Alfresco is a very good product that has very good inbuilt features. At the same time, it is customizable and we can customize this product the way we want. Surf framework makes your work easy for customization.
With its content model feature, we can create our own content model with our own metadata.
There are other valuable features in this product such as the rules facility to automate documents and integrated Activiti BPM engine for workflows.
Improvements to My Organization:
We are a service-based company and are providing solutions for other organizations. In the other organizations where we provide this solution, their work is reduced in terms of maintaining documents and facilities like record management and automated workflow are even better.
Room for Improvement:
It is a very good product. As a developer, one of things that they can improve is their development environment. They are providing a Maven-based plugin for development but it is all a manual process that we have to do as compared to other open-source products like Liferay. The best part of Liferay is its development environment. Similarly like Liferay, if Alfresco will provide an Eclipse plugin, then it will be very easy for developers to work with it.
In regards to the customization that we are doing from the back-end, they should provide some features so non-technical people can also do some level of customization easily.
The reporting feature is not there in Alfresco by default. If we want to create some reports and show them in the dashboard, we have to create a custom module for that. This can also be improved.
Use of Solution:
I am using this for the past three to four years.
We did encounter some stability issues when there were many simultaneous requests on the server. At such a time, the server may go down but actually we avoided this by setting up JVM parameters.
We did not experience any scalability issues. We are actually following the Alfresco guide for the required resources.
Technical support comes with the Alfresco Enterprise Edition. If you are facing any problems, you have to raise a ticket and they are mostly positive to provide a solution for that.
However, generally we have worked with the Community Edition. When we had a problem, we found posts on the forums in regards to that issue and in most of the cases, we got a solution from there.
We are a service provider so for our organization we are not using Alfresco but we are providing the solution based on the Alfresco product. The organization to whom we are providing this solution are using Alfresco from the beginning only.
It is very easy to set up this product initially, since they provide you with a setup file along with two default options and a custom installation as well.
Cost and Licensing Advice:
In regards to the various Alfresco products that are available, the pricing and license options vary as below:
- Alfresco Two Edition
- Alfresco Community Edition - Freely Available
- Alfresco Enterprise Edition - Yearly License
The Enterprise Edition has more features than the Community Edition such as clustering, graphical workflow editor etc.
If you want to go with basic Alfresco features then you can use the Community Edition. However, if you want to use Alfresco on a larger scale, then the Enterprise Edition is preferable.
Other Solutions Considered:
We evaluated other products, namely Nuxeo that is an ECM tool but we found the Alfresco product to be better.
If you are looking for features such as storing your content centrally, an automatic version, content automation, record management, access from mobile/desktop/web, automatic metadata extraction from electronic documents then Alfresco is a good choice.
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are service providers. We are providing solutions for Alfresco implementation and we also provide support for our customers.