Alfresco is frequently used as a repository for third-party or custom solutions. Alfresco is the leading open source content management repository providing a rich set of APIs and protocols for integration. As an open architecture, Alfresco makes it easy for vendors and System Integrators to leverage the platform to manage all types of digital assets from office documents to rich media files. As such, the ArkCase team has primarily focused on leveraging Alfresco to provide document and records management within its open source case management offering.
ArkCase aims to provide a loosely coupled event-based microservices architecture that leverages best of breed open source technologies to create low-code case management and IT modernization platform. As such, we do not want to re-invent the wheel to meet customer requirements. We’ve frequently been asked to support the following requirements in our FOIA, public records, legal case management, and correspondence management solutions:
- Offline processing of case records
- Drag and drop from Microsoft Outlook into a case
- Seamless integration with records management for information governance
- Portal integration (i.e. custom portals for each user persona)
- Mobile access to case information (i.e. native mobile app)
- Microsoft Office integration
These are easy to understand requirements and we clearly understand the value of such requirements. However, it would take thousands of hours of development and maintenance to support these requirements if the ArkCase team wanted to build the capabilities within custom ArkCase components. There is a better solution – maximize the investment in Alfresco.
Why are ArkCase and Alfresco the Better Solution for Case Management?
ArkCase provides an elegant case management solution that uses Alfresco as the repository to provide document and records management for information governance. For most solutions that leverage Alfresco, they read and write to the repository using CMIS or Alfresco’s native APIs. This is great if you are only using the solution (i.e., ArkCase or Appian or Pega) as the client. What if ArkCase was aware of changes within the Alfresco repository – meaning, what if ArkCase supported bi-directional synchronization with Alfresco? This would allow users to take advantage of the various Alfresco offerings allowing them to meet their requirements and maximize their investment in Alfresco. For instance:
- Alfresco Desktop Sync – allows the user to synchronize documents to their local machine and work on them offline
- Alfresco Outlook client – allows the user to drag and drop documents from Outlook into the repository
- Alfresco Development Framework (ADF) – allows for the creation of personalized portals
- Alfresco Mobile – allows the user to leverage a native mobile application to interact with the repository
Figure 1: Leverage ArkCase and Alfresco to exceed your requirements.
Since we have implemented the bi-directional sync with Alfresco, we allow organizations to take advantage of the entire Alfresco ecosystem of tools. The customer isn’t restricted to just using the ArkCase user interface to manage and consume their case information. ArkCase is aware of changes happening with Alfresco.
What’s Included in the Bi-directional Sync?
It’s easy to see why this provides tremendous value to customers looking for a holistic solution, but what’s included in the sync. Do we handle the security (i.e., ACLs) within Alfresco so users are only accessing the proper information within Alfresco? Yes, and much more.
- Folders – create, update, and deletion of folders
- Documents – create, update and deletion of documents
- Move – moving folders and documents
- Rename – rename folders and documents
- Security – user permissions are governed by ArkCase and synced with Alfresco. Alfresco does not support mandatory ACL (MACL). ArkCase and Alfresco fully sync group- and user-based discretionary access controls; however, ArkCase’s mandatory access control cannot be synced to Alfresco. MACL allows ArkCase to enforce mandatory exclusions regardless of the user’s group membership (i.e. John Doe cannot view an object although John Doe is part of a group that cans). This is supported within ArkCase to enforce mandatory exclusions incase John Doe is being investigated by his organization.
- Metadata – the primary object attributes (i.e., object name, object description)
Wrap It Up
In conclusion, the ArkCase team has implemented bi-directional synchronization with Alfresco based on customer demand. Our customers want to take full advantage of the Alfresco suite of tools – Alfresco Outlook client, Desktop Sync, ADF portals, etc. To allow this, ArkCase synced our security model within Alfresco to provide information governance to properly protect sensitive and classified information and we made ArkCase aware of changes within Alfresco so the experience for the user was seamless.
ArkCase also provides seamless integration with Alfresco Governance Services for records management. Based on events within ArkCase, documents are automatically declared as records and filed into the File Plan using the object’s metadata for record classification.
If you are looking for a low-code case management system or an open source case management system with document and records management (i.e., DOD 5015) support, contact us for a demo.