Oregon Department Taps Web-based Document Management Tool
By John Makulowich
With Internet access bringing IT departments and end users closer together, new approaches are needed to share the burden of posting and hosting the burgeoning amounts of information to intranets, extranets and the Internet.
A paradigm case is Oregon's Employment Department in Salem (www.emp.state.or.us/) and the Intra.doc! system from IntraNet Solutions Inc., Eden Prairie, Minn.
Bill Rickman, Internet administrator and Web master for the employment department, said the document problem he faced was the need to populate an internal Web site for staff with loads of information from procedural manuals, as well as lighten his burden of putting it all on the server.
"Authors would e-mail me the materials formatted in Word documents. I would take them, convert to [Adobe Acrobat's] PDF and build Web pages linking to each chapter. That was incredibly time-consuming, involving not just the process, for example, taking care of the HTML formatting changes that Word creates, but also the changes to the documents over time," said Rickman.
With Intra.doc!, the whole process was streamlined. Contributors now can take their Word documents, enter metadata information, such as title, scope, focus and keywords, into the system and have information on the intranet in minutes.
|"In the past, you had to drill through multiple menus to find what you were looking for. Now, the user just searches for the term to find the manual."|
- Bill Rickman, Oregon
Rickman said that in just 10 minutes, he was able to put on the server a 20-page document on emergency procedures.
The Intra.doc! product, a Web-based document management solution, basically eases the burden of publishing, revising and searching for information on intranets and extranets.
Rickman, whose department manages the state of Oregon's unemployment insurance system and offers job matching for employers and seekers, said he sees the possibility of putting this function and services on an extranet or the Internet using Intra.doc!
"What makes it feasible is the different levels of security in the system, for example, at the manager's level and in the personnel area," Rickman said. "We might put the system on for the public to handle job announcements, which generate the most traffic."
Rickman noted there are about 7,000 job openings from employers throughout the state of Oregon, including news bulletins and seminar announcements.
Bob Olson, president and CEO of IntraNet Solutions, said the government market was not the original target of opportunity.
The systems integration company, started in 1990, focused on the World Wide Web in 1995 and introduced its Intra.doc! system late last year.
"We just happened to uncover the government market. We came in knowing that the business problem of putting information on intranets efficiently was pretty broad. After all, 85 percent of data in organizations is contained in documents," said Olson.
Olson said health care is another interesting vertical market alongside state and local government.
Both are document-intensive markets where a small base of contributors is creating documents for consumption by relatively large groups.
In the case of Oregon's Employment Department, Intra.doc! was selected for its ease of use and implementation, its cost effectiveness and its method of reducing the time to publish and provide access to information, such as policy and service manuals, program reports, forms and publications.
|"We came in knowing that the business problem of putting information on intranets efficiently was pretty broad."|
Bob Olson, Intranet Solutions
In some cases, employees have been able to publish manuals online in 30 minutes versus 30 days using the previous method.
The employment department also plans to use the product on its extranet to let the public access unemployment insurance forms and job listings.
Other government sites using Intra.doc! include San Mateo and Tulare counties in California and Minnesota's Department of Transportation.
The system offers a Java server-based architecture, security, browser-based remote administration and work flow pages.
Designed specifically for the Web, Intra.doc! allows companies to build secure business libraries with check in and checkout, revision control and automated publishing in Web formats.
Users can view documents in their original formats through Adobe's PDF technology. The system generates hypertext links to content, provides a full-text index of the Web site and allows simultaneous access to multiple server repositories.
For Oregon's Rickman, one of the nicer features is the ability to search for documents.
"We have several policy or procedure manuals on the intranet. In the past, you had to drill through multiple menus to find what you were looking for," he said. "Now, the user just searches for the term to find the manual."
Asked if he now intended to go more strongly after government work, IntraNet's Olson said there is so much low-hanging fruit in the commercial arena that government is still not a primary market.
Olson said IntraNet just received a contract from the Navy, but he could not reveal any details.
The next stop for IntraNet may be data warehousing. Olson said he has talked with data warehousing companies about unstructured data, which he considers a key focus for his system.