More attractive than SharePoint – Alfresco Share for small and medium enterprises

by Cindy Guignard | September 20, 2013 10:00 am

Small and medium enterprises often only require simple functionalities for document management. Alfresco Share is an easy and attractive solution.

Finox, a biotechnology company located in Burgdorf (Switzerland), previously managed its documents through a file system on a leased IT infrastructure. This solution wasn’t adequate: everyone could drop off documents, copy or work on them, but at the end no one knew which document version was current. In biotechnology, having structure and standards for managing documents is part of the certification process; Finox had to find a better solution.

Finox was looking for a software solution that would allow them to effectively manage documents with a clear, systematic version control process. An evaluation of Microsoft SharePoint and Alfresco Share was completed to compare the two solutions, specifically their functionalities and costs.

More attractive than SharePoint

It was found that SharePoint might be hard to finance for a small enterprise such as Finox, without proper IT competences. Hosting and support costs would be 3,000 to 5,000 Swiss francs per month. In contrast, Finox’s monthly cost with Alfresco Share would be approximately 1,000 Swiss francs for hosting and support. Moreover, Finox uses a Community Version, which meant there would be no licensing fees for Alfresco. With SharePoint, the annual licensing cost would be approximately 900 Swiss francs for each workplace. After comparing the two products, Alfresco Share was chosen by Finox as their document management solution due to its lower cost and ease of implementation.

A new freedom for users: do-it yourself

Finox was looking for an efficient document management solution with a clear system for version control, and Alfresco Share answered this major requirement. With Alfresco, high volume of emails with attachments and heavy content could be avoided through workflows. The number of unnecessary or irrelevant documents is reduced because documents can no longer simply be dropped off anywhere; instead, users have to check them out and in. This also ensures accountability and provides workflow management.

Alfresco also provided a standard message board by default. Although Finox would have preferred a more sophisticated one, with categories and priority options, they appreciated the fact that this element was included. A more complex message board could, of course, be implemented even though it does not come with the standard version.

For better data protection, not only does Alfresco Share request a username and a password to log in, but it also requires a 4-digit code provided on a cross-off list on a separate card. This security card containing dozens of codes can be created by the system administrator of Finox with a simple button click, due to a module NXC implemented.

“IT should not be an obstacle, but a help tool,” said Anjan Selz, CEO of Finox. He appreciates the ability to create sites himself so that he can set up a platform where documents can be dropped off. With most other products, calling on the system administrator is required for such tasks. With Alfresco Share, employees can complete tasks without needing external support.

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