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Success with GroupWise Document Management

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Danita Zanre, Gregg Hinchman

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Posted: 20 Nov 2003

Baffled by GroupWise Doc Management? Join the club. It's a chronically misunderstood part of GroupWise, and here's your chance get to know it better. Gregg Hinchman and Danita Zanre have written a new book about it, and have graciously allowed us to publish Chapter 4. This chapter discusses the best way to plan and design DMS so it will work for you.

Success with GroupWise Document Management
by Danita Zanre and Gregg A. Hinchman
Purchase info: Caledonia Network Consulting.

Chapter 4: Designing a Document Management System - Part 1

Before GroupWise DMS is ever implemented, planning and design must be performed. Think of it this way, you would never install a GroupWise system unless you first had a design that included how many domains, post offices and gateways are needed. The same goes for DMS. If no planning is performed, and subsequent design created for DMS, there is a strong chance that DMS will not succeed within your organization. This chapter will discuss both the ""management" and "technical" factors that will dictate the overall success and design of your system.

Planning Factors to Consider

There are several organization and management factors to consider before implementing GroupWise document management. In this section, we will discuss the following issues:

  • Management Sponsorship
  • Cost of Implementation
  • Appropriateness of Solution
  • Current Health of GroupWise System
  • Required Resources
  • Required Expertise
  • Impact on Users

The list presented is not inclusive, but it will give you things to consider. Although many of these items can be managed after the implementation of the GroupWise document management system, understanding their importance from the start will make for a smoother rollout of the library.

Management Sponsorship

Do you have a company-wide need or do just a few departments like the idea? This is a very important point. In order to successfully implement any new system, you must have "buy in" and support from the top down. This means CxO's must recognize the business problem document management solves. Furthermore, they must agree to enforce the use of document management. All resources required for a successful implementation of GroupWise document management have to be approved by management. Finally, you need one member of the organization's management team to be the project sponsor. The project sponsor is your "cheerleader", your spiritual leader at the management level.

Cost of Implementation

How much does it cost to implement GroupWise document management? Some of the larger, well known document management systems cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and require a whole staff of consultants to implement. Not to mention the staff needed to support it. If the company owns GroupWise, then they own document management. No additional software purchase is necessary. That is a large savings.

How much will it save the company? A very good question. Measuring the savings can be as simple as measuring the time it takes a user to locate a document, whether it's in paper or stored in a directory structure on a server. It can be as complex as measuring how many times a user has to recreate a document because he misplaced it or was unaware that someone else had already created it. When does Return on Investment (ROI) show up? This depends upon the acceptance of document management by the users. ROI can be immediate, if users are accepting and have been well trained. Or, it can take months.

Appropriateness of Solution

Is document management the right solution? If the company suffers from "knowledge loss", "knowledge hoarding", or "misplacement of knowledge", then any document management system will resolve these issues. More and more companies are placing SAN's (Storage Area Networks) into their environments. This increases the amount of potential disk space available for company files, and makes managing that disk space easier. However, it makes locating a single file among millions more difficult.

Current Health of GroupWise System

Is your GroupWise system healthy? Is it designed correctly? Does it have any current issues or quirks? Before document management can be implemented, GroupWise must be running well. All links must be IP, for users, POAs and MTAs. All pending operations should be cleared. Communication throughout the GroupWise system must be tested.

Does the current GroupWise design work? Or do you need to redesign first? Is the current GroupWise design capable of growing? Or, are you limited to the servers/design you have? These are all valid design questions.

Is GroupWise optimized and running well? All the servers should be optimally configured for GroupWise. There are several documents at Novell's support website that address optimizing GroupWise servers, as does this book. The GroupWise system should have the latest service pack installed on the backend.

Required Resources

Do you have the physical and technological resources to build and maintain a DMS system? This is an extremely important question. Is there money? If you are doing a company-wide implementation of document management, you will need servers and staff dedicated to the project. If you are just doing a single department as a pilot, you will still need a small staff (or at least one person, probably you) and some hardware to support it.

Required Expertise

Does your company have the technical knowledge to design, build and maintain a DMS system? If your technical support staff is already overworked and is in "reactive" mode, they will not have time to learn how to successfully implement document management. You may need to hire a consultant. The consultant can lead the project or just provide knowledge transfer. Where do you get the knowledge? Why, this book of course! Or, check out Novell's website, Novell Support forums, or other books.

Impact on Users

Are you going to roll out a pilot document manage library and have just one department try it out? Or is DMS going to be rolled out to all users at once? The first thing you need to ask yourself is how many users are going to use the document management system.

What about training? How do you train the users? Training is one of the most important factors to a successful implementation of GroupWise document management. Users need to understand that DMS is a paradigm shift, a complete shift in thinking. Users need to learn how to input documents, how to search for documents, how to revise and set security, to name a few. One focused 8 hour, hands-on training class can be the difference between users accepting or rejecting document management.

Library Design

In additional to the organizational issues presented above, there are many technical issues to consider before you plunge into your document management implementation Planning your document management system is crucial. How and where you place the libraries can have a huge impact upon your GroupWise system, and ultimately the success of document management. There are two design principles to consider. They are:

  • Centralized Libraries versus Decentralized Libraries , and
  • Dedicated versus Non-Dedicated Post Office

And of major importance to understanding those design principals, there are specific GroupWise design factors that must be considered. These include:

  • Document Storage Locations
  • Properties Necessary for Each Object
  • Rights Assignments to the Library
  • Cleanup Procedures for the Library
  • Indexing concerns
  • Library Design Types
  • Additional Hardware
Centralized Libraries versus Decentralized Libraries

How is the GroupWise system administered? Is it centralized or decentralized administration? Centralized administration means GroupWise administrators exist in one location and manage the entire system from that one location. There may be GroupWise servers and post offices at remote sites, but they are administered from the central (corporate) site.

Figure 4-1: Centralized Document Management Libraries

Decentralized has many administrators placed at various sites, managing various parts of the GroupWise system. There are almost always GroupWise servers and post offices in remote sites. The deciding factor as to library placement is how your GroupWise system is currently administered.

Figure 4-2: Decentralized Document Management Libraries

The second principle is how to implement libraries. Will you use a dedicated post office just for GroupWise document management libraries or use a non-dedicated post office. A dedicated post office requires a post office that will house only libraries and will only service document management. No email and no users will exist in the post office.

A non-dedicated post office will have libraries, email and users in the same post office. In the case of the non-dedicated post office, you also have to decide if you will use a dedicated or non-dedicated POA for indexing, as discussed in earlier in the Section entitled "Dedicated versus Non-Dedicated Post Office".

Let's take a quick look at the differences between centralized and decentralized libraries.

Centralized libraries: Decentralized libraries:
  • Users at remote offices may access GroupWise across WAN links
  • Users at remote offices may access libraries across WAN links
  • All Libraries are physically located in the corporate offices, no libraries stored in remote offices
  • GroupWise servers and post offices may be physically located at either the corporate office or remote offices
  • Users at remote offices access GroupWise locally
  • Users at remote offices access libraries locally, and potentially across WAN links for corporate libraries
  • GroupWise servers and post offices are physically located in remote offices
  • Corporate office users access GroupWise locally, and potentially across WAN links to remote libraries
Pros Pros
  • Cost to maintain is lower than decentralized
  • Less Administration
  • Central storage and retrieval of documents for the entire company
  • Faster document access -- users primarily access documents locally
  • Demand on WAN links are potentially decreased
  • Fault tolerant, libraries are dispersed throughout the organization
  • This design mirrors GroupWise Best Practice design principles, with an MTA and POA at each remote office
Cons Cons
  • DMS use is slower for remote office users due to WAN links
  • Less fault tolerant - all libraries are in one location
  • Increased demand on WAN bandwidth
  • WAN outages cause decrease in remote user productivity
  • More expensive to implement and maintain
  • Increased Administration
  • Implementation time is increased

Dedicated versus Non-Dedicated Post Office

The second design principle for libraries is whether you will implement a separate post office for housing DMS libraries or use a current user's post office. The most mechanically efficient document management design is to have all users and their libraries in the same post office. Users will not pull document across WAN links, and indexing is more efficient mainly because document references for local libraries will not be sent across the wire. This also speeds up the query process for documents. Local libraries are queried directly by the same POA that services the GroupWise client in client/server mode. Remote libraries are queried via a store-and-forward system, which means at least a few seconds of lag before search results are returned to users. The downside to implementing libraries on the same post office as the users is limited scalability, less fault tolerant, maintenance events take longer and it's less flexible.

Dedicated DMS Post Office Characteristics: Non-Dedicated DMS Post Office Characteristics
The Setup The Setup
Set up a separate Post Office

Set up DMS Post Office POA for "continuous" mode indexing (/gfinterval-0)

All libraries are in the DMS Post Office
One post office houses users, resources, libraries, etc.

All library databases are held within the same Post Office as the email databases
Pros Pros
High Fault Tolerance - if a messaging Post Office is down, document access is still available for other post offices

Highly Scalable - if needed several DMS post offices can be set up

Very Flexible for design changes -Libraries are not affected by post office moves or redesigns Maintenance and rebuilds are manageable for both messaging and DMS post offices
Least expensive

Less Administration
Cons Cons
Expensive - separate server(s) for DMS

Increased Administration

More complex GroupWise system due to more post offices
Not very scalable

Not fault tolerant, if the email post office fails, then document access fails for all other post office users

Less flexibility for design changes

Maintenance and rebuilds will take a very long time

Figure 4-3: Dedicated DMS Post Office

Figure 4-4: Non-Dedicated DMS Post Office

DESIGN TIP: The dedicated post office model is the preferred method of document management design. Even in small companies, it has great merit. Remember, currently documents are stored on one to many servers, and by the time DMS is fully implemented, the documents will be merged to one location. At least, that is the idea! Also, a post office can have a maximum of 255 libraries per post office. Each library can hold up to 4 Billion documents. That's a lot of data!! Try to keep the number of documents per library around 500,000 or less. It's easier to manage smaller pieces and remember indexing and scheduled events will take less time.

Volume of Information to Be Managed

Of all of the tasks involved with setting up the GroupWise library, estimating the volume of information to be managed is by far the most difficult. It is often impossible to know this figure in advance, but a good way to estimate is to look at the data directories currently on your network to gauge the total volume of information that is stored by your users. The GroupWise library is capable of handling the automatic deletion or archiving of documents as they reach a certain age, and this can actually decrease the overall space needed for your document storage. Novell estimates that, due to document compression, 5MB of space is needed in the document library for every 10MB of information that currently exists in your data directories. It is important to note, however, that this 50 percent savings is only in the actual size of the documents. There is still the overhead of indexing and the library databases to take into account. With indexing and databases, it is estimated that you will still gain a 30% decrease in the amount of space needed to store your document. Prior to 5.5, the indexing mechanism was less efficient, and many temporary index files were created (and often orphaned). One caveat here - once users learn about versioning, they may find it convenient to create multiple versions of a document, and effectively increase the overall space necessary for your documents.

Each document is deleted from its current location after it has been successfully imported to the library if you choose to move the documents. Thus, no substantial overhead is necessary to provide for a "temporary" directory for importing documents during a move. (See "Importing Documents" Section in Chapter 8.)

Chapter 4: Designing a Document Management System - Part 2

As will be discussed in more detail in the next section, "Document Storage Location," there is no requirement that the documents be stored on the same volume as the GroupWise post office that the library services. You should find a volume that will be able to handle your current document storage needs and allow for growth in the future.

Document Storage Locations

As briefly mentioned earlier, the GroupWise document storage location is not dependent on the post office location for your GroupWise system. GroupWise allows you to separate the document storage location from the post office. In fact, it is highly recommended that you do not store the documents with the post office directories; instead, you should assign specific document storage locations for your documents. Documents stored with the post office cannot be easily moved from under the post office without third party tools. If you uncheck the option to store the documents at the post office and create document storage areas for the library after documents have been created, the documents will remain under the post office directory until they are next opened. There is no native GroupWise tool that can move them en masse from under the post office into the new document storage area. Thus, if the library grows beyond the size of the post office volume, it would necessitate either adding additional hard drive space or reorganizing the system with third-party tools, which might not be necessary if the post office data stores and the library data were kept separate. In Figure 4-5, you can see a sample library and the data directories that can be associated with that particular library.

Figure 4-5: The Create GroupWise Library window showing available document storage areas

The documents can be stored in any location that is accessible to the Post Office Agent (POA) that is running for a particular post office. If you are accessing GroupWise in the client/server mode, document storage can be in a location that is totally inaccessible to the individual users. These GroupWise users do not need any file system rights to the storage areas to access their documents. The requests are handled by the POA process. If you will not be implementing client/server access to GroupWise, your users will require access rights to the storage directories; access rights to the storage directories are equivalent to the rights granted for the directories in which they would save their own files.

Each library storage area can only be used by one library in GroupWise 5.5. Earlier versions of GroupWise allowed for storage areas to be created by Post Office and theoretically shared by multiple libraries. This is no longer the case. If you are using a version of GroupWise prior to 5.5, do not assign more than one library to a storage location. Although this is "allowed" it is definitely not recommended.

Properties Necessary for Each Object

When a new GroupWise library is created, a list of predefined properties is available to the users for tracking and indexing the documents in the libraries. Figure 4-6 shows you a list of the default properties that are configured at the time the library is created.

Figure 4-6: The Document Properties Maintenance window

None of the document properties listed in Figure 4-6 can be deleted. However, new properties can be added to suit your organization's needs. For example, a site might choose to have a client name or client number added to the properties for the purpose of organizing and searching. You can create fields in various formats (date, string, number, binary) and define certain characteristics such as read-only, required, or hidden. Property types can be linked to a lookup table or be free form.

The Document Type property is prelinked to a lookup field called Document Type. Figure 4-7 shows an example of a Document Type lookup list.

Figure 4-7: The Document Type lookup list

Lookup lists allow you to control the data that is entered into a specific document profile. For example, you can choose to have a projects lookup list that shows all available projects that can be entered into the list. Lookup lists assist in the accuracy of search results by ensuring that all users are spelling certain phrases the same way and that the data is entered into fields consistently.

Although new fields can be added after the library is in use, it is much easier to add them when you create the library and to define the properties of your document management system up front, prior to implementation.

Rights Assignments to the Library

If you have multiple libraries available to a post office that contains diverse groups of users, you can assign access rights to the libraries according to individual UserIDs or distribution list affiliation. In addition, you have better control of the libraries. For example, if the human resources department must have strictly confidential documents, all rights can be taken away from the default rights assignment list, and only those users in the HR distribution list can have access to documents in a specific library. Figure 4-8 shows the rights assignment page for the Public Library. By default, all rights are given to the public group.

Figure 4-8: The GroupWise Library Rights page, showing all rights granted to the public user group

Users can be granted the following rights:

  • Add: Users can place new documents into the GroupWise library.

  • Change: Users can edit the existing documents in the library.

  • Delete: Users can delete documents that exist in the library.

  • View: Users can view and copy the document but cannot edit the existing document.

  • Designate official version: Users can designate a version other than the most recent as the official version.

  • Reset in-use flag: Users can reset the flag from in-use to available. This right should be granted only to users who understand the system and who won't try to reset the flag for documents that are actually in use. The flag should be reset only if GroupWise crashes during a session and believes that the document is still in use when actually it is not.

  • Manage (Librarian): Librarian rights can be given to multiple users who will have the authority to perform tasks on the library as a whole, even though the librarian does not have explicit rights to all of the documents. The librarian can replace a current document in the library with a document from backup and perform mass document operations, such as changing security, changing properties, moving documents to other libraries, copying documents, and deleting documents. Any actions taken by the librarian on documents owned by other users generates a notification message to the owner of the documents that changes have been made to the documents by the librarian.

You should take the time at this point in your library planning to decide which public rights you'll grant to your libraries. Remember, the public rights will be granted to all users in your GroupWise system! You should also decide which special rights should be granted to particular individuals or groups of users.

Cleanup Procedures for the Library

As mentioned in "Properties Necessary for Each Object" earlier in this chapter, you can manage the disk space and cleanup routines for your GroupWise library by assigning a life span to and deciding on a cleanup option for a document type. The three types of cleanup options are delete, archive, and retain. Each document type that is available within the GroupWise library can be defined with its own life span and cleanup option. Look at the existing document types created with the library (see Figure 4-7 ) as well as any document types you intend to create for the library and decide on a life span for them and the action that should be taken when that life span has expired.

Warning: Some of the predefined document types have a cleanup option of delete. You should pay close attention to these document types while you are planning your system and change the cleanup option to archive if you wish to keep the information.

Indexing concerns

In deciding on whether you need multiple libraries on the same post office, or centralized libraries for all post offices, indexing becomes a concern. Because of the "scheduled" nature of the QuickFinder process, it is best to keep libraries that need immediate indexing access segregated from those that can wait. Let's take an example. We have a busy law firm that needs immediate access to documents by all of the people involved in a case. This law firm puts four libraries on a single post office. The libraries are Administrative, Client Work, Human Resources and Accounting. The Administrative, Human Resources and Accounting libraries are all accessed by users who rarely share work with others. Their work is primarily handled from start to finish by the same employees. However, the Client Work library is shared by all of the legal staff of the company, and often a secretary will start a document, a paralegal will work on it, the attorney in charge will want to view it, etc.

In our particular scenario, QuickFinder will index these libraries in the order of their creation. So, once the Client Work library has been indexed, the POA will be required to index three other libraries before it comes back to indexing the Client Work library again. Even if the QuickFinder is set to index continually, it will not be indexing the Client Work library continually, and can cause searching delays for users. If you have libraries that need immediate QuickFinder access, it is best to isolate them to being the only library on a post office. (See "The Indexing Process" Section in Chapter 3)

Now that we have planned for our library system, let's move on to creating the system.

Library Design Types

Document management allows organizations to create a system based upon their needs. This means that libraries can be designed in many different ways. What matters most in library design, is that the design is beneficial to the users.

  • Libraries by department: For sites that have multiple departments on the same post office, it might be useful to have libraries for each of those departments as well. In smaller organizations, one library per post office is adequate for most sites' needs, however there are situations where a site wishes to have more than one library per post office, and chooses to divide these libraries along departmental lines.

  • Libraries by document type: Some sites might choose to have a "Correspondence" library, an "Agreements" library, etc. This happens most often when sites have needs for specialized properties sheets that vary the fields according to the type of document being profiled. This is necessitated due to the limitation in GroupWise, which allows for only one "document property page" per library.

    DESIGN TIP: Another thing to remember is that the GroupWise document type lookup table is specific to the post office. This means that all libraries in a single post office share the same document types

  • Libraries according to security: One way to enhance the security of a group of documents is to create a library that only a specified users can access. Then, when a user in the accounting department saves a document into the accounting library, she can rest assured that no one without accounting access will see the document, even if she inadvertently shares it with an inappropriate distribution list.
Additional Hardware

Aside from the disk-space considerations previously discussed, you may need additional server hardware to support your DMS design. If you are putting in a pilot document management library, then a small class server will work. If, however, you know the DMS installation will be a full implementation company-wide, you will want a powerful box. This is especially true if you are designing a dedicated post office for the libraries. Remember, all of the knowledge your company has will be held on these servers. Do not skimp on hardware and fault tolerance.

purchase info

Success with GroupWise Document Management
by Danita Zanre and Gregg A. Hinchman.

Purchase here: Caledonia Network Consulting.

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