DCNS’s IS department first mandated an architect firm to conduct a benchmark study of several possible solutions, including Hyland's Alfresco platform.
DCNS tested the community version of Alfresco platform, and users provided positive feedback, confirming that it was the best solution for the company. Open source, standards-compliant solutions such as Alfresco platform are consistent with DCNS’s vision of a future-proof platform, and the fact that many other organizations have chosen the platform reassured DCNS that the technology is here to stay.
“We sensed from the beginning that users were going to like the solution, especially because we decided to use agile methods for the project,” said Olivier Bonturi, the collaboration, innovation and security team manager of DCNS’s IT department.
The architecture comprises a single Alfresco platform installation, which serves as a foundation upon which various modules are developed to meet specific collaboration and document management requirements. The modules correspond to well-defined spaces, which users access according to their rights.
This modular approach implies that only one solution be installed and maintained, and the licenses, maintenance and necessary skills are all streamlined.
DCNS used the agile method to develop the first two modules of the new platform, and IT services provider Sopra continued to use the method to develop the remaining components. DCNS and Sopra customized the platform’s features to meet DCNS’s needs and then fine-tuned the platform according to user feedback from a 10-person pilot program.
At each stage of development, Sopra solicited feedback from users, which was used to improve the next version.
“Working with the agile method allowed us to meet users within the various business units. This permitted us to ensure that the project was going in the right direction and to see how eagerly anticipated the new application was,” Orain said.
Once the group validated the pilot, it deployed the platform to other departments and sites within the company. User training on the new platform consisted of self-service mini-tutorials on DCNS’s intranet. Training requirements remained simple because the Alfresco Share interface is easy to use.
Now, each application component corresponds to specific requirements and categories of users:
- A set of collaborative spaces, Workeo, allows users to share information and draft new documents.
- Once a document is validated through a workflow, a bridge allows the document to be published in the reference library application component, Dokeo.
- Portlets allow users to display content in the community portal, Intraneo, which is based on Liferay.
- A media catalog, Iconeo, gathers all media that the communications department validates.
- The IT department uses an administration module, Governance, to manage the platform.
Upon user request, the IT department can set up new collaborative spaces in Workeo. Within these spaces, users are fully autonomous and can decide whom to invite to join the project.
Today, the platform contains 900 active spaces, and users request the creation of between five and 10 new spaces every week. Dokeo contains 20,000 documents available to 3,000 to 4,000 regular users, with a total of 10,000 visits per month.