Monday 1 August 2005

Industry Update No. 6: DocBanq

Last week I spent an hour with Matthew Lipscombe from DocBanq in a remote demo session where I had the chance to see their document management software in action. DocBanq provides document and records management in a straightforward fashion. This focus on simplicity is by design, as Matthew's background is in implementing larger and more complex (and costly) systems but with DocBanq they deliberately set out to design an application that that would be quick and effective to implement. DocBanq has all the key features you would expect such as:

  • Access control, including group access rights;
  • Version control;
  • Document check-in and check-out;
  • Management of both physical and electronic documents and records; and
  • Allocation of document retention schedule.
DocBanq can be used in a way that meets all the relevant records management standards but smaller organisations, where the compliance overhead is less, can also use it more pragmatically as a practical solution to managing documents and records.

What makes DocBanq a little different is that is it delivered using a hosted application service provider (ASP) model and is accessed using a thin-client interface. The thin-client interface is provide by a software tool called Bullant Remote and is available as application to download or as an Active-X plugin for Internet Explorer. In comparison to a recent experience of using applications across another popular thin-client technology, I found the DocBanq client to be easy to install and very responsive. In fact I soon forgot that this was a hosted solution. You can also drag and drop between the Windows desktop and to other applications like Microsoft Outlook. And of course the other benefit of a hosted solution is that DocBanq take care of backup, with the system being mirrored across two different data centers.

One of the other attractions of DocBanq is that as a hosted solution it is very simple for organisations to setup selective remote access to their documents by their customers or other interested parties. Matthew described how in one instance an organisations uses DocBanq to give selective access to a panel of service providers. This makes is easy for the organisation to manage the flow of information to each service provider as projects are allocated to them using group access control features in DocBanq.

One of the latest new features in DocBanq is the ability to archive and import data in XML format. This allows users of DocBanq to:
  • Archive redundant material electronically to physical media, say DVD, and remove it from their DocBanq account;
  • Import archived material back into their DocBanq account as required with complete fidelity;
  • Export and prepare material for long-term preservation in a digital preservation archive, free from any proprietary data format; and
  • Import suitably prepared material from other databases and archives.
Overall I have to admit that I like DocBanq as I think its a excellent example of what a hosted application should be. And with the ease of setup and ability to export data into XML format it also represents a low risk option for both SMEs and departments within larger organistions looking for a discreet document or records management system.

You can also check out a review of DocBanq and six other document management systems by ZDNet Australia in April.

Disclaimer: Information on this site is of a general nature. Please seek advice for specific circumstances. Unless otherwise stated, please assume that I have no commercial relationship with the vendors or products discussed.

Previous Industry Updates:

Update No.1: Pivot Software
Update No.2: Objectify
Update No.3: GMB Research
Update No.4: TeamFrame from Crux Cybernetics
Update No.5: Grouputer

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