Manage your document workflow

If you operate in an enterprise environment, you're familiar with document control problems. For example, if several people are responsible for editing a document, users might inadvertently work on the same document at the same time. How will users know which version contains the appropriate changes? DOCS Open from PC DOCS can help you manage various document workflow situations.

DOCS Open is a collection of programs and utilities that gives you an infrastructure to store, locate, retrieve, and manage documents across your network and the Internet. You can store information on multiple servers and remote network sites.

Other product features let you annotate your scanned documents and use audit trail capabilities to track who edited the documents. DOCS Open gives you full-text searching and version control, which lets you manage how your documents change. The product provides full document usage history and various security levels that you can configure.

Setting up the software took about an hour. The software requires a database to store its files (library), so I selected my SQL Server 6.5 installation as my database server. The product also supports Oracle and Sybase.

To install the product on my Prioris NT Server, I inserted the CD-ROM and ran setup.exe in the root directory. I provided basic information and license keys, and the product installed with little interruption. After I completed installation, I ran the library setup program to create the necessary tables on my SQL Server database, and I set up some document types (e.g., word processing files, spreadsheets, presentations) and other administrative information on my server. You use the product's library maintenance feature to perform most of this maintenance. This process might take a while in larger environments that have many document types and other parameters to set up. However, the product has a database import utility so you can more readily populate your database with information.

Using the software to register my documents was simple. After I ran the main DOCS Open application, I added new documents to the database by clicking Document and New. For each new document, the program prompted me to enter the filename, file type, and a description. The software then added the new document to my index. The index has several features (such as Quick Retrieve, Attribute Indexing, Content Search, and Document History) that let you interact with your documents. For example, as Screen 1 shows, I used Quick Retrieve to list my most recently edited documents.

Another nice feature of DOCS Open is its optional DOCS Routing Module, which lets you create routes and have files traverse the routes. Routes are useful for larger environments in which a routine group of people review or edit documents. For example, certain individuals in a marketing department might receive marketing plans. The marketing assistant might work on the document first, followed by a manager, and finally the VP of marketing. You can use the software's routing capabilities to set up this route, and you can control how documents will flow (e.g., you can assign deadlines and monitor a document's progress through the route).

DOCS Open includes add-on features that let you extend the software's capabilities in an enterprise environment. DOCS Unplugged is a component that lets the software operate in a mobile environment for users who aren't directly connected to your LAN. CyberDOCS is an application that extends DOCS Open over the Internet: You can use a standard Web browser to retrieve documents and perform DOCS Open functions. This feature is great for companies with employees on the move. DOCS Open even includes modules that let you integrate with email systems, such as Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes.

All this capability comes with a price tag. You also need to consider the costs of database servers and client access licenses. But the time you'll save is worth the money you'll spend.

DOCS Open
Contact: PC DOCS * 781-273-3800
Web: http://www.pcdocs.com
Price: $3995, and $349 per client
System Requirements : Workstation: Windows NT, Windows 95, or Windows 3.x, (for desktop functions only; administration requires Windows 95 or better), 16MB of RAM
Server: Windows NT, UNIX, Novell NetWare 3.x or 4.x, or Banyan VINES
SQL Server, Oracle or Sybase