Data Management Via the Web

For years, organizations have been developing business processes to better handle and manage the collection, organization and dissemination of corporate information. Document management products can be the solution in making sense out of the mounds of information and knowledge within the enterprise. Intranet Solutions (Eden Prairie, Minn.) recently released version 3.0 of Intra.doc, a browser-based document management and publishing system. It enables organizations to manage document life cycles and expedite information exchange.

The Intra.doc Management System transforms data into Web-accessible knowledge content by enabling users to perform searches on a topic, capture the results dynamically and construct new Web pages on the fly. Users can then use these pages to share information across the enterprise -- intranet, extranet or the Internet. Every object in the system has its own URL address, making it easy to manage and control knowledge content anywhere in the organization. As users create, revise or move documents to the system, Intra.doc automatically tracks their revision histories and instantly updates hyperlinks.

The software allows users to view various document types in their original formats, and uses Adobe's PDF technology so that users do not have to run the original application in order to view the documents.

Intra.doc's Java-based architecture provides the capability of centralized administration of Web sites and supports JDBC. An essential feature is the product's e-mail-based workflow to control the process of releasing Web content. Intra.doc tracks the routing of a document before it publishes that document to the repository. During this process, an administrator can place control on who may check in and check out a document, as well as manage the review and approval procedure.

This release adds the functionality of three-tiered security to prevent unauthorized access to confidential information. Administrators can profile access to the system by user, group or role. Security can also be set to the document or page level, if required.

Intra.doc ships with a run-time version of Microsoft Access. It supports Microsoft SQL Server 6.5 on a Windows NT platform and Oracle database on a Sun Solaris. In addition to the Intra.doc Management System, two other tools are available to make up the Intra.doc product suite: the Intra.doc Legacy module, which scans and converts paper documents, making them available in Web-ready format; and the Intra.doc Order Management System, which allows users to view and order business documents online using customized order forms.

A company that had an immediate business need for document management was Hancock Rothert & Bunshoft LLP (HRB, San Francisco), an international law firm specializing in insurance litigation and dispute resolution. Rhonda Jenkins, director of technology development for HRB, needed to find a flexible document management system that could provide customized interfaces for each case, full-text search capabilities and automatic indexing. "Our goal was to move away from traditional methods of resource and information gathering, and provide our clients with a more efficient and cost-effective method of disseminating information," says Jenkins. "Our challenge in finding a document management system was that we required users in multiple offices to be on the same system accessing paperwork electronically. Intra.doc provides our counsel and clients with 24-hour-a-day access to casework 7 days a week, while significantly reducing the cost of operation. We had been looking for this type of Web-based solution for months."

With Intra.doc, the firm can set up a customized, centrally administered, secure electronic document repository for each case. Users can access, revise and store critical documents in any format at any time. HRB plans to make more than 1.5 million documents available on its corporate Intra.doc extranet this year. HRB also selected the Intra.doc Legacy module, which enables HRB to make legal documents with images available to users by scanning paper documents and automatically publishing them to an Intro.doc Web site. "Because we have international offices and clients, faxing and mailing realms of legal documents can be very expensive and time-consuming," adds Jenkins.