Documentum, Alfresco and Email Integration for ECM

Two current clients are adding significant inbound and outbound email capabilities for their Document Management systems.  To start with, this is not an email archiving solution where they want to capture all emails for later retrieval.  One, a Documentum insurance customer, is looking to add the ability when looking at a document to easily email the document out of the system, and capture the email and audit trail activity in the related claims or policy folder.  The other customer, an Alfreso manufacturing customer, is looking for similar functionality associated with project folders.  For this post, we will share some of the details as well as preview functionality in the upcoming release of HPI and OpenInterchange.

Email and Intelligent Folder Processing

One common characteristic of both clients is the desire to work “at the folder level”.  For most Documentum Webtop customers, this is difficult as users can create ad-hoc folders and customizing Webtop to add intelligence to certain folders can be complex.  HPI, originally built for an insurance client, was designed with folder processing in mind.  For example, when a user is viewing a document and selects “email document”, the application will:

  • Append specific attributes to the Subject or Body of the email (ex: Policy, Claim, Project #)
  • Store the email in the folder along with a link to the document
  • Store an Audit Trial entry in the folder audit trail that an email was sent

The application also allows for an email to be sent without any document attachments from the folder with the same email storage and audit trail entry.

Why not just use Outlook?

Both clients spent some time considering through the option of “just using Outlook”.  A couple of common issues with Outlook included:

  • Composing the Email – The process of saving the file from the ECM system, attaching to the email and then sending was viewed as difficult to explain/train even after some tweaks to make it easier.  Also, one client desired the ability to drop in standard messages as templates for the email that included folder/document attributes.
  • Sent – both clients liked the idea that outbound emails existed in the system automatically and not in a user’s sent folder.  Copying/Moving the sent items to the folder later was a two-step process and the extra time required and risk of forgetting were two concerns.
  • Address Book – One item of concern was accessing the clients personal address book in Outlook.  Accessing Outlook addresses from the application is a potential enhancement, however, the rather innovative work around was to provide a sub-address book for each folder that automatically captured inbound and outbound email addresses for any emails in the folder.  For the insurance client, particularly with claims, this was seen as superior as their personal address book was “overloaded” and they really just wanted a subset of addresses associated with a claim.

Inbound Email

Both clients have some unique means to capture inbound emails.

  • Open Interchange – The manufacturing client is using OpenInterchange from TSG.  Rather than direct tie to the email system (Outlook, POP3…), Open Interchange relies on the “Forward” button – see related post here .
  • Outlook Drag and Drop – The insurance client already has a pretty slick way to capture emails from the desktop via drag and drop (this is not the Documentum Client for Outlook).  The client is updating his code via OpenContent to store these emails in Documentum.

Look for a release to HPI in a month or so (along with screencams).  If you would like to see the beta, please contact us.

One thought on “Documentum, Alfresco and Email Integration for ECM

  1. This is a very interesting idea. I wonder if the same solution can be handled with eDiscovery and/or Hold Notifications for a Legal operation?

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