Published by Utsav Arora (Senior EIM Consultant) | 06/02/2018
Opentext has yet again delivered a solid solution in the form of the Connected workspaces module on Release 16. With Connected Workspaces OpenText integrates many of the functionalities of the successful Extended ECM stack into out-of-the box Content Server, bringing more integration and value to the business. Infosquare has developed a unique and robust mechanism to augment connected workspaces and connect them to any customer data source.
challenges of contextual content management
- Most documents stored in an ECM system are related to a clearly identified business entity (an incident, a building, an equipment, an employee, a supplier, etc…) or business activity (project, task, sales opportunity, etc…)
- Business entities and activities originate and are managed in business applications (SAP, Salesforce, …).
- Keeping the metadata of these documents in-sync with these of the corresponding business objects is both critical and yet very challenging
- It is important for business users to get a direct and easy access to documents within these business applications’ transactions and screens.
OpenText Extended ECM: integration as the solution
OpenText Extended ECM has been very successful at answering these challenges, especially for transaction-based systems like ERPs or CRMs. It paved the way to a successful integration of ECM services into business processes.
The xECM solution is made of three major components:
- Business Workspaces: dedicated spaces in the ECM system (Content Server) which hosts all documents related to the business entity or activity (called Business Objects).
- Add-ins which instrument business applications and enable them to store unstructured data into the business workspaces, synchronize each business workspace metadata and security with their business object
- Widgets which are integrated into business application and provide a transparent access to the content of the corresponding workspace from within business application screens
RELEASE 16: Broadening the usage of workspaces
Available as an out-of-the-box module of Content Server 16, Connected Workspaces broaden the scope of workspaces usage. They allow for bringing together people, data, content and tasks related to virtually ANY relevant business context: a sales opportunity, a business entity, a task or project, etc…
Connected Workspaces are built on the very strong and mature templating mechanisms of Content Server which fuel xECM. While defining each type of workspace (Project, Building, Sales Opportunity, Employee, Asset, Supplier, etc..), the customer can define the different rules which will apply to all documents stored in a workspace but also to the workspace itself: file plan, security, automatic groups, automatic naming, retention policies, etc…
Connected Workspaces in Content Server UI
Both the legacy Content Server interface and the new SmartUI support end-user actions related to connected workspaces and the documents they contain: workspaces creation, browsing, searching using facets, collaboration, documents import, etc…
Connected Workspaces can leverage SmartUI perspectives which provide the option to tune (if needed) the look-and-feel of each type of workspace for a minimal effort and using a configuration interface.
For example, the interface of an Asset workspace provided to a technician can be simplified to its minimum to ease maintenance activities whereas a more complex view of the very same workspace for members of the quality team could contain more items: a list of incidents, the list of SOPs the asset is referenced in, etc…
Using the Smart UI widgets, it is also possible to display workspaces within any web application or portal.
automating connected workspaces
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to automate the creation (and update) of connected workspaces, the very same way xECM automates business workspaces by instrumenting the most-known popular business applications? Also, what about cases where an intrusive instrumentation of business applications is not possible:
- Business objects contained in a central reference “business database” and not an application (example: MDM)
- Business objects managed by applications which are not under control (example: public cloud)
- Business objects managed by applications which use legacy technologies
InfoSync: smart connected workspaces
Infosquare has developed a tool called InfoSync which can be installed on any Content Server platform to enable the synchronization of connected workspaces with data contained in virtually ANY data source, in a non-intrusive way.
Using an advanced, robust and proven delta mechanism InfoSync identifies any change of business objects and automates:
- the creation, update and deletion of the corresponding connected workspace(s)
- the synchronization of related Content Server groups
- the execution of any additional logic
With InfoSync, customers can unleash the full power of Connected Workspaces and further automate their business processes.
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