New features added to the document management software from Swedish lifecycle management vendor IFS will simplify the use of a system that was initially designed to manage mass documentation associated with large-scale business projects.

Developed in consultation with some of its existing customers, the extended features will improve document navigation, visualization and security, as well as offer users full integration with Microsoft Office.

Combined with existing features, IFS says their document management system improves the capture and management of project and enterprise information by enabling a user to access required documents from an enterprise resource planning repository and add them to relevant workflows.

IFS_Personal Portal.jpg
IFS Personal Portal

Microsoft Office Integration

This is the first time that the IFS document management system offers full integration with Microsoft office programs and enables users working in Office programs to check documents into the system directly from the program with a simple click.

It also ensures that only documents relevant to what users are working on, or their working priorities, are presented in the document portal view with the rest automatically removed from sight. The result is that users can find the documents they need within seconds -- IFS says.

New security arrangement based on connecting all project data means that document security can be governed at a project level, with security protocols applied to all documents related to a particular project across the enterprise.

Simple Document Management?

While a lot has been made about simple content management systems, simple is not something that is normally associated with document management systems.

However, if there was a subset of DM systems that might be called simple -- and simple is not necessarily small -- then IFS’s software might well fit into that category.

And not by accident. The IFS DM was designed to simplify as many of the stages of a document’s lifecycle as possible with document status assigned to reflects the stage within their life cycle: preliminary, approved, released or obsolete.

While many processes are carried out automatically, others can be done manually to give users as much control over those processes as possible, while the documents themselves can all be handled in their native format dispensing with annoying and often clumsy conversion processes.

IFS Interfaces

However it is with the interfaces that the really ‘simple’ nature of ISF DMS becomes apparent. That’s because there is not one, not two, but three different kinds of interfaces depending on user tasks:

  • Windows-based interface: Designed for advanced users, it has more functionality than they others with check-in, check-out and approval functions as well as an archive creation function.
  • Web-based interface: Offers similar advanced functionality, it also has many browser features that can bookmark a project document or documents, add to favourites and add a link to the documents in user’s personal portal. It also allows for intranet publishing.
  • Desktop interface: Designed as an entry-level interface its basic functionality allows for basic tasks like viewing or printing.

IFS serves companies that deliver projects, service assets and engineer-to-order or contract manufacturing -- companies that need IT, but don’t want to spend a lot of time ‘doing IT’. The extension of their document management component and the simplification of processes should make their target customer base happy in this regard.