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Novell Vibe Use Case: Document Lifecycle



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August 20, 2010 12:31 pm

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About Document Lifecycle

From creation, life to end-of-life, all documents have their
own lifecycle. A new product release might cause a document refresh,
significant rewrite, or end-of-life that leads to the creation of
a completely new document. Legal documents, such as contracts, might
simply expire after a specific set time. Being able to track documents
throughout their lifecycle can be a difficult challenge for any
organization.

Challenge

One of the main recurring tasks during a document lifecycle is
the need for periodic review. Reviews can be conducted to look for
needed changes or to discover and eliminate potential document errors.
Some document reviews might be simply to periodically reinforce
instructions or procedures that people in the organization need
to follow. A significant challenge associated with document review
is making sure that the right documents gets reviewed at the right
time. With so many different documents circulating around organizations
in both paper and electronic format, keeping track of them all can
be extremely difficult.

Maintaining the proper access right for a document as it transitions
through the different stages of its lifecycle can also be challenging.
For example, during an editorial process, after an author submits
an article to an editor for review, the author’s access rights might
need to be changed to prevent the author from making any further edits
without the editor’s approval. If the editor passes the article
back to the author to make changes, the author will need to be re-granted
access rights to modify the document. The article might go back
and forth between the author and editor several times in this manner
before it’s ready to publish. When it is finally published, the
article’s access rights will need to be changed again so neither
the author or editor can make any further changes.

Additionally, at some time during a document’s lifecycle,
it might be determined that it needs to be reverted back to a previous
version. This need might be caused by errors introduced into the
latest version or simply because its owners decide they prefer the
way an older version reads. To make it easier to revert back to
older versions and eliminate the need to rewrite the document into
its desired state, organizations need a way to maintain and keep available
all the different versions that a document will have as it passes
through its various lifecycle stages.

Another important aspect of document lifecycle management
is the need to move, archive, or terminate a document after a certain
period of time. Keeping track of when this is supposed to happen
and where the documents are supposed to be stored can be difficult.
This becomes even more problematic with paper documents that can easily
get lost or misplaced. Trying to relocate a lost paper document
can be nearly impossible if it requires searching through hundreds
of thousands of other paper documents and files. While electronic
documents should be easier to track, it’s not always the case. Is
the document stored on a user’s laptop or as an e-mail attachment?
Is it stored somewhere where all people who need access to it can access
it no matter where they are located?

Tracking a document’s whereabouts can be further complicated
as the time span for individual lifecycle stages increase. While
process lengths might vary from a few minutes to hours to years,
the longer the process duration the more difficult it becomes to
determine a document’s current or final storage location. Lengthy
lifecycle stages can also upset the overall efficiency and speed
of a process. As more time passes, people are less likely to remember
when a document review or termination is due. If several years
pass since the last project stage completed (i.e., document completion),
many of the original team members might no longer be associated
with the project or organization as a whole, leaving no one left
to remember what needs to be done with the documents (i.e., archived documents)
in the next stage.

Novell Solution

Novell Vibe makes it easy to manage all your document lifecycles
through automated workflow processes. Team members have the ability
to create workflows specific for their team’s need, while Novell
Vibe Administrators have the the ability to create enterprise-wide
workflows. You can create workflows that manage and automate an entire
document lifecycle, or just a few stages. Workflows can be applied
to single or multiple workspaces, giving you the flexibility to
address the unique requirements of different document lifecycles.

Workflows in Novell Vibe can be used to move documents
to different folders as needed, such as automatically transitioning
documents to an archive folder after 6 months. Workflows can also
be configured to automatically send reminder notifications after
a set time period in order to remind people when a document review or
change is due. Notifications can also be used to let users know
when a document lifecycle is scheduled to terminate.

During any workflow process, you have the ability to allow documents
to be edited. Whenever a document is edited, Novell Vibe automatically
saves the previous version for reference and to allow document reversion
as necessary

To keep documents safe and secure throughout their lifecycle
you can incorporate access controls into more advanced Novell Vibe
workflows. Access control let you ensure that only certain people
can view or edit a document. As needed, you can configure workflows
to set or modify access controls at different stages of the overall process.
Workflows can also provide activity reports as different people
access or update a document. In addition to access control, advanced
workflows in Novell Vibe allow for parallel workflows processes
with multiple and simultaneous approvals.

Results

Novell Vibe lets you proficiently and securely manage every
stage of of your documents’ lifecycles – from creation, life to
end-of-life. It gives you the flexibility to customize workflows
to meet the unique needs of all your different lifecycles. It automatically
transitions documents from their different lifecycle stages, including
physically moving them to specific storage locations. Novell Vibe
makes it easy to keep track of and find any of your documents –
including previous versions – regardless of their current lifecycle stage.
Its automated reminders and notifications keep all stakeholders
on task and up-to-date through every stage of the document lifecycle,
ensuring documents progress through each stage in an efficient manner.
Access controls in Novell Vibe workflows ensure that only authorized individuals
can view or edit documents throughout the lifecycle’s different
stages. Novell Vibe brings efficiency and secure accessibility
to document lifecycle management.

Click here to view the full list of use cases.

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Disclaimer: This content is not supported by Novell. It was contributed by a community member and is published "as is." It seems to have worked for at least one person, and might work for you. But please be sure to test it thoroughly before using it in a production environment.

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