Alfresco CMS DMS Plone Sharepoint

Is it a CMS or is it a DMS

Since my last post where I mentioned that I am looking in the document management field I began to explore other thoughts. Specifically, whether small businesses could use a beefed up CMS (Content Management System) rather than a full blown DMS (Document you guess the rest).

Its my thought that certain systems like Drupal, Plone, dotCMS that have document management modules and collaboration and extension facilities could be used as poor man’s document management system. It wouldn’t have all the bells a whistles like digital signatures, records management with proper archival and other facilities in most of these systems. But, hopefully, such systems could be upgraded to a full DMS if needed. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

There’s always the big bully boy Sharepoint. The WSS seems very bare-bones but right off the bat it makes for very simple document storage. The only hitch being that everything needs to be written in .Net and it requires specialized hosting. I’m going to concentrate on Sharepoint but only so far as application construction is concerned. I reckon that any company well off enough to afford sharepoint and the licencing can afford their own IT department to support it. I’ll be investigating Sharepoint more as time goes on. I’ll be playing with from the point of a small application which I feel is much needed for legal firms. At least it will fill my time while I wait for my next job.

There are the Open Source alternatives – some would call them preferatives (is that a word?). Nuexo, Alfresco, Knowledge Tree – the ECM systems. Built from the ground up a collaborative document management systems. I like these systems, but in terms of price and features. Any of these can be had for free. My company model would be install and support these system on my own with my own support contract with my clients. I would, of course, build in my own bits to hand to my clients only. Oh the wonder of the GPL.

I’m continueing to ponder this. I’m sure after watching some demos I’ll get convinced one way or the other. I do notice that it is a lot simpler to host PHP and MySQL based products than Zope (Plone) or Java products. Should I care if the system will be hosted on the client’s own machines or on a dedicated server? hmmmm….