Innovation & Technology

The innovation pipeline: Doxis4 Content Service Bus 4.0

| Dominik Adams

However you choose to look at it, there's no escaping the fact that the digital transformation is now a reality. The resulting shift in customer and supplier expectations is placing ever-greater demands on companies: more customer orientation, faster processes, better data protection, guaranteed compliance, more knowledge. Business software that wants to cope with all this must develop agilely and flexibly, rather than abruptly making drastic changes every couple of years. Doxis4 has been showing how it's done at many companies for several years now. Version 4.0 marks a new milestone for the ECM platform.

Doxis4 CSB 4.0

An ECM platform like Doxis4 forms the basis for all kinds of applications and business processes spanning different departments and often involving multiple systems. As such, updates and extensions are an instrumental factor. Yet, while updates for other ECM systems and Microsoft SharePoint can constitute a semi-migration to new technology that is incompatible with the old setup, Doxis4 is different. New Doxis4 releases, for example, are always downwardly compatible. New clients continue to work with old servers and vice versa. Rather than having to install entirely new product versions, which can potentially bring entire businesses to a standstill, Doxis4 enables a "soft" transition during operations.

Innovation and continuity

On top of this, Doxis4 is always being improved and extended. All existing services, applications and components of the Doxis4 platform are continually developed year in, year out, and new ones added regularly. The hybrid BPM services are a prime example: Developed completely from scratch, they were added to the platform in 2015. More recent additions include the cognitive services. These have the potential to automate a great many routine company tasks and become indispensable assistants to users.

Innovation and continuity are the driving forces behind Doxis4 product development. In adopting this strategy, SER's goal is to ensure that customers always work with up-to-date Doxis4 technology — over several years and even decades — to fully maximize their return on information. That's why SER regularly asks its customers what they want from their technology and evaluates new technological possibilities, using the findings to continuously evolve the ECM platform. It constantly adapts to shifting demands and expands into new functional areas without compromising its existing strengths. Customers benefit from a stable foundation for live business processes along with frequent opportunities to implement improvements and adopt new digital applications.

The advantages of the incremental model? New platform functions are available quickly and can be immediately incorporated into production applications — on-premises, in the cloud, or a combination of the two.

CSB 4.0: Over 200 extensions and improvements

As the first solution to unify ECM, BPM and content analytics on one platform, Doxis4 differs substantially from other ECM products. The goal of this product strategy is to enable companies to implement diverse business processes on a single platform, stay fully compliant in addition, and get more from their information by applying intelligent technologies. In 2019, the heart of the Doxis4 content services platform, the Content Service Bus (CSB), reached another milestone with the release of version 4.0. The new version contains over 200 extensions and improvements for Doxis4.

In keeping with the strategy, most of the updates relate to the content, process and cognitive services on the platform. The new Reporting Service functions, including drill down, zoom and the analysis of KPIs for system monitoring, make system analysis even more accurate and easier to manage. A multitude of improvements and updates has also been rolled out in the underlying architecture of the platform, or the "engine room." Even with one of the most scalable ECM platforms in the world, we never stop pursuing ways to improve our platform.

Content services: Good, better, Doxis4

The Doxis4 platform's content services — for archiving, document management, electronic files and much more — meet the strictest standards. Numerous successful bids, customer reviews and recognition from international analysts such as Gartner and Forrester are testimony to this. Nevertheless, these content services also continue to evolve in line with new and ever-changing needs. In Doxis4 CSB 4.0, one key focus is on making it even easier for users to comply with the EU GDPR. Take the new "privileged" deletion tool, for example, which allows documents containing personal data to be deleted on request — even before the end of the legal retention period. Improving content federation options was another key area. The aim here is to eliminate information silos and make it easier to structure business processes across multiple systems.

Process services: Even more flexibility

Doxis4 CSB 4.0 also puts the spotlight on improving BPM and workflow functions. For example, the new release includes another process engine — BPMN2 — specifically for complex process models, as well as a DMN engine that can be used to model decision tables and process rules without modifying the process models. These additions give companies even more ways to digitally model their business processes. Further new options, such as a workflow-based authorization feature, make it easier to set up specific workflows — say, granting temporary access to personnel eFiles — and ensure that users can always perform the tasks assigned to them.

Cognitive services: Transforming gathered data into knowledge

The cognitive services are some of the newest elements of the platform. Not only do they facilitate the automation of routine tasks; they also proactively assist users in their work activities and glean new knowledge for the company from existing data and documents. They do this by combining various content analytics and automation services with the well-established Doxis4 Reporting Service. Doxis4 is the first ECM platform to integrate content analytics methods into the platform's core, allowing them to be deployed not only for inbound mail scenarios, but also for all information and processes managed by Doxis4. They are instrumental in turning ECM systems from simple document management platforms into holistic knowledge management solutions. The same goes for the integrated Doxis4 Reporting Service — the main advantage here, compared with external BI systems, is that, in Doxis4, everything is connected to everything else. “Drill downs” from diagrams into the underlying eFiles, tasks or documents are a good example of this and a major new feature of Doxis4 CSB 4.0.

Usability: Focused on the user

New functions are of little use if they cannot be found or understood by users. The larger the functional spectrum an ECM platform covers, the more diverse the users are who work with the solution. That's why optimizing usability for a wide range of tasks, user types and work locations is another logical focus of the evolution of Doxis4. This primarily affects the Doxis4 clients, which are continually being adapted and improved. However, because the platform is the basis for all client functionalities, the enhancements in Doxis4 CSB 4.0 also improve the overall usability. For example, Doxis4 is the first ECM platform to support the new Adaptive Cards standard from Microsoft, an exciting usability concept previously seen almost exclusively in project and task management solutions. Adaptive Cards offer an agile, task-oriented way of working that harmonizes well with the hybrid workflows in Doxis4, for instance in project work, in customer service, or for issue tracking. A completely redeveloped REST API makes Doxis4 functions available, e.g. for in-house portal solutions or integration with other systems. Ultimately, companies benefit the most from the new possibilities that the Doxis4 platform offers them.

To sum it up: Doxis4 CSB 4.0 marks a major milestone on the innovation journey for SER customers, but it is far from being the final destination. The Doxis4 ECM platform continually evolves with the demands of business and the market. When you choose to work with SER and Doxis4, you also choose an innovation pipeline that never runs dry.

Company-wideIntegrationECM platformComplianceTechnologyBPM & workflowsClassification & ExtractionUsability / UX

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