Category Archives for "Oracle"

SharePoint for the Enterprise

Microsoft has created a major presence in the enterprise content management arena with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.  Is SharePoint best suited to serve as a single ECM solution for the Enterprise?  The real question is what does it take to have a successful SharePoint implementation.  From my perspective, here are the things one should consider:

  • Implementations must be carefully planned. Incorrect installations lead to a lot more time and money spent later on down the road to fix the problem. Where are the cost savings then?
  • Tame the data chaos by defining document libraries based on content types. Be sure to not use a one solution fits all approach when defining metadata and requirements.
  • Administration is critical from an IT perspective in terms of its support, maintenance, and updates.
  • Have a roadmap, design documents, and a detailed project plan that defines roles and responsibilities, along with a risk assessment.  Don’t try to do it all at once and make sure everyone knows the plan and the timelines.

Organizations such as ImageSource are using SharePoint for managing active electronic content and supporting collaboration.  SharePoint can be easily used as a bolt on to existing ECM systems like Oracle IPM (Imaging and Business Process Management).

The value of implementing a duo like this increases exponentially with the ability to store fixed paper based content with in the Oracle IPM content repository and to leverage the SharePoint repository for your active electronic content and team collaboration portals.

Jon Sutherland
Sr. Systems EngineerImageSource, Inc.

Oracle IPM Workflow Software: Overuse of Custom Forms

With a product such as Oracle IPM software the temptation arises to develop a new front end to feed an existing software solution the client may have in place. The IPM product has a GUI which allows easy rule based routing, e-mail notification, trigger events and others with no programming skill required. The solution does allow for considerable development to take place as well, which is where the temptation to over develop can occur.

The workflow is powerful in aiding the processing of incoming content, be it Web based forms submitted or scanned documents, and it provides the tools to facilitate data entry.  Its ability to create custom forms allows for data entry to occur solely within the IPM platform. Care should be exercised though, since it should never be the goal to simply substitute an existing data entry method with a new face. This leads usually to excessive coding of the workflow form in trying to mimic all the functions and rules of the existing product, creating a bond between the two products which will require more effort in the future when the platforms undergo upgrades.

In many instances the workflow will be at its best when it is used as a simple delivery mechanism for the content, this will give the organization the advantages of an electronic workflow and minimize if not eliminate the need for custom coding. In other instances there is a happy medium; usually this is when a separate mechanism such as Kofax KTM has been used to extract data or if the input mechanism is a web form where the data has been captured already. In these instances a Workflow form and a script event which subsequently uploads the data after review can be extremely efficient; again the caution needs to be made to not try to recreate an already existing program

The delineation between how much custom code is enough and how much custom code is too much can be tough to ascertain, but with experience and some common sense evaluation on how much gain is really being realized for the end users experience in processing a balance should be obtainable, cutting development costs and time to implement for your solutions.

Jeff Doyle
Sr. Systems Engineer
ImageSource, Inc.

 

 

Leveraging ECM Software APIs

System Engineers must to be able to choose from a menu of technologies in order to solve ECM business problems. While ECM software vendors often strive to provide a complete set of tools for any anticipated business challenge, in reality, technology advances almost always outpace product release cycles.

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), Extensible Markup Language (XML), and many other similar, and often interoperable, technologies have and are being developed in an effort to provide the ability to glue disparate systems together using  published, standards-based mechanisms. While extremely useful, these technologies suffer from some of the same issues as vendor software such versioning, bloat, vendor specificity, and so on.

As an engineer in the field, it’s critical to choose best-of-breed products that solve a core purpose extremely well, then extend the product with other current technologies until a complete solution emerges. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), whether COM, Web Service, or something else is what makes this extensibility possible. The most useful ECM products provide rich APIs and callable interfaces.

I’m currently finishing a project that uses Oracle’s Imaging and Process Management (OIPM) product. The customer’s version of OIPM targets Microsoft Visual Basic 6 .dlls for custom scripts, and Microsoft .NET 1.1 framework for web development. However, I wanted to target the 2.0 .NET framework for the process scripts, and the 3.5 SP1 framework for the web interface. The web interface solution in particular takes advantage of LINQ, XML data stores, implicitly typed variables, jQuery, and AJAX.

Fortunately, OIPM, while using a fairly old COM-based codebase itself, provides mechanisms that allow an engineer to retain the proven usefulness of OIPM image storage and workflow, but extend to .NET managed code for scripts and web development. The sum of the parts becomes a much more useful solution then if all development was restricted to a closed ECM system that did not provide APIs or was completely COM based.

If you wish to dig deeper, or need a solution, ImageSource  provides training, custom development, and field services for many of the popular ECM products.

Clint Lewis
Senior Systems Engineer
ImageSource, Inc.

 

 

Integrating Legacy Systems with ECM

I’ve been working on a project that required scraping values from an IBM Terminal Emulator and using them for updating indexes in an Oracle IPM imaging repository and was lucky enough to have the ILINX AIK tool to work with in accomplishing this task.

The first challenge was in dealing with the values that we were gathering from the Terminal Emulator Screen.  The way that the data was served to the terminal emulator was not parsed into separate values.  The AIK allowed us, through VB Script, to parse the data into a form that we could use.  Once the data was massaged into a usable form, we used the values to update indexes in Oracle IBPM.  The ILINX AIK natively comes with connections to Oracle IPM for searching.  However, updating index values on documents that already exist in the system can be a challenge.

To overcome this obstacle we used the ILINX AIK to map the data into an executable.  This option was used for performing the Oracle IPM Index updates, and we were able to accomplish this by mapping the data to an executable with the mapped index values as arguments, and having the executable perform the index updates.
Continue reading

Public Access to Records in Oracle UCM Can Make Web Sites Vulnerable

I was recently surprised to find a lot of companies running Oracle UCM systems that were exposed in a way that someone could hijack the website. We were looking for documents related to generic properties forms on the internet and quickly found 4 large government and corporate companies with systems left wide open with material relating to their websites. We logged on as a guest user and we could have deleted the web content or checked out the content and checked in new content giving us control of what is on their websites. I was able to get the emails of the contributors from the system and emailed them to let them know that they need to lock down their site. It was interesting that I never got a response from any of the people and that the web sites are still exposed. When mixing critical business content and public access you can’t take security and rights issues lightly. In this case, a simple checkbox can make the difference between fast access to important ECM records and becoming a victim of HTML theft.

1 8 9 10