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Webinar Series: Insurance in 2016 – Process Efficiency and Data Security

As we move into 2016, many insurance organizations are looking to transition from their end-of-year strategic planning towards the achievement of their set goals. Whether property and casualty, life insurance, reinsurance, or any other type, top priorities are improving process efficiency to deliver measurable business results and enhancing data security to mitigate enterprise risk. But, how can you get there? Our three-part webinar series shows how leveraging automation technologies can deliver a rapid ROI in document processing and also provide your organization with our Universal Content Security. Each webinar is 30 minutes in length and includes a demonstration and specific customer examples.

Webinar 1: Automating Claims Processing 
See how a leading insurance provider revolutionized their business using Intelligent Document Capture and a modern, integrated ECM content hub.

Watch Now!

Webinar 2: Automating Contracts and AP 
Learn to automate common back office business processes —from contracts management to AP—with tools like Document Assembly and enterprise integration into ERP systems such as SAP or Microsoft Dynamics.

Watch Now!

Webinar 3: Addressing Cyber Security
Discover how the application of data security can be automated across the entire organization and extended to external collaboration tools from email to Dropbox.

Watch Now!

Zia Lightning Talks: Alfresco Email Templates

Zia conducts monthly, internal lightning talk sessions. These short, five-minutes presentations cover topics important to Zia, our partners, and the industry. We’ve decided to start sharing some of these useful presentations with you. This post covers the talk presented by Lucas Patingre, ECM Architect at Zia Consulting.

Despite some companies trying to shut down internal emails, they are still frequently used as a notification tool. Right out-of-the box, Alfresco gives us the ability to send inline emails—written directly in the code—in both html and text formats, or to send the emails based on templates.

Benefits of Alfresco Templates

  • Separation of the view
    • Separating the presentation layer from the code makes it easier to work on the email structure or the dynamic content independently.
    • In the end, this will allow us to write and maintain more complex emais.
  • Localization
    • Alfresco supports multiple languages which manifests at several levels. The most obvious is the UI where all text is encapsulated within localized properties files to render based on user preferences.
    • For email templates, we can create one template file per language we want to support and then choose the right one at the time we send the email.
  • Edit online
    • The email templates are stored in the repository making it simple for an administrator to edit them without creating a new build of a customization.

How-To Use Alfresco Templates

  • Calling the action
    • Instead of passing raw text to the email action, you will pass the reference to a template node and a parameter map with the data to inject.


Action mail = actionService.createAction(MailActionExecuter.NAME);
mail.setParameterValue(MailActionExecuter.PARAM_SUBJECT, "Inline email subject");
mail.setParameterValue(MailActionExecuter.PARAM_TEXT, "Inline email body");


Map<String, Object> model = new HashMap<String, Object>();
Action mail = actionService.createAction(MailActionExecuter.NAME);
mail.setParameterValue(MailActionExecuter.PARAM_SUBJECT, "Templated email subject");
mail.setParameterValue(MailActionExecuter.PARAM_TEMPLATE, getEmailTemplate());
mail.setParameterValue(MailActionExecuter.PARAM_TEMPLATE_MODEL, (Serializable) model);
  • Bootstrapping the email templates
    • While not mandatory, it’s better to bootstrap the templates to the repository instead of uploading them manually. You should end up with one template per language you want to support, similar to this:


Note: The configuration used to bootstrap the templates is out of the scope of this blog post. You can find reliable resources online on how to bootstrap using the ImporterModuleComponent.

  • Localized email template fetching: getLocalizedSibling
      • The FileFolderService has an interesting method called getLocalizedSibling that can retrieve a localized (using the server’s locale) version of the template.
private NodeRef getEmailTemplate() {
    try {
        List<NodeRef> nodeRefs = searchService.selectNodes(
                nodeService.getRootNode(StoreRef.STORE_REF_WORKSPACE_SPACESSTORE), EMAIL_TEMPLATE_XPATH, null,
                nameSpaceService, false);
        if (nodeRefs.size() != 1) {
            logger.error("Cannot find the saved search notification email template: " + EMAIL_TEMPLATE_XPATH);
            return null;
        return fileFolderService.getLocalizedSibling(nodeRefs.get(0));
    } catch (SearcherException e) {
        logger.error("Cannot find the saved search notification email template: " + EMAIL_TEMPLATE_XPATH, e);
    return null;

Capabilities of FTL Templates

  • Basic variable injection
    • This is extracted from the default “Following” email template in Alfresco
    <#assign followerFullName>${followerFirstName} ${followerLastName}</#assign>
                    <img src="${shareUrl}/res/components/images/help-people-bw-64.png" />
                    <div>${(followerFullName?trim)?html} is now following you.</div>
                    <div><#if followerJobTitle??>${followerJobTitle?html}<br/></#if></div>
  • Freemarker logic
    • This is extracted from the default “Activities” email template in Alfresco. As activities can be one of several kinds and we want to format the notification differently for each kind, it requires more ftl logic. I have remove much of the actual display work to mainly keep the logic structures.
    <#if activities?exists && activities?size > 0>
        <#list activities as activity>
            <#if activity.siteNetwork??>
                <#assign firstVar="Something">
                <#assign otherVar=false>
                <#switch activity.activityType>
                    <#case "">
                    <#case "">
                        <#assign firstVar="Something else">
                    <#case "">
                        <#assign otherVar=true>
                <div class="activity">
                    <#if otherVar>${firstVar}<#else>Not var</#if>
  • Handle nodes
    • Another useful is the ability to fetch nodes and access their different properties. To use this, you will need to inject “companyhome” in your email template.
        <th>Modified date</th>
    <#list savedSearch.getNewResults() as savedSearchResult>
        <#assign savedSearchResultNode=companyhome.nodeByReference[savedSearchResult.toString()]>
            <td><a href="${shareUrl}/page/user/${}/profile">${}</a></td>
            <td><a href="${viewUrl}${['sys:node-uuid']}">${}</a></td>

From this, you can see the benefits of utilizing these templates to create a more streamlined deployment of your email communications. If you have any questions on how to best implement this approach, please contact us today.

Our Thoughts on the All-New Ephesoft Universe

Ephesoft UniverseToday the industry received word of an innovative new technology—Ephesoft Universe. Universe is a tool that matches enterprise Big Data with intelligent capture, allowing you to process and analyze all of the content contained in your organization’s documents, even if unstructured. I have had the pleasure of early access to the product for evaluation and want to share my thoughts with you. 

Universe allows business users to define different documents and data they would like to analyze in an easy and intuitive fashion. By automatically identifying large amounts of data fields like addresses, amounts, etc., users can tag the values with appropriate names used in the business (e.g., primary address, loan amount, SSN, employer). Universe then analyzes the values and determines the best ways to extract the data as more documents are processed. Once the definitions are set up, very large groups of documents can be processed in a very short time by utilizing Apache Spark clusters. This can be deployed on premise or in the cloud.  

It’s all well and good to rattle off some technical specs and usage but why should you, and I, care? While Ephesoft at Innovate 2015Ephesoft Enterprise for intelligent capture allows you to automate the intake of documents to drive business process and archival, it doesn’t harness the immense amount of data you already have in your enterprise. Imagine, as a mortgage insurance company, being able to set rates based on data you already have from the many closing packages you have processed. With Universe, this data is found by looking at defaults in various zip codes, size of homes, loan amounts, home values, and more. You can even look at the data you have and project it out for months. Consider a fraud detection company having the ability to determine how many loan applications a particular name or social security number has applied for in a specified amount of time. Many companies pay other entities for this information—data that already exists in documents they process in their enterprise.

We are excited about this innovative technology and the advanced solutions it will enable Zia to provide to our clients. Ephesoft Universe is going to save our customers time and money while lowering risk. Please contact us to discuss how this technology can help you.

– Pat Myers, EVP and Co-Founder of Zia Consulting

Demo – Adhere for Alfresco: Legal – Part 2

In this video, Sr. Solutions Engineer Jon Solove demonstrates the execution of a contract using Adhere for Alfresco: Legal, a content management solution from Zia Consulting.

For corporate legal departments within many organizations, the choice of a document management system has been limited to a small number of legacy vendors with complex and costly offerings that users are forced to accept, rather than working the way they want to work. The result is “ECM avoidance” with users finding ways around their ECM system–utilizing email, shared drives, or cloud technologies.

Today there is an alternative: Adhere for Alfresco: Legal, powered by Alfresco and delivered by Zia Consulting. Zia understands that when systems are easy-to-use and leverage existing tools like Office or Google Docs, the result is increased utilization and an improvement in control and compliance. Our Adhere for Alfresco: Legal solution delivers document and records management that’s as simple as using email or file systems, with the power of enterprise-class CMS features and functionality.


Video Demo – Adhere for Alfresco: Legal – Part 1

In this demo, Sr. Solutions Engineer Jon Solove demonstrates the creation of a case using Adhere for Alfresco: Legal, a content management solution from Zia Consulting.

For many corporate legal departments and AM100 law firms, the choice of a document management system has often been limited to a small number of legacy vendors with complex and costly offerings that users are forced to accept, rather than working the way they want to work. The result is “ECM avoidance” with users finding ways around their ECM system–utilizing email, shared drives, or cloud technologies.

Today there is an alternative: Adhere for Alfresco: Legal, powered by Alfresco and delivered by Zia Consulting. Zia understands that when systems are easy-to-use and leverage existing tools like Office or Google Docs, the result is increased utilization and an improvement in control and compliance. Our Adhere for Alfresco: Legal solution delivers document and records management that’s as simple as using email or file systems, with the power of enterprise-class CMS features and functionality.

From the Desk of Yoran: The ROI from Data-Centric Security

This is the second blog post in the series “From the Desk of Yoran”.

CovertixYoran Sirkis, CEO of Covertix, is a seasoned executive with more than 20 years of experience in information security, specializing in data and physical risk management. He is also a frequent speaker at leading industry conferences.


The ROI from Data-Centric Security

When was the last time you counted the number of security tools in your organization? How many different vendors are involved? What are the maintenance and licensing costs?

I bet you lost count… anyone would.

Companies strive to define and apply security rules that will best protect data, based on their specific business needs. During that process, IT staff encounter evolving security needs and are exposed to an endless amount of solutions—each addressing a valid, real-world security challenge.

As a part of the process of protecting their enterprise data, organizations end up dealing with a variety of vendors, pricey integrations, busy helpdesks, frustrated users and, continuously increasing expenses.

Doing More with Less

As I mentioned in my previous post, The Need for Data-Centric Security, the age of data-centric security transforms the security focus from top-down to bottom-up. It’s this reasoning that makes a data-centric solution more valuable than what it was originally implemented for.

Guided by the understanding and importance of offering a security solution that presents a clear ROI, we have developed a single data-centric solution that delivers much more than file protection.

Data Classification

How many unstructured data files do you think sit on your corporate network? Take a guess. It’s a scary thought, isn’t it? Before you make your team (and yourself) insane by protecting every single file individually, we recommend you take the data classification approach—that’s right, data-centric.

You need a system that easily lets you implement policies across data document types, such as CAD design files from R&D, to files in the accounting department that contain the number 4128 at the start of a 16-digit number.

File Protection 

Having a file protection solution in your organization is critical, but most solutions provide limited protection. A data-centric security solution brings much more to the table. It enables organizations to protect, manage, and audit files internally AND externally, to share sensitive information with external users, and to protect information on different devices.

File Encryption

Encrypting files is necessary to ensure your data is protected and is used only by the people it was intended for. Most solutions burden users, forcing them to learn a new system and placing all the responsibility on them.

A data-centric solution removes that burden by offering a system that operates seamlessly and without affecting users’ behavior. This secures your data in all of the following cases:

  • After the file has been opened (using any device or location)
  • When content is copied/pasted to a new document
  • Protection of the file’s metadata
  • When sensitive files are shared with external users

Your files are protected, and you can audit and monitor the usage of their content no matter where the files actually reside—inside or outside the organization.

Secure Vaults

Confidential data is often placed within secure vaults. But even the best vaults will only keep your data secure when it is stored within it. A data-centric solution provides persistent security, keeping your data secure anytime and anywhere. From the moment a confidential document is created, through any transport, and even when it is download on any device.

As it is transparently integrated into existing business driven processes with automated rules or manual override, a data-centric security solution will not impose on IT staff and is not dependent on a user’s actions.

Cloud Security

It’s a given that assets residing in the cloud need to be protected. Because of this, cloud providers began offering their own security solutions as well as those from third parties. Of course, the costs begin to pile up and companies are often still uncertain about who else might have access to their cloud-based data.

Deploying a smart, data-centric security solution is the best way to protect your data anywhere—and even from cloud providers themselves.

Data Leak Prevention (DLP)

DLP solutions aim to prevent files from leaving the your business unintentionally or through malicious actions. But how do you protect your data if it is leaked? A data-centric security solution continues to monitor your files even outside the organization and ensures the data they contain remains secure.

And most importantly….

While plenty of solutions secure your data at rest, or in motion, or when it goes to third parties, but only a data-centric solution can secure the file structure and the data it contains so you know that data is always protected.

If you have concerns about your confidential data when it’s in motion, at rest, or in use; and whether it could be lost through a data breach, from a stolen device, or other unintentional or malicious way,  we can give you peace of mind. You CAN have a system with a strong ROI, because you won’t find yourself facing lawsuits or losing customers and your reputation.

For more information, please visit

Alfresco Development—Past, Present, and Future


by Bindu Wavell, Chief Architect at Zia Consulting

There are two reasons I decided to write this post. First, I want to acknowledge Alfresco for their recent investments in the developer ecosystem. The other reason is to explain where I think we are heading with our development efforts. My ulterior motive is to find people to collaborate with us on these efforts.

Since Thomas DeMeo joined Alfresco as VP of Product Management a bit over a year ago, we’ve noticed a dramatic increase in the focus on system integrators being key stakeholders for Alfresco—and not just based on expertise in sales and business development. After the release of Alfresco One 5.0 at the Alfresco Summit, we saw the likes of Peter Monks and Gabriele Columbro tapped to bring focus to user stories that are important for administrators and developers within the product management organization. Recently, Richard Esplin transitioned from the community lead to focusing on the Community Edition within product management. Alfresco hired Martin Bergljung and Ole Hejlskov to focus on developer tooling/evangelism and community outreach. Within weeks of starting, these individuals put together a new release of the SDK; incorporating contributions, adding new capabilities, and completely revamping the documentation. I’m thrilled that Alfresco is focusing resources in these areas because I think we will see resolution of a lot of technical debt—and that allows for better solutions in less time, leading to a bigger and more vibrant community.

In the past year or so, Alfresco engineering has begun to reorganize into smaller, more agile, scrum teams. This reorganization—along with the focus on product management—will drive initiatives like release agility to provide more frequent and better tested releases of distinct products. It should also provide a platform for resolving technical debts in a more sustained and predictable fashion than we’ve seen in the past. We can also expect cool new products that are easier to integrate and customize. Things like Activiti Enterprise—the integration between Activiti Enterprise and Share—enhanced Office services, reporting/analytics, media management, and even new Case Management features. Not to mention, significant improvements in the repository, Share, and records management.

As the Chief Architect at Zia, part of my mission is to facilitate improvements in developer productivity and satisfaction. In addition, I want to help the team find ways to improve project quality and consistency. I’d like to share where we are heading in these areas, but first let’s cover where we’ve been.

In the past year or so, most of our projects have been based on the third major revision of our development framework. We call the framework—the project structure and the associated tooling—Zia Alfresco Quickstart (for more information, watch this video). Quickstart includes a standard project structure that we evolved from the all-in-one archetype provided by the Alfresco 1.0 Maven SDK. It features reusable code, examples, best practices, and, to some extent, standardizes how we version and deliver our projects and reusable sub-projects.

With version 1.0 of the SDK, as well as our earlier project structures, we were seeing cycle times (from the point when we saved our code to when we were able to exercise the code) of between two and five minutes on very powerful laptops with lots of RAM and solid-state disks. One of the main reasons we started evolving the SDK was to reduce this cycle time. When we started using Quickstart for customer projects, we were able to reduce the cycle time for most edits to about 10 seconds. We did this by taking advantage of incremental compilation and hot deployment techniques. If I was writing this post a couple of years ago, it would have been all about flow. It was hard to experience flow when you had time for tea and a bagel after most code/config changes. Fortunately, this is not as much of an issue anymore. The Alfresco 1.1.x SDK made some similar techniques available for the wider developer community. With the 2.0 SDK, this has been improved even more—but there’s still work to be done.

One area where Quickstart enhances the SDK capabilities is an integration testing framework for repository customizations that also supports continuous integration and, to some extent, delivery. After we presented this framework during Tech Talk Live #69 (see video above), the 1.1 SDK added a similar capability—however, that solution has been a bit unreliable. We contributed the Quickstart testing framework to the SDK team and are hopeful it will be incorporated in the near future. We are excited that the 2.1.0 version includes support for the Share Page Object testing extensions to Selenium WebDriver that was, and continues to be, developed by the Share engineering. This will make it much easier to create tests for UI customizations and to make sure our customizations don’t unexpectedly break existing capabilities provided with the products.

With the project structure we used before Quickstart, it often took us between four and eight hours to get a full development environment (just the Alfresco pieces) installed and configured. With Quickstart, we’ve reduced this to around two or three hours.

We often need to work on code for multiple projects in any given week. In order to handle this, and to accommodate customer variations, we usually set up our development environments in Virtual Machines (VM). Nearly every time we’ve had to start from a base OS machine.

Typically, one team member sets up the initial VM, installs the development tools, and sets up the project structure. Then the VM is shared with all of the team members. We make heavy use of VM snapshots and usually someone keeps a pristine copy of the VM that tracks releases. Should a new developer join the project, or an upgrade be performed, we utilize this pristine copy. Often these VMs are over 40GB, requiring a substantial amount of time just to copy the data.

At Zia, we’ve been testing a few different code review approaches. Some projects are doing regular reviews (weekly for example), others are focusing on reviewing each new significant feature. The ability to create pull requests from forks and branches in BitBucket and GitHub has provided enough of a framework for us so far—though we’d love to incorporate more tooling around code quality and coverage to provide consistent feedback to users.

The Path Ahead

Quickstart has been seen as a proprietary solution that allows us to complete projects faster and at lower cost than we were able to previously. One of the downsides to it being proprietary is that there is a smaller community for collaboration and support of the approach. The next version of our project structure is being developed in-the-open using the open source model we admire so much.

The Quickstart project structure is quite different than any of the official SDKs, and there are good reasons for the differences. In many cases, they improve on what is available in the community today. However, what we have is different enough from the standard that new team members often have a steep learning curve to become proficient and ultimately master the structure. So, while a seasoned practitioner will be very productive, newer folks require more time and support to become productive. This turns out to be detrimental to the goal of improving productivity for some team members.

With the next generation project structure, we plan to stay closer to the official SDK so that there is a much larger community for collaboration. While we still plan to include support for certain opinionated features, we will also support and default to using more traditional Alfresco implementation approaches. Our hope is that this change in direction will facilitate quicker onboarding and allow SDK and Alfresco upgrades to be handled more expeditiously.

With Quickstart and all of the Alfresco SDKs to date, we have to duplicate a large portion of the boilerplate code for common Alfresco customizations such as web scripts, actions, behaviors, jobs, and workflows via cut and paste. While most of these aren’t difficult, they do tend to be error prone.

Our new approach is to provide a Yeoman project generator. This automates the construction of a project using the all-in-one archetype from the SDK while adding a few bells and whistles for improved productivity. Though it’s still in its infancy, this part of the project is available now and we are using it for customer projects when appropriate. In addition, we are working on sub-generators for common and boilerplate things like: adding amps (source, third party from git, third party from Maven, and checked into the project), adding webscripts, and adding actions. We also plan to work on sub-generators for adding behaviors, models, workflows, jobs, javascript extensions, and data bootstrapping. We may even create generators for common tasks like switching from h2 to a real database, enabling ldap, hooking up the standard image processing tools, and other common tasks that collaborators think will add significant value during the development phase of Alfresco implementation projects.

The development VMs we’ve been using are difficult to version control, slow to copy, and frankly, take significant CPU, disk, and memory resources that we’d prefer to allocate to development and runtime tasks.

We’ve been toying with setting up our development environments using devops tools such as Ansible, Chef, VMWare, Vagrant, and Docker. Using Docker, we have been able to spin up and exercise clustered Alfresco environments on a single machine for testing and POC activities. We’ve also used Vagrant and Ansible to get about a 40% head start on our development VMs. The hope is to script 90% of the project setup efforts, to reduce project setup time, and increase consistency between our projects. We also hope to utilize Docker or other lightweight container solutions to reduce the overhead of our environments.

To date, we’ve had mixed success using these tools to setup our development environments. It often takes a significant amount of time to create and refine the devops scripts and we don’t expect to see a return on our investment until we’ve utilized and stabilized these tools with a number of projects. Fortunately, we have worked with a few customers to create production quality release/delivery substrates using these tools. Our hope is to incorporate our experiences from these projects into the developer tooling with an eye toward standardizing how we install and configure Alfresco solutions in all environments. We feel that by utilizing these techniques, developers will be able to rebuild small, containerized environments from scratch when needed, rather than maintaining and sharing monolithic VMs. This approach will be much easier to version control, easier to upgrade, easier to share, and will be lighter on resources.

An area we are also exploring is the use of cloud development infrastructure (e.g. Codenvy) to develop, run, and test our projects. We’d like to utilize our devops work and create containers that we can use during development and testing and potentially as a vehicle for delivering projects as well. It would be great if this allowed additional interactivity and collaboration during code reviews, while fixing bugs, and for training/coaching users one-on-one or in groups. We’d also like to reduce expenditures on hardware for developers and to deliver progressive capacity to our engineering organization. The ultimate goal is to work smarter with our in-house, remote, and offshore team members.

Our first usable effort in the area of cloud development is the contribution workflow for our new Yeoman generator. By clicking a button on the project GitHub page, we can provision a development environment that has access to the project source code and a docker container that has been set up with the appropriate versions of Java, Maven, Node, and Yeoman. It would also have the local (in the container) Maven repository pre-seeded with assets needed for compiling and running the Alfresco projects we build while testing out the generators. Someone wishing to make a contribution can start developing and testing in under a minute and can send us a pull-request directly from the generated project on Codenvy.

View a generator contribution demo video here

We’d like to invite you to collaborate on these ideas and deliverables. Currently, we are focused on completing our first pass on the Yeoman generator and some high value sub-generators. We’d love to collaborate in order to continue evolving the developer/implementer experience for Alfresco extensions. If you are interested, please leave a comment, send an email, or ping me here on IRC. Once the generator is in good shape, we’ll likely set up a cloud-based development experience. This will be driven by the generators and backed by pre-packaged containers that can be used in the cloud, on our development machines, and possibly in customer dev, stage, and prod environments. Imagine quickly packaging your configuration and customizations with Alfresco into an all-dependencies included container. You could then run tests against the container, deploy that tested container to stage, perform UAT and—assuming everything is accepted—promote the exact same (tested and accepted) container to production.

Now that’s the future of Alfresco development.

Addressing Content Chaos in the Mortgage Industry


More than a Loan Origination System

For the past several years, most technology investments in the mortgage industry have been focused on upgrading or enhancing Loan Origination Systems (LOS). This is understandable given the costs associated with processing the ever-increasing size of loan packages. These upgrades also have the opportunity for significant and immediate ROI by implementing solutions such as Intelligent Document Capture (IDC), which can automatically classify loan documents and extract data from HUD-1, GFE, and others.

While these technology investments have been extremely beneficial to many in the industry, they have also ignored the growing problem of content chaos in banks and other mortgage companies outside of the LOS. From our discussions with leaders in the industry at a series of events over the past 12 months, we’ve heard about two specific areas where they are most focused—and why they need more than an LOS.

Borrower Document Chaos

During the origination phase of a loan application, a large amount of borrower supporting documentation is required—from paystubs to 1040s to other financial information.  Traditionally this information has come through a mailroom model, as paper or perhaps scanned documentation, often in conjunction with a mortgage broker.

What has changed? Everything.

Today, documents come into the organization via borrower portals or websites, as email attachments, or in the latest trend–mobile capture. This growing complexity in the source and type of information has led many in the industry to seek a content hub to centralize collection and processing of these documents, with features such as:

  •      Case Management Functionality
  •      Email Integration
  •      Advanced Workflow/BPM
  •      Content Security
  •      View/Annotate/Redact
  •      Actionable Analytics/BI

Similar to the ROI opportunity that existed previously in automating the processing of loan packages, many see a chance for significant cost savings through automation at the front-end of loan applications.

Solving SharePoint, Shared Drives, and More…

Just last week, a representative from one of the world’s largest mortgage banks approached our booth at an industry event. What brought him in? The messaging around “Solving SharePoint”.  But the concerns were not associated with their LOS in any way. His comment was, “Do you know how many people we have that aren’t involved in loan processing directly?” From HR to legal to procurement/contracts, every mortgage company has substantial amounts of their own internal content, with needs including:

  •      Document and Records Management
  •      Internal and External Collaboration
  •      Content Security
  •      BPM/Workflow
  •      Federated Search
  •      And more…

As with the example above, many of these organizations are looking to solve the content chaos associated with finding, managing, securing, and storing information that is currently in:

  •      SharePoint
  •      Shared Drives/File Shares
  •      Dropbox/Box.Net
  •      Legacy ECM Systems

Ideally, these companies would love to find a single content platform that could address both these internal and borrower-facing use cases, allowing a technology investment to deliver a stronger ROI. Fortunately this is possible today through a modern, open ECM system that can function as this content hub—integrating with everything from borrower portals and email systems to SharePoint.

Want to learn more? Come see us at booth 316 this week at MBA Tech.

.Mortgage Bankers Association

Solving Content Chaos with Adhere for Alfresco: Government

zia-governmentAcross the public sector—from federal to state to local governments—agencies and departments are looking for solutions to the “content chaos” that exists today. Whether due to mandates like the Presidential Memorandum on Managing Digital Records or the continued cost and complexity of government document processing, organizations are looking for ways to better manage content and automate business processes.

If we define content chaos as the inability to properly find, manage, and secure documents and records, it’s clear from metrics that most government departments and agencies (if not all) are facing content chaos in 2015. Issues range from the amount of time knowledge workers spend searching for documents, the times the wrong version of a document is used, or the significant investments that companies are forced to make in human capital to staff information governance or records management groups. And all of this is due to the failure of technology to address these areas. Perhaps the single largest area of concern is around content security within the government, with case of Edward Snowden never very far from anyone’s mind.

How did we get here? Let’s discuss three key developments that we believe have led to the content chaos of today.

  1. ECM Avoidance

It’s interesting to consider that all of the “find, manage, and secure” issues of today could possibly have been avoided if the legacy ECM vendors of the past had focused on one simple issue: user adoption. Instead, we saw an almost myopic focus by users on ECM avoidance, looking for any way to avoid logging into complex and time-consuming ECM systems. Across virtually industry, surveys show less than 50% of content being managed in ECM systems, with utilization numbers in the 10% (or less) being not uncommon.

  1. The Dropbox Problem

Technologies like Dropbox,, or other simple “file, sync, and share” have led to major concerns around security as well as creating silos of content within agencies and department, This is happening in spite of the incredible technology investments and advancements made into simplifying the way that documents are shared—particularly with those outside of your organization.

  1. SharePoint Sprawl

Across the government, metrics show that SharePoint has achieved a level of pervasiveness that few would have predicted even a few years ago. However, from a recent AIIM survey, now published as an AIIM Industry Watch paper titled Connecting and Optimizing SharePoint, some interesting themes emerge:

  •      Only 11% of respondents see their SharePoint deployment as a success
  •      Most organizations use SharePoint primarily for collaboration—with only 30% using it       widely for document management and only 11% for records management
  •      Only 13% say SharePoint aligns with their information governance policies
  •      Only 6% have true federated search—the ability to search across both SharePoint and other document repositories and silos

The Solution: Adhere for Alfresco: Government

So how do you address all of the topics above? It was exactly this question that led us to create Adhere for Alfresco: Government—our solution to the content chaos that exists today. Adhere is the glue that binds together and secures content across your organization and outside. Throughout your ECM systems and content silos, we can deliver to users what an ECM solution should have always meant to them. Our Adhere solution today provides:

  •      SharePoint Integration and Synchronization
  •      Federated Search
  •      Automated Workflow/BPM
  •      Embedded In-Process Classification and Extraction
  •      Simplified Information Governance
  •      Universal Content Security (UCS)
  •      Enterprise Mobile ECM

Zia delivers solutions across the public sector, at the federal, state, and local level. We have helped departments ranging from human services to court systems, and worked both in civilian and defense agencies.

Specific focus areas include:

  •      SharePoint Compliance and Security
  •      Legacy ECM Migrations with Zia ActiveMigrate
  •      Digitization of Records
  •      Automated Document Processing with Capture and BPM
  •      Secure Government Cloud

If you would like more information on Adhere for Alfresco, please feel free to contact me personally at or visit our website at

The Creation of Content Chaos – Part 2

Adhere for Alfresco

Solving Content Chaos With Adhere

Where do we even begin?

In part one of this blog, we outlined the creation of content chaos, discussing how the past 10 years have shown a steady trend towards simplifying the sharing of content, both inside and outside the organization. At the same time, we’ve seen a diminished focus on managing and securing that content and associated information governance.

So how can you solve your content chaos?  Recognizing that SharePoint isn’t going away, and realizing that you need to deliver content security that addresses the Dropbox problem. You must to provide ECM systems that promote adoption with user-friendly interfaces, automated business processes, and also integration with email, office, and other tools.

It was exactly this question that led us to create Adhere—our solution to the content chaos that exists today.  The Adhere offering is built on Alfresco’s core document and records management platform, with enterprise-class components from collaboration to global information governance.  Available on-premise, cloud-only, or as the only true hybrid-cloud ECM model, our Adhere solution uniquely provides for both the wants of users and the needs of the enterprise.

With Adhere as the glue that binds together and secures content both in and outside of your organization, throughout your ECM systems and content silos, we can deliver to users what an ECM solution should have always meant to them.  Our Adhere solution today provides:

  • SharePoint Integration and Synchronization
  • Federated Search
  • Automated Workflow/BPM
  • Embedded “In-Process” Classification and Extraction
  • Simplified Information Governance
  • Universal Content Security (UCS)
  • Enterprise Mobile ECM

Solving SharePoint

Across both the public and private sector, companies have made an investment in SharePoint and it is clear that it isn’t going to simply disappear from their daily operations.  As noted in part one of this blog, over 75% of organizations still have a “strong commitment” to SharePoint, according to a recent survey.  However, only 11% say their SharePoint deployment is a success.

Our Adhere solution focuses on solving SharePoint by identifying and classifying critical content within your sites. It then integrates and synchronizes SharePoint + Alfresco, streamlines business processes, and then delivers content security, information governance, and federated search.

In addition, while most organizations are looking to manage, rather than replace, their SharePoint sites, our Adhere Solution can also migrate your content from SharePoint to Alfresco when required.  These migrations leverage ActiveMigrate methodology from Zia and can be either a full migration or simply a migration of active content (a “lazy” migration).

Solving Dropbox

For many CIOs, the single largest area of concern right now is making sure they don’t end up as the next Sony Pictures or Anthem, with their corporate data shared around the world by hackers.  This is not just a public relations concern, with the recent news that Sony is facing a multi-million dollar class-action lawsuit by employees. They allege the company “failed to secure its computer systems, servers and databases, despite weaknesses that it has known about for years.”

So how do you protect critical corporate content, while recognizing a world where Dropbox and are pervasive, and that employees can very simply accidentally or intentionally share information inside or ourside the organization.  With our Adhere solution, we introduce the concept of Universal Content Security (UCS)—which secures data based on policy, not platform.

Whether you are sharing content via Dropbox, USBs, email, SharePoint, Alfresco Cloud Sync, or any other technology platform, our UCS solution will protect the data—even through a cut and paste scenario.  From employee records to sales data or board documents—across internal and external collaboration—the ability to remove users from responsibility for content security provides the solution to the Dropbox problem.

Solving Information Governance

The legacy of records management (RM) systems is one where solutions have often been designed for dedicated compliance officers rather than content creators. These are deployed in a standalone environment that is disconnected from corporate collaboration and ECM systems.  This situation has only become worse with the rise of SharePoint—where in a recent study only 13% said SharePoint aligns with their information governance policies.  And of course, the paper problem still exists with many large organizations storing the majority of their records as paper files.

Zia provides Easy RM solutions that work the way you do, connecting those who are creating content with the compliance process. As we like to say, “Everyone’s a Records Manager, and Nobody Knows It!”  Easy RM incorporates the tools you use on a daily basis, from SharePoint to Office to email, reducing barriers to implementation and widespread usage.  Additionally, Easy RM solutions are built on a single DoD5015.02 certified content hub for document and records management, reducing duplication and wrong version usage.

Principles of Easy RM solutions include:

  • Automated Declaration of Records
  • Intelligent Rule-Based File Plan
  • SharePoint Integration and Synchronization
  • Consolidated Paper/Electronic File Plans
  • Digitization with Intelligent Capture
  • Office and Outlook Integration

When your records management tools fit into the daily work habits of employees, you can reduce barriers to adoption, reduce duplication of efforts and errors with one central repository, increase productivity with automated processes, and keep control of your data by reducing use of external tools.


In 2015 we have reached a tipping point where once again the need to find, manage, and secure content has become as important as the need to simplify the sharing of information.  For the first time since 2007, we would expect more respondents to list compliance/risk as the primary driver for new ECM related investments, rather than collaboration.  The Zia Adhere solution was designed for the world of 2015, the world of Sony and Anthem, and the world where most organizations are committed to SharePoint and yet still deem it a failure.


If you would like more information on Adhere, please feel free to contact me personally at  or visit our website at

Phil Robinson, SVP at Zia Consulting