people speeding on a moving stairway
Alfresco wants to help businesses do things quickly with an agile platform. PHOTO: David Marcu

Alfresco, an open source enterprise content management and business process management vendor, is strengthening its digital transformation play with the release of a platform that helps enterprises quickly build new content, processes and governance apps.

Paul Hampton, senior director of product marketing at Maidenhead, UK-based Alfresco, said the Digital Business Platform (DBP) moves beyond what traditionally siloed BPM, ECM or vertical specific packaged applications provide. 

The DBP includes an Application Development Framework to speed app development. 

It also offers applications and processes that make it easier to access content where ever that content is stored.

Hampton said Alfresco has been updating core components based on insights and feedback from key partners, customers and analysts. 

“The changes that we implement here align with what all these different groups are seeing and what their customers are asking for," he said.

Responding To Change

The new platform addresses the long development cycles that often plague enterprises using proprietary enterprise content management or business process management systems, he said. 

For most businesses, Hampton said, long development cycles are no longer feasible. 

“The thing that has changed is the requirement to do things quickly and to offer an agile platform that you can change as the business changes,” Hampton said.

“If I look at it ten years ago, IT projects were 18 months long and business would define what they need and IT would go and develop that. Now that doesn’t work. Now you need to have the ability to build and get something out there rapidly and build apps that can be changed over time.”

To create better digital content experiences, Hampton said you need to:

  • Make information available: Enterprises need to enable workers access, use and share data and content with ease
  • Put it in context: Enterprises need to enable content find users, not the other way around
  • Integrate it: Enterprises need to be able to connect content to the processes and applications that need it
  • Evolve it: Easily adapt content to meeting changing business needs

DBP addresses these issues by providing a platform that is open, agile and allows for the rapid application development and iteration according to the needs of the enterprises, he said. These agile apps should enable the rapid flow of content in context and in highly governed environments. DBP, he said, is about providing agile content, process and governance services to enterprises.

Addressing Digital Transformation

John Newton, CTO and co-founder of Alfresco said in a statement, the DBP was "built from the ground up to help businesses accelerate digital transformation.” It provides:
  1. An open Application Development Framework: IT and non-technical business teams get an open source, low-code building blocks to consolidate technology and information into a single view. The framework connects departments, and automates tasks that computers can perform more securely than humans.
  2. Automation and integration of content, processes, governance: For example, an insurance company can securely automate the entire handling of an auto insurance claim, from the moment the customer call is received to the processing of the record with claim handlers and adjusters to auto shop reimbursement to timely customer notification throughout each step.
  3.  Amazon AWS optimized deployment: This includes Alfresco Quick Start. Hampton said that it is possible to have a production ready environment up and running in less than an hour and that Alfresco had a 150,000-seat deployment up and running in six weeks.

Hampton said that he expects partners and clients will start building on the DBP immediately, although existing customers will not be forced to move to the platform.