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Correspondence Management System

Norwegian information

Options Correspondence Management System (CMS) is a system to manage both incoming and outgoing correspondence. It is perfect for project-oriented companies which has a lot of communication with client and suppliers, and where it is vital to be able to store and retrieve this information in a fast and efficient way.

CMS is not only for correspondence documents like email, faxes and letters, CMS can manage virtually any type of information that can be saved as a file! Each file is tagged with information like sender, receiver, document type/class, subject, status etc. This extra information is saved in a database, while the actual files are saved on a standard fileserver. The CMS program presents document lists from the database, and by double-clicking an entry, the document will automatically be opened in the default editor, like e.g. Word / Excel / Autocad / whatever.

With large projects there can be several hundred or thousands of documents, and a classic timeconsuming problem is to find the correct document when needed. One of the key features of CMS is to eliminate this problem!! (or at least minimize the search time!). The document lists can be narrowed down by defining subcategories, and lists can be sorted and/or filtered by content-criterias for any of the document information columns. Cross-listing is also possible to e.g. list a certain sub-category for all projects simultaneously. Finally a list-mode for contacts can be used, where all documents to/from a client or subsupplier is listed.

When creating a new correspondence document, another classic problem is to make uniform reference numbers, and to keep them in sequence. And then when the file is saved, each employee tends to have their own ideas where to save and how to build the filename. CMS eliminates all these problems! A powerfull filekey or sequence-number generator can be configured by the administrator to automatically assign correct sequence number when the new document is created. The filename is set to a combination of the filekey + subjectline. File folder is determined by which category the document is created in. Everything is automatic, the user only selects category, types in key information like from/to and subject, then presses Create button. With Word, Excel and Outlook the key information is even inserted directly into the new document, saving valuable time.

CMS Details

Project structuringThe administrator builds one or more category structures that acts as templates for the real project structures. When creating a new project it is then just a matter of giving name and code to the project, and the category tree is created automatically. Separate templates can be created for e.g. Project, Client, Supplier, Parts, Admin, etc... A typical project 'instance' then consist of the basic project structure, one or more clients, one or more suppliers and one or more parts.


Contact registerCMS has its own contact register where name, address, phones, email, web etc. are saved. The information is structured so that all employees of a company share the same company information, and changes in a company then only need to be updated once. Everywhere in CMS where a person name or company name is required, lookup is done towards the contact register and names are suggested as you type. When listing e.g. to/from columns in the doclist, the operator can quickly change between listingmodes "Person - Company" or "Company - Person", and for the person-name change even "Firstname Lastname" or "Lastname, Firstname" listmodes. This way it is easy to scan for documents by either person-name or by company-name, whichever is more convenient.


The contactregister can be synchronized with Outlook or Exchange address books if required. The CMS dataformat is Microsoft Access compatible, so it is easy to use the data with other applications.


 


Document templatesAny number and any types of document templates can be defined: Word, Excel, Outlook emails, Autocad drawings, Project plans, Flowcharts, Presentations, etc. CMS has special support for Word, Excel, Outlook, Autocad Inventor and normal text files. In such files it is possible to insert special CMS field-codes. These field-codes are replaced with information like to/from/subject/timestamp/etc when a document is created. For DOC and XLS files it is even possible to use eitherOpenOffice orAbility Office as editor.

Creating documentsDocuments are created directly from the CMS program. The operator selects category and doc-template, and enters data regarding from/to, subject etc, then press the "Create" button. The associated editor will then be opened with a new instance of the selected template. If the template has CMS field-support, important fields like to/from/subject/date etc is already filled in (see Document Templates above!)

 

Support for registered email transmission - eNotariusCMS supports eNotarius for sending important emails. eNotarius is a system where an independent 3rd party (=eNotarius) stores a copy of the email on a secure server, and also stores a receipt from the receivers email server that the email has in fact reached the server. This information can then later be used as evidence in case of disputes regarding the transmission and content of the email. For more information about eNotarius, please see http://www.enotarius.com

Importing documentsExisting/incoming Documents can be imported by any standard Windows technique: "Drag&Drop", "Copy&Paste" or traditional "File Open" dialog. A good example is to drag an email from your Outlook inbox to correct category in CMS. When dropped, sender+receiver, timestamp and subject are automatically decoded from the email. The user can also select to delete original file after import, making cleaning of your inbox an easy task!

Scanning documentsDocuments can be scanned directly from CMS if a supported TWAIN scanner is connected. Multipage documents are supported. Files are saved as JPG, TIF or PDF

Document lists tuningThe document lists can be tuned to show only columns of interest. Different views can be associated with different categories, enabling easy content-switching which gives high-quality listings for different types of documents. The document lists can be restricted by category and/or metadata filtering. Drilldown or narrowing effect when moving from general toplevel category (show all documents, including documents in subfolders) to specialized subcategories (show only subcategory documents). Multiple levels of subcategories is possible.


Document revisionsBy right-clicking on a document in the document-list, the operator can open the Revisions-dialog, where multiple revisions of a document can be maintained. The last revision will be opened by default in main window, while older revisions can be fetched from the revision dialog. It is also possible to associate comments, attachments and releases to the document, with independent sets per revision.



Thumbnail viewerCMS has a built-in thumbnail viewer which supports many common image formats. To make the system fast enough, the thumbnails will only be shown when browsing leaf-categories. If you browse from higher up in the hierarchy it is still possible to show the thumbnails by clicking on a file of interest. Thumbnail will then automatically be shown.


Web interface and Windows applicationCMS supports a webinterface with most of the view-functions found in the standard Windows CMS program. Documents can be downloaded from the web, and for slow connection there is an option to ZIP-compress the files before download. The webserver must support Microsoft ASP.Net


Multiple CMS databasesIf running large non-related projects it is sometimes more convenient to split the CMS databases into two distinct instances. Since CMS is not integrated with Exchange Server or similar, advanced user can easily configure the CMS layout themself, without the need to rely on the IT departments to do the work.

References

Users of CMS include.:

Offshore Resource Group AS www.o-r-g.no
Poseidon Group AS www.poseidongroup.no
Nemo Engineering AS www.nemo-engineering.no
Scanmudring AS www.scanmudring.no
Elite Vinduspuss AS www.elite.no
Remote PRS project (Pipeline repair system) Distributed project involving Statoil, Hydro,Subsea7,Stolt Offshore andGassco

CMS Technical details

CMS document archive Standard files in folder-structure on a standard Windows fileserver. Access control is defined by system-administrators through normal Windows file access control
CMS Database As standard this is a Microsoft Jet-based MDB fil, same type as used by Microsoft Access. Can be upgraded to e.g. Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle if required.
Operating system requirements Recommends Windows 2000 or better for both clients and fileserver. Will also work with Windows 9x/Me and NT 4.
Hardware requirements Recommends minimum 1GHz CPU and 128MB RAM for good software speed.
Web-server requirements Internet Information Server with .NET framework.
Office-integration CMS has special integration towards - Microsoft Office 2000 / XP / 2003- SunStarOffice / OpenOffice- Ability Office
Autocad-integration CMS has special integration towards Autocad 2002/2004
Inventor-integration CMS has special integration towards Inventor 6