westbrook_logo_2009.jpg
Another SharePoint integration! This time it comes from Westbrook Technologies (news, site) who have upgraded their web-based document management software with a number of features, including integration with SharePoint.

While the new federated search features that enable users to find and share documents in either the SharePoint or FortisBlue repository should be a big selling point, it is the SharePoint integrator that provides a web-part add on for viewing documents without having to install native applications on desktops that will really seal the deal.

FortisBlue In The Cloud

Launched at Westbrook’s Insight 2009 conference last year, FortisBlue is a cloud-ready document management system that captures, archives, searches, annotates, retrieves and safeguards paper and electronic documents.

Built on web services, it is designed to be compatible with other similar applications, and comes with full Unicode compliance as well as customization support for different languages.

Other features of include:

  • User interface has a tabbed view that allows for toggling between multiple documents
  • Scanners can access and apply Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Bar Code Recognition (BCR) templates
  • Built-in workflow automates business processes, including approvals, and helps organizations meet compliance requirements
  • Keyless data entry

For web-based users in general security is quickly becoming a top priority so FortisBlue also comes with comprehensive security settings that detect any changes or additions to networks and respond accordingly.

SharePoint Integration

On top of this Westbrook has added SharePoint integration, which given the upcoming release of SharePoint 2010 is probably not a bad idea, although it is not clear whether this new version of FortisBlue will work with SharePoint 2010 or not.

FortisBlue_SharePoint documents_2010.jpg

Viewing SharePoint documents from FortisBlue
 

That said it will considerably cut the costs of using SharePoint archiving, workflow and viewing capabilities for companies that are already using, or are looking to use SharePoint with its SharePoint Integrator Module (SIM) -- which is in keeping with the SMB market that FortisBlue was targeting in the first place.

FortisBlue viewer within SharePoint.jpg

FortisBlue viewer from within SharePoint to see documents

Additional Features

There are two other major enhancements with FortisBlue that are worth a look: FortisBlue ImageIt, FortisBlue FormIt.

  • FortisBlue ImageIt: Enables the integration of business applications with document repositories so that users can access documents in FortisBlue from business applications using the business application interface.
  • FortisBlue FormIt: Enables the creation of dynamic Web 2.0 forms using drag-and-drop functions. With customized or standardized templates, users can create multi page forms that can be saved directly into FortisBlue and shared with other users.

While Westbrook also offers two older, client-server document management products -- Fortis and FortisSE -- with SharePoint integration, FortisBlue is going to be getting all the attention in the coming weeks as users look for document management products that can be used with SharePoint .

Obviously it is not the only document management software that has been integrated with SharePoint as vendors busy themselves getting ready for the SharePoint 2010 release.

That said, when FortisBlue was launched it was developed for the SMB market and first time document management users in particular. Although pricing is not available on the Westbrook website, chances are that with this market and kind of user in mind it will be cheap enough and easy enough to use.