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Please advise on Alfresco best practice?

Question asked by pawel.pohl on Dec 8, 2009
Latest reply on Dec 9, 2009 by mikeh
Warning: long post  8)

Dear Alfresco crowd,

First, thank you for creating this impressive piece of software.

I am looking for a very easy to use and low-maintenance solution for my company's marketing material approval process.

I've been playing around with Alfresco and so far it seems like a very fitting choice, but I would like to ask for recommendations on how to configure it for this project. I've only used it for two days and I'm sure I'm ignorant of best practices.



First, our requirements:

1. Simple workflow: representatives can upload their marketing materials to one space (preferably by network share or email), branding guys get an email with a notification, view the resource, approve/reject or start a discussion. Approved stuff somehow becomes approved permanently, either by being copied to a read-only folder or by getting some read-only tag. Either way it's "frozen" and can't be modified, and can be easily distinguished from the rest (all approved content can be browsed somehow). Reps get an email saying their stuff is OK to go to print or wherever.

2. Minimizing effort by reps (end users) is absolute priority, every screen users need to click through increases the probability the system will go unused. Reps are overseas so no face-to-face training.

3. Avoiding heavy customization



OK so now the questions (and thanks for reading so far, btw):

A. Explorer or Share? Or another client?
There  seems to be an unnecessary duality here, contradicting the brilliant simplicity that first impressed me about Alfresco. I know that I shouldn't interfere with Share sites from Explorer, but, at the same time, features like rules are missing from Share. On the other hand, Share has some features (Flash preview, easier access to comments and lots of other usability advantages) that are very valuable. It seems that there is one front-end that is scheduled for deprecation, while the other is not nearly mature yet. It's not an option for the reps to have to use two clients (too much confusion…), which one should I go with?

B. If Share, is there a *reliable* way to get the automatic workflow assignment and inbound mail functionality? Also, is there a way to set a site to be a users home page, so that the first thing they see is the site dashboard and not their own? The process of finding the site seems really difficult, not to mention that you actually have to explain what sites are (since in my use case I want the site to be a singleton anyway). Is there any way to crop down Share interface to bare minimum?

C. If Explorer, will there be an easy transition to Share once it matures? Is there some way to make discussions more visible in Explorer?

D. If third-party, then which one? I tried DoCASU, and the interface was very neat - but again, no discussions, limited previews.




Big thanks to anyone who tries to answer!

Best

Pawel

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