® Flash® for dynamic uploads and previewing of content and other information. The new user interface components make it much simpler for users to develop new collaborative web applications. It is also enabled to work as a Web Part in Microsoft SharePoint Portal.

Alfresco Share

Alfresco Share delivers out of the box, collaborative content management. Alfresco Share simplifies capturing, sharing, and retrieval of information across virtual teams, boosts productivity, and reduces network bandwidth requirements and e-mail volumes between project team members.

Alfresco 4 releases include many enhancements to Share such as improved user experience and advanced management tools. Share now also supports plug-in extension modules to extend, replace, or remove components within Share without changing the OOTB code.

Alfresco Repository Public API

The Repository Public API provides content and collaboration services for customizing and developing Alfresco applications. Introduced with Labs 3b, it offers services such as site management, site activities, tagging, commenting, thumbnails, blogs, wikis, and forums to support social collaboration. These new REST APIs are based upon ATOM Publishing. The Repository Public API has two forms:

  • A RESTful API for remotely connecting to the repository as used by Alfresco Share

  • A JavaScript API for developing extensions to the repository (as used in web scripts, actions, and so on)

Alfresco CMIS implementation

The Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) specification defines a domain model and a set of API bindings that can be used by applications to work with one or more Enterprise Content Management repositories or systems. The CMIS technical draft specification has been developed jointly by EMC, IBM, Microsoft, Alfresco, Open Text, Oracle, and SAP. The CMIS implementation will benefit by:

  • Write once, run anywhere application

  • Integrate multiple repositories

  • Business process across repositories

  • Learn one UI for all repositories

Alfresco Version 4.0 includes enhanced CMIS features such as the following:

  • Consolidated AtomPub and Web Services impl. behind OpenCMIS Server

  • Access to OpenCMIS Client API within Repository (in-process)

  • Single-Sign On support with CMIS

  • .NET OpenCMIS Client API (via Apache Chemistry)

For more information on Alfresco and CMIS, please see cmis.alfresco.com.

Microsoft SharePoint Protocol support

Alfresco is now the first ECM to offer Microsoft Office SharePoint Protocol support. Available at a lower cost and with no additional client installation, it is remarkable. It also allows choice for hardware, database, operating system, application server, and portal products.

Social content publishing

Social content publishing is a new feature added in Alfresco 4.0 release to allow you to publish content from Alfresco to social platforms. The current out of the box support is for the following social platforms:

  • Facebook

  • Flickr

  • LinkedIn

  • SlideShare

  • Twitter

  • YouTube

Solr search

Many improvements were made to the search service in Alfresco from 4.0 release onwards. Alfresco provides Solr as an alternative to previous in-transaction, Lucene-based indexing and search. Solr can be deployed and scaled on a separate tier.

Activiti workflow for Business Process Management (BPM)

Prior to the 4.0 release, Alfresco used JBoss JBPM as the workflow engine. The 4.0 releases now include the full integration of the Activiti engine into the repository. A new installation of 4.0 will also include JBPM, but it will be disabled by default. This is to support backward compatibility.

iPad and Android usability improvements

Alfresco 4.2 releases include mobile usability improvements for the share interface. For example, the editor for content creation, wiki, blogs, and forums is more users friendly. Features such as HTML5 drag-n-drop (in supported HTML5 browsers), and multi-file selection in the standard file upload dialog are supported.

 

Alfresco products


Alfresco Enterprise version comes in various product forms. This is to allow you and your content to move from desktop to cloud to tablet to smartphone. Wherever you are, access your files and share them with those who need them. For more details about these products, visit www.alfresco.com.

Alfresco Enterprise On-Premise

Alfresco Enterprise On-Premise helps customers to have customized versions as per the organization needs. Customers can scale the installation as listed based on the demand.

  • Single server: Alfresco can be installed on a single server including the database, application server, and Alfresco application. Suitable for proof-of-concept projects or for small, departmental deployments.

  • Horizontal scalability: Alfresco can be installed in a cluster. Additional servers can be added or removed from the cluster to meet user demand. This high-availability style configuration offers a higher level of reliability and resilience, and can be scaled out as you grow.

  • Vertical scalability: To increase performance, the Alfresco application can be separated into different tiers so the content server, share application, search server, and content transformation server can be run on separate servers, each optimized to the workload.

  • Alfresco index server: Content indexing can be run on a separate system to remove the indexing load from the Alfresco servers. All of the nodes in the Alfresco cluster can use this central index server, which can be scaled independently.

Alfresco in the cloud

Alfresco in the cloud is a fully managed SaaS (Software as a Service) offering that helps your organization keep control of its content while providing your users with powerful ways to access their content securely on any device, anywhere.

Alfresco Mobile

Alfresco Mobile is a free mobile document management app for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, which enables you to view all your content stored in your Alfresco On-Premise or Alfresco in the cloud account.

Alfresco Workdesk

Alfresco Workdesk is a business solution that includes the Alfresco enterprise content platform, offered on a per-user basis. Alfresco Workdesk allows users to focus on just the content that is relevant to them, at just the right time, on the device of their choice, based on their role in the business process.

 

How you can benefit from Alfresco


Alfresco offers enterprise content management (ECM) such as document management, collaboration, records management, enterprise search, and imaging. You can configure and customize Alfresco to address your business requirements. Some of them are listed here for your reference.

Using Alfresco for document management

Using Alfresco you can implement document management solutions such as enterprise document management, digital asset management, and contracts management.

Alfresco document management features provide organizations with all the services necessary for creating, converting, managing, and sharing electronic documents. Built on industry-standard open source platforms, Alfresco provides version management and search capabilities.

Built-in data management and transformation engine provides you with the ability to transform the data into required formats based on the business rules. Integrated workflow provides you with the full control over the document life cycle, management, and process flow.

Digital asset management provides a single access point for all your rich digital media and its underlying metadata information throughout the extended enterprise. Alfresco centralizes storage and provides easy, efficient, enterprise access to digital assets, and allows them to be quickly repurposed, which streamlines processes and saves money.

Whether it's an employment contract, purchase agreement, maintenance contract, or collaboration agreement with a business partner, completeness, validity, traceability, and unalterability must be guaranteed if a company is to protect its commercial interests. Alfresco's document lifecycle management features ensure that people in various company departments, divisions, and regions can work together to support all processes relating to a contract throughout its lifecycle—from creation through fulfillment and modification to termination.

Key features include:

  • Flexible metadata management

  • Full audit control

  • Transformation of data

  • Security and version control

  • Indexing and full-text search

  • Locking, check in/out

  • Offline briefcase synchronization to access content offline

  • Taxonomy and categorization of content

  • Advanced search with combined metadata, location, and multi-category search

  • Soft deletes and deleted documents recovery support

  • Scheduled jobs and actions

  • Management of web assets

Using Alfresco for records management

Using Alfresco, you can implement records management solutions such as enterprise records management, compliance, imaging, forms management, and business process management.

Alfresco records management features provide a secure, auditable environment for creating, declaring, classifying, retaining, and destroying records. Organizations can ensure compliance by defining and enforcing policies for records use, storage, and disposition, with a legally defensible audit trail.

Records management capabilities are modeled to support the US Department of Defense 5015.2 Records Management standards. Alfresco provides file plan templates for numbering, classification, disposition, and other metadata population of records. Disposition includes the transfer of records and/or the ultimate destruction of the record.

Predefined reports will provide you with information about recent records, records due for cutoff, records retention due for expiry, records due for transfer, and records due for destruction.

The lifecycle determines the disposition of the record including when the records will be cut off or grouped together, how long the records will be held, and what happens to the record after the hold period expires—whether they are transferred to a records holding area or whether they should be destroyed.

By integrating with Scanning and OCR technologies, Alfresco provides end-to-end solution by collecting paper documents and forms, transforming them into accurate, retrievable information, and delivering the content into an organization's business applications. The information then is full-text searchable and goes through various lifecycles based on the organization's defined business process management.

E-mails are considered as records in some organizations. Alfresco enables you to drag-and-drop e-mails from Microsoft Outlook into the file plan space. The system will extract the metadata from the e-mail files and populate information such as who the e-mail is from, who the recipients are, and the subject of the e-mail. E-mail content is stored in a secure and scalable repository and is full-text searchable.

Key features include:

  • Record plans

  • Automatic conversion from proprietary office formats to long-term vendor neutral formats such as Open Document Format (ODF) and Portable Document Format (PDF)

  • Vital records information management

  • Record cutoff information management

  • Record holding and retention management

  • Record transfer process

  • Record destruction management

  • Record lifecycle management

  • Archival policies

  • Disposition schedules

  • Restriction of user functions

  • Audit trails

Using Alfresco for collaboration management

Using Alfresco you can implement collaboration solutions such as corporate and departmental intranets, knowledge management, and client and project extranets.

Alfresco collaboration features provide the infrastructure, integration points, and tools required for accessing, sharing, and distributing content among users or systems. Built upon industry-standard, open source platforms, Alfresco helps you to quickly define and develop environments for teams (project teams, associations, research, and so on) that will streamline processes, reduce costs, and improve time to market. Users can manage and collaborate on documents, web information, and forms within a single system through a consistent user interface.

A comprehensive security model based on individuals, groups, projects, and team spaces provides you the highest level of control. The solution leverages the existing infrastructure such as LDAP or Active Directory for authentication and authorization.

A web-based rules engine enables business users to define the business and content rules appropriately without the help of programmers and IT. Alfresco supports a graphical tool to define the workflow and business process management for content flow in collaborative environments.

Users can discuss the content using the discussion forums and discussion threads tied to the content. Users can subscribe to content and receive e-mail notifications when content is added or updated. The solution supports both inbound and outbound RSS syndication to share content beyond inside and outside corporate firewalls.

Interfaces such as Common Internet File System (CIFS) and WebDAV allow each team member or departmental system to map the folder on the server as a local network drive. This enables bulk transfer of files between your local system and the central server repository. Users can use their favorite editors to edit the content that is mapped in the local network drive.

Knowledge Management (KM) refers to a range of practices used by organizations to identify, create, represent, and distribute knowledge for reuse, awareness, and learning across the organization.

Key features include:

  • Team spaces

  • Full audit control

  • Discussion forums

  • Message boards

  • RSS syndication

  • Ad-hoc security

  • Version controlled content repository

  • Full-text search of various content items

  • User controlled routing

  • Integration of enterprise systems

  • High availability, fault tolerance, and scalability

  • Business process-driven content management

Using Alfresco for enterprise content search

Most of the ECM systems do not consider search as an important part of enterprise content management. Search helps to locate information quickly, generate business reports, and helps to make business decisions. The following features of Alfresco will provide you an enterprise search solution:

  • Provides single point access to enterprise content repository

  • Provides full-text search of documents

  • Helps to index the documents and provide metadata search

  • Helps you to build and share reports using saved searches

  • Helps search for users and collaborative groups

  • Searches archived content

Applications of Alfresco

Since the architecture is flexible and extensible, you can build various applications using Alfresco such as:

  • Enterprise document repository

  • Intranet

  • Enterprise knowledge management portal

  • Scalable content repository

  • Corporate websites

  • Marketing communications

  • On demand publishing

  • Compliance and records management

  • Financial applications which involve security, forms handling, and approval process

  • Research portals for collaboration and sharing of information

Alfresco's website (http://www.alfresco.com) has a list of customer case studies. Going through these case studies will help you understand the type of applications you could develop using Alfresco.

 

How does the future look with Alfresco?


This book is based on Alfresco Enterprise 4.1.2. It is an update on the previous book which was on the Alfresco 3.0 release. The Alfresco system has evolved towards a state-of-the-art, one point solution to the ECM needs.

Alfresco is geared towards an enterprise content platform that you can use in the cloud or behind your firewall. Alfresco is built for the portability of the tablet and the power of the cloud.

There has been so much interest from international organizations, governments, and multi-national corporations that translation seems a natural extension of the Alfresco model.

Alfresco has weaved itself into a number of other products. Products such as Quark, Acrobat.com, CAStor, and Adobe LiveCycle are just a few to mention who have incorporated the ECM into their product in some way.

Better support options

Alfresco comes with multiple support options. Firstly, it is supported by the company Alfresco, which gives users direct access to Alfresco's engineering team and most recent bug fixes.

At any given point in time, the following three support alternatives exist for Alfresco open source software:

  • In-house development support: As the source code is open source, you can train your developers in-house to support your application built using Alfresco.

  • Community support: Alfresco already has a big community world wide. With a growing community, you can always get help through Alfresco community forums, though the quality of support can vary.

  • Alfresco enterprise network support: Alfresco Inc. provides the highest quality option for production and development support. This support is provided to the company's customers using the Enterprise product. It includes direct access to the engineers who write the Alfresco code, the up-to-date bug fixes, configuration assistance, and a range of other services.

Free upgrades

For every new release, you will get free upgraded software. You might have to take care of your specific customization to upgrade to the later version of the software. It is important to follow best practices while implementing Alfresco, so that upgrades are easier and less expensive to handle.

 

Implementing the example solution using Alfresco


Subsequent chapters of the book contain examples to help you implement your requirements such as collaboration, customization, and document management using Alfresco. The examples are an attempt to solve similar content management problems which are encountered in a typical enterprise.

By providing examples in this book, the idea is to:

  • Engage you, and keep the material feeling real-world.

  • Help you apply the features of Alfresco to business decisions. You see in the fictional example that decisions are made for particular reasons, and can contrast those reasons (and thus the decisions) with your own situation.

  • Give the book an overall theme—even a narrative engine to keep things moving and not feel like technical documentation.

 

Where do you get more information?


The best place to start looking for more information is Alfresco's corporate website (http://www.alfresco.com) itself. You can find the latest news and events, various training programs offered worldwide, presentations, demonstrations, and hosted trails.

Alfresco is 100 percent open source and all the downloads are available from the SourceForge website at http://sourceforge.net/projects/alfresco/files/.

Alfresco Wiki (http://wiki.alfresco.com) contains documentation such as tutorial, user guide, developer guide, administrator guide, and roadmap.

Alfresco discussion forums (http://forums.alfresco.com) are the best place to share your thoughts, and to get tips and tricks about Alfresco implementation. The discussion forums are available in multiple languages.

If you would like to file a bug or to know more details about the fixes in a specific release, then you must visit the bug tracking system at http://issues.alfresco.com/.

 

Summary


Alfresco is the leading open source alternative for enterprise content management. It couples the innovation of open source with the stability of a true enterprise-class platform. The open source model allows Alfresco to use the best-of-breed open source technologies and contributions from the open source community to get higher quality software produced more quickly at a much lower cost.

Alfresco provides key features for a scalable, robust, and secure content management system to deliver trusted and relevant content to your customers, suppliers, and employees.

Alfresco enterprise content platform can be used in the cloud or behind your firewall. Alfresco is built for the portability of the tablet and the power of the cloud.

About the Authors

  • Munwar Shariff

    Munwar Shariff, as a co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at CIGNEX Datamatics, brings over 20 years of industry experience and proven technical leadership. He oversees the enterprise architecture solution team and provides strategic planning to achieve business goals by identifying and prioritizing technology-based services and solutions. Defining initiatives and setting timetables for the evaluation, development, and deployment of pioneering technologies are his areas of expertise.

    He is an entrepreneur, open source technologist, and author of the following four technical books:

    • Plone Live
    • Implementing Alfresco
    • Alfresco3 WCM
    • Alfresco3 ECM

    He contributes to the open source community by journaling submissions on open source CMS, and has been a featured speaker at AIIM USA, JBoss World, DAM Conference, Plone Conference, Linux World, Gilbane, CTC, Yahoo OSCMS, Saudi Government, and CA World.

    Munwar has also served on board at the Plone Foundation and is currently a board member at CIGNEX Datamatics.

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  • Snehal Shah

    Snehal Shah has extensive experience in implementing enterprise web applications using J2EE technologies. He is the co-founder of Techforce Infotech where he has worked on various J2EE based solutions, various open source product customizations, and worked on business expansion. He was also involved in building a team and finalizing the technology path for the organization.

    At his previous employer, CIGNEX Datamatics, he rolled out numerous Alfresco deployments worldwide in the areas of document management, web content management, and Share. He has also worked on application-based Liferay and Moodle products. Prior to CIGNEX, he has worked on various J2EE-based solutions using cutting edge technologies.

    He has worked with clients in education, legal, and marketing domains across the world. He has worked on defining architecture for various projects, which involves multiple product integrations. In his previous organizations, he was involved in deciding the technology path of the organization and was also involved in various internal technical training.

    He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering from Deemed University, DDIT India. He has also worked as a Technical Reviewer for the books Alfresco 3 Cookbook and Alfresco Share.

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  • Rajesh R Avatani

    Rajesh R Avatani leads the Alfresco Practice at CIGNEX Datamatics. He has earned his Masters in Computer Application from Basaveshwar Engineering College, Bagalkot, India He is well versed with all the phases of the Software Development Lifecycle and has strong hands-on experience in leading and implementing Java, J2EE, Object Oriented Architecture based projects, and Alfresco-based ECM Solutions. He has around 5 years of experience in Alfresco. He has mainly worked on Alfresco integration projects as a Technical Architect and Project Manager, in other terms, as a Techno Manager. He has worked on projects where Alfresco was integrated with Liferay, Drupal, and other web applications. He has also implemented the Contract Lifecycle Management System developed on Alfresco. He has successfully implemented Alfresco-based ECM solutions for various industries into healthcare, finance, insurance, banking, education, and so on.

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  • Jayesh Prajapati

    Jayesh Prajapati is a Senior Consultant at CIGNEX Datamatics. He has extensive experience in implementing Enterprise Web Applications using J2EE technologies. For the past six years, at CIGNEX Datamatics, he has rolled out numerous Alfresco deployments worldwide in the areas of Document and Web Content Management. He has worked on Performance-tuning projects where Alfresco was deployed in clustered and load balanced environments. He has also implemented Integrated Content Management Portal (ICMP) where Alfresco WCM is used as the central repository and Liferay as Portal. He has also implemented Alfresco WCM to serve Flex-based portals. He has worked with clients in the travel and hospitality, healthcare, academic, and high-tech domains. He has been involved in providing training on Alfresco Document Management. Jayesh holds an MS in Computer Applications and Information technologies from the North Gujarat University, India

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  • Vandana Pal

    Vandana Pal is a software engineer and author. She currently works as senior consultant at CIGNEX Datamatics.

    She has extensive experience working with Enterprise Digital Asset Management and Content Management Systems. She has worked with various deployments of Alfresco in various domains, such as media, finance, and healthcare, for different organizations across the world. She has hands-on experience working with architecture design, performance tuning, security implementation, integration, and the orchestration of complex workflows in Alfresco.

    She has more than 7 years of experience in software engineering. Her journey in this field began when she started working with different open source technologies and found them interesting. She holds a bachelors of engineering degree in information technology from Gujarat University, India.

    Vandana has also coauthored Alfresco 4 Enterprise Content Management Implementation.

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  • Vinita Choudhary

    Vinita Choudhary is a senior consultant at CIGNEX. She has extensive experience in working in a variety of environments with cross-functional, multi-cultural teams as a business analyst and has provided feedback on usability and functional gaps in process flows and proposed solutions. She has re-organized existing repository of documentation, written guidelines for document creation, filing and change control, wrote reference and training material for software developers and published the same. She is involved in providing presales support to the sales team and has worked on process streamlining for the company and various documentation aspects. Vinita holds a Masters in Computer Applications degree from Gujarat University, India.

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  • Amita Bhandari

    Amita Bhandari is a senior consultant at CIGNEX. As a senior developer, she has rolled out numerous Alfresco deployments world-wide. She has extensive experience in implementing Enterprise Web Applications using J2EE technologies such as JSP, Servlets, Spring, Hibernate, Web Services, Web Scripts and MVC Frameworks. She has worked with clients in media and gaming, healthcare and e-governance. She trained many students in Java and advanced Java technologies. She holds a Masters in Computer Applications from Rajasthan University, India.

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  • Pallika Majmudar

    Pallika Majmudar is a consultant at CIGNEX Technologies. She is very experienced in Java/J2EE domain including the frameworks such as Struts, Spring, Hibernate, Web services, and Web scripts. She has worked on various CMS applications for the customers in United States, Hong Kong and India. She has implemented Alfresco for clients across verticals like Media, Healthcare, Hi-tech and Communications. Pallika has earned her Masters in Computer Application degree from Gujarat University, India.

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