Would you be willing to express your opinion on IFS Document Managament here in the Community?


Userlevel 7
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Hi all Docman fans,

I work at IFS R&D with the IFS Document Management (aka “Docman”) functionality.

Sometimes we need input from customers (“Do they use X? How? Why? When? Would they like Y?”) and the only way we have is to ask our consultant colleagues.

I am thinking about trying to use IFS Community for this as well to get feedback from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

This post is just to hear how big of an audience we have here.

If you are a regular user here and/or would like to participate in polls, questions etc from us, please like this post or, even better, add a comment below.

Thanks!

/Mathias

PS. And also, if you are interested in Docman, make sure to subscribe to this part of the community.

 


31 replies

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Subscribed 😀.

Userlevel 1
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Definitely interested. Subscribed as mentioned.

 

We are looking to increase our exposure to DocMan in tandem with Change Management in the next calendar year.


Kind Regards,

Alex

Userlevel 7
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I have noticed some repeating issues over the years at multiple of customers.

  • Purchase Order - Attached documents like specific technical documents, General Terms and conditions. 
    Customers want to send these documents in the Event PDF_REPORT_CREATED, but it has to be a modification or configuration to include the attached documents. It would be a great solution to have a generic variable in this Event for Document references of the printout object (Purchase order, Customer order, Work Order etc)
  • The original is fetched over Internet, today one need to check in a hyperlink where a shortcut file in the OS is created and then check in the file. It would be very helpful to set the original as a hyperlink instant on the Metadata of the document.
  • Let connected object follow the process, a configuration window where one may setup a workflow, example in service order. The Connected object is attached in the technician portal, and this document attachment should flow to the work task, sales transaction, invoice preview and customer order.   This has to be setup with multiple Custom Events today (App 10). A simpler way to initiate the workflow would be appreciated.

Hi, thanks for posting here. Those sounds like separate topics that would benefit from having posts of their own. This post you are replying to is about something else :-) (check the top comment from me)

If you have a request/idea you can also file that in the Idea section here on Community.

Thanks!

 

 

Userlevel 2
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I have noticed some repeating issues over the years at multiple of customers.

  • Purchase Order - Attached documents like specific technical documents, General Terms and conditions. 
    Customers want to send these documents in the Event PDF_REPORT_CREATED, but it has to be a modification or configuration to include the attached documents. It would be a great solution to have a generic variable in this Event for Document references of the printout object (Purchase order, Customer order, Work Order etc)
  • The original is fetched over Internet, today one need to check in a hyperlink where a shortcut file in the OS is created and then check in the file. It would be very helpful to set the original as a hyperlink instant on the Metadata of the document.
  • Let connected object follow the process, a configuration window where one may setup a workflow, example in service order. The Connected object is attached in the technician portal, and this document attachment should flow to the work task, sales transaction, invoice preview and customer order.   This has to be setup with multiple Custom Events today (App 10). A simpler way to initiate the workflow would be appreciated.

 

 

Userlevel 7
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Hi @Mathias Dahl 

Has anyone else had problems with checking in / reading files from IFS Docman when One Drive has been selected as the check-out directory?

Let us discuss in a separate post.

Thanks!

 

Userlevel 2
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Hi @Mathias Dahl 

Has anyone else had problems with checking in / reading files from IFS Docman when One Drive has been selected as the check-out directory?

Userlevel 7
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@eqbstal Could we discuss those points in a separate post?

 

Userlevel 6
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@Mathias Dahl  I'm interested in DocMan from both a consulant but also from a solution architecture point of view.

Most the customers I work with us DocMan. A couple of them for several years now. Some of them have troubles with the use of a document class. They think of to many at start and after some years think that they should decrease the number of them. Although you've said it and the consultants I know also as an advice, try to keep the number of document classes low, but the customer always ‘wins’ as it is their environment. As far as I know there is no Find/Replace option to make a document class redundant (no documents connected anymore, so can be removed).

With new technology all over the place and collaboration being one of the items heavily comming along, one of the new customers want to work in a document with multiple persons at the same time. Checking out and in is to much of a hassle for them. 6 Months ago you mentioned something about this, in this thread, I'm currious if something happened in that area.

Regards,

Steve

Userlevel 1
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Hi @Mathias Dahl

Thanks for your prompt reply, as always.

Yes, I’m aware we can items as customizations. Our needs are often different than what standard can cover,  and changing faster and more dynamically than what is suitable for customizations, though I’m sure we could have closed some gaps.

My suggestion for SQL code was not to define the EDM storage, but to chose which of the already defined to use. An option I’ve heard many asking for, and that could work great for us as well, would have been separate database(s) to store documents, so that the rest of IFS could have been backed up/copied/restored much faster.

I don’t know the BPA (don’t think it’s available on App 10 that we have to use), but at first glance it seems to be a brilliant function that I look very much forward to get!

Kind regards, Bjørn

Userlevel 7
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@BjornH 

About this:

By dynamic access I mean e.g. through object connections, where access for document file is turned on and off depending on access to object. Ideally we should have been able to write our own SQL code here, which would take the access control to a totally new level, and for many companies reduce number of document classes they have today.

Such a feature is already in place since a few releases back. We call it object-controlled document access and you can read about it in the documentation about how document access works:

https://docs.ifs.com/ifsclouddocs/21r2/CreateAndMaintainDocument/AboutDocumentAccess.htm?StandAlone=true

On the page, search for “Object Controlled Access”.

Perhaps you did know about it and your problem is that you do not want to create the necessary “access check method”? It is, for sure, a customization, although very small and should not cause any problems in upgrades.

Issues with file storage is that DB is getting to large when all documents are stored in DB. Currently FTP and Share locations both miss possibilities of storage selection except Document Class. For us better control is a requirement based on replication to offshore units that must be sorted other ways if not in DB. As you can guess, I would again love possibility to enter a custom SQL query to decide location, as I don’t see it possible for you to span all customer requirements in any other way.

I have been thinking if we could/should make that more flexible. It’s a bit of a “no no”, or at least we should think very hard before we add a configuration option that allows users to write custom SQL. IFS is trying to move away from such “low level” configuration options, I think. They are problematic both from a security point of view and also from the point of view that an SQL database might not be our primary data source in the future...

One option here is to let the new BPA/Workflow engine be part of things like this. I think it can already affect flows and modify what the client sends to the server, but I think it could not “override” what you would want here, which is the repository selection. But perhaps we can do something to make that possible? Then you can write code in the workflow to control this.

Thanks for the comments!

 

Userlevel 1
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Hi Bjørn,

Thanks for your input. I agree on much of the above. There have not been any revolutionary changes to Docman for some time now. Still, we're tweaking it, slowly and have recently done a huge platform change where we had to rewrite our whole file handling back-end and invent that Aurena Agent thing. Not a small feat, let me tell you that. From a functional standpoint however, things are pretty much the same...

I agree that the object connections are one of the strongest points that we have. And it's a generally capable DMS that supports a full spectrum of use cases, from very light use (users who only see the attachment panel) to advanced use of all sorts of crazy features we have in there.

And yes, we have got quite a bit of questions about "collaboration" and how Docman can support project work with external parties. We're currently thinking if and how we could leverage MS Teams for this, in some way, and SharePoint. Another option is to extend our B2B offering in some way. We also want to add in some sort of support for external digital signatures (think: DocuSign).

When we have something ready in these areas, I'm sure you will hear about it :)

I have a few questions on the above:

Dynamic access it another example were functionality i lacking, though here it has been some development.

Can you elaborate on what this means? Is it about "external access" for collaboration, or is it about Docman's access rights? Or something else?

I know many also struggles with storage

Could you elaborate a bit on what this means, too?

In IFS Cloud 21R2 we have released IFS Cloud File Storage, a new file storage service which Docman uses as a new repository type. By using that, in this first release, you get access to Azure Blob Storage. I have a vague feeling that is not something you would be able to leverage though...

Thanks!
 

Hi Mathias.

I like your ideas of extending using Sharepoint and B2B, DocuSign similar support could also be good!

 

By dynamic access I mean e.g. through object connections, where access for document file is turned on and off depending on access to object. Ideally we should have been able to write our own SQL code here, which would take the access control to a totally new level, and for many companies reduce number of document classes they have today.

 

Issues with file storage is that DB is getting to large when all documents are stored in DB. Currently FTP and Share locations both miss possibilities of storage selection except Document Class. For us better control is a requirement based on replication to offshore units that must be sorted other ways if not in DB. As you can guess, I would again love possibility to enter a custom SQL query to decide location, as I don’t see it possible for you to span all customer requirements in any other way.

 

Kind regards,

Bjørn

PS, don’t be afraid to give me a call if you would like a deeper discussion or more details on how we are solving it. I can share more directly to you than to the general public. 

Userlevel 7
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Hehe, thanks! :)

Whenever you have a question, just follow the link below and then create Start a new topic at the top of the page:

https://community.ifs.com/document-management-docman-248

 

Userlevel 3
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Hi @Mathias Dahl 

I’ll do that. I came across your post after having just discussed those two topics with a colleague, so I couldn’t resist to ask :) 

Thanks for your reply! Consider this an elaborate like :)

BR Kristian

Userlevel 7
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@TERKRTI 

Hi Kristian,

This post is not really about questions and comments about Docman. It’s purpose was to check if IFS Community would be a good place to ask customers like you questions :)

I will reply to your questions, but the next time it would be great if you could just post a new question in this forum.

Does IFS have any plans to support more detailed control of document placement in IFS document management? Today, a file location can be set by document class, but implementing further control to keep documents in selected locations based on user/user location/user company could help compliance towards various legal requirements (EAR, ITAR, GDPR).

There are no such plans at the moment, no. You can create an idea for that in the ideas section of IFS Community if you like. Right now, in IFS Cloud 22R1, we have the same options as before, plus support for the new IFS Cloud File Storage service which allows us, to begin with, to store documents in Azure Storage. That is probably not for you though, since I suspect you rather want “local” storage (which will come as an option later on).

Going forward we want to get rid of the existing document repository concept in Docman and let IFS Cloud File Storage handle it all. If and when we do that, my view is that it needs to be at least as configurable as the Docman repo concept is today. Your question above is very valuable when discussing that.

In Document Basic->History Settings we could wish to be able to track who has opened a file.

You can already do this, since several releases back :) Read up and the File Operation log (which also exists as a form) and/or SOX/Sarbanes Oxley support in the documentation and you will see what it is about.

/Mathias

 

Userlevel 3
Badge +8

Hi

Couple of Apps10 points here: 

Does IFS have any plans to support more detailed control of document placement in IFS document management? Today, a file location can be set by document class, but implementing further control to keep documents in selected locations based on user/user location/user company could help compliance towards various legal requirements (EAR, ITAR, GDPR).

In Document Basic->History Settings we could wish to be able to track who has opened a file. Enabling more settings to apply per Document class would be very nice-

/Kristian

Userlevel 7
Badge +20

Hi Bjørn,

Thanks for your input. I agree on much of the above. There have not been any revolutionary changes to Docman for some time now. Still, we're tweaking it, slowly and have recently done a huge platform change where we had to rewrite our whole file handling back-end and invent that Aurena Agent thing. Not a small feat, let me tell you that. From a functional standpoint however, things are pretty much the same...

I agree that the object connections are one of the strongest points that we have. And it's a generally capable DMS that supports a full spectrum of use cases, from very light use (users who only see the attachment panel) to advanced use of all sorts of crazy features we have in there.

And yes, we have got quite a bit of questions about "collaboration" and how Docman can support project work with external parties. We're currently thinking if and how we could leverage MS Teams for this, in some way, and SharePoint. Another option is to extend our B2B offering in some way. We also want to add in some sort of support for external digital signatures (think: DocuSign).

When we have something ready in these areas, I'm sure you will hear about it :)

I have a few questions on the above:

Dynamic access it another example were functionality i lacking, though here it has been some development.

Can you elaborate on what this means? Is it about "external access" for collaboration, or is it about Docman's access rights? Or something else?

I know many also struggles with storage

Could you elaborate a bit on what this means, too?

In IFS Cloud 21R2 we have released IFS Cloud File Storage, a new file storage service which Docman uses as a new repository type. By using that, in this first release, you get access to Azure Blob Storage. I have a vague feeling that is not something you would be able to leverage though...

Thanks!
 

Userlevel 1
Badge +2

Hi @Mathias Dahl

I love the DocMan module in IFS, main benefit being how well it connects to all objects on so many different levels. The foundation is really strong, but still it’s losing out to other Document management systems, and are for many companies more begin used as a document storage systems instead of in projects and similar situations with many documents needing full work-flows internally/externally.

It has been limited new functionality added since I started in IFS back in 2007, e.g. lacking support for external access (and simultaneous editing) in projects where the large amount of documents are coming in for many industries. Dynamic access it another example were functionality i lacking, though here it has been some development.

Other automations, like attaching reports, can be set up using custom events and/or RMB options. Guess you are not surprised to hear that we have a couple of them. One example are on POCO (Purchase Order Change Order) process, to improve information flow for approvers.

I know many also struggles with storage, and us in Oil&Gas industry also some challenges on replication side, but here we are doing some principle changes “outside the box”, get in direct touch with me if you want to hear more about it.

Kind regards, Bjørn

Userlevel 7
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Thanks @Albibr We should talk, internally :)

 

Userlevel 2
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Hi,

I'm working with IFS's versions from 2003 to 10 now, for me, everything related to document, I truly recommend IFS Docman.

 

I've made some improvements to a customer of mine:

1 - From Quick Reports ( Crystal Reports ) you can generate a PDF and store in Docman ( On demand )

2 - From Docman you can Sign the document using Docusign

3 - Integration with Sharepoint.

That's a great tool to use in IFS.

 

/Alexandre Bicalho.

Userlevel 1
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Hi Mathias,

I have already liked the original post but  now also adding a comment - Great initiative, I am interested! 👍

Userlevel 5
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Hi Mathias, 

Great, I am interested :relaxed:

/Amila

Userlevel 3
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Hello Mathias,

 

not sure if it is a Docman topic as I am relatively new to the IFS universe but maybe this might be an interesting topic: I am guessing that most Customers using IFS in some way or form purchase things from suppliers for which at some point in time they will receive an invoice.

Yes, e-invoicing is progressing and gaining popularity but a lot of invoices will continue to be delivered in a PDF-Format. The usual path I assume most companies will take is to use an OCR-Software or more modern Form recognition software, connect it via API or whatnot and then have the documents and their respective data mapped in IFS.

Since I assume that nearly 100% of companies using IFS have this, maybe an OOTB, configurable OCR/Formrecognition functionality or integration for this or similar processes in DOCMANwould be welcome?

 

Regards

Christian

Userlevel 2
Badge +3

Hi Mathias,

 

I am currently implementing IFS for the first time.I have a question about the IFS/SharePoint interface.  I have been told that the standard IFS/SharePoint interface does not work if SharePoint is hosted on the cloud (only if SharePoint is hosted natively).  So we are looking at having to build our own interface.

Do you have any advice?  Have any of members of the community already built an open source version of an interface between IFS and SharePoint Cloud?

Userlevel 7
Badge +20

Thanks for the background info. I am personally not working in the AI/ML area, but I know others are doing cool things there. In the absence of tags (something I have been thinking about), you can use document folders as a way to categorize documents, if the free description fields, document class and format is not enough for you. Another option is to keep documents under dummy parent documents acting as the tags or categories.

If you want to discuss this more, a specific thread here about that would be better.

Thanks!

 

Badge +2

@Mathias Dahl Thank you for your response. Some context for my comment - Our organization is looking for ways to automate our AP process, so my thoughts around AI/ML - as well as tags and metadata - stem from that. Specifically using smart OCR to screen scrape and organize receiving documents and invoices from suppliers in a way that allows for extensive searchability.

I hope that helps. I look forward to hearing more about what you have in store for us.

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