If you want to really understand how the Nuxeo Platform supports innovative content management applications, just look to its partners. Klyff Harlley, co-founder of Efficeon do Brasil, is one such partner who has built plenty of solutions on top of the Nuxeo Platform over the last four years. We caught up with him to discuss his latest project for the Brazilian Congress.
Before we talk about the project itself, here’s a little background on Efficeon's team. They started working with the Nuxeo Platform in 2009 when they were employees of the CommerzBank (a German Bank) in Berlin. The bank was using an old version of Alfresco and when the time came to upgrade, the versions were so different that they decided to look around see what else was out there. Within a week of looking they found Nuxeo and started working on some small projects. Today, they have a number of internal projects that use the Nuxeo Platform.
They left the bank in 2010 and returned to Brazil to manage an IT area of a Brazilian BPO (business process outsourcing) company (which is also Nuxeo partner).
With the BPO company they built a number of projects using the Nuxeo Platform. They quit this company and in 2012, started their own consulting firm with a few investors - Efficeon do Brasil. As a Nuxeo Partner, they have over ten projects built on top of the Nuxeo Platform.
Last year, Efficeon competed in a public bid for a project for the National Congress of Brazil. To be specific, the project is for the Chamber of Deputies, a federal body and the lower house of the National Congress of Brazil (Klyff told us that the Brazilian Congress is similar to the US Congress).
Competing against major content management vendors like OpenText, IBM and Alfresco, and a few Brazilian firms, Efficeon was able to show that it could build the required solution in half the time as the others and build to some specific records management standards. Efficeon showed a clear roadmap for a solution that was scalable, both vertically and horizontally. Their prior experience building smart capture/scanning solutions on the Nuxeo Platform (which use OCR typing and automatic classification after digitization) also played a key role. It also helped that the Chamber was required to select an open source solution if there was one that met all the requirements.
Prior to starting this project, the Chamber was using an in-house solution to control the paper flow (it wasn’t completely electronic). But with so many documents moving through the Chamber, they were losing control. Klyff said the Chamber spent two years writing the technical requirements and use cases for a new platform. They even had a law from 2002 that obligated them to have this solution.
SmartECM, which is built on top of the latest long term support version of the Nuxeo Platform (LTS 5.8), supports the Chamber’s need for electronic records management, following Brazilian ERM standards which are based on DOD15.2 and MoReq.
Klyff said there are more than 13,000 users in the Brazilian Congress who work with documents, of which 5,000 could use the SmartECM solution every day. He said although this is an internal solution to start, it will potentially help over 200 million Brazilians in the future (indirectly).
The first version, implemented in January of 2014, is an internal application supporting content management and electronic capture. In August, Efficeon will deliver electronic records management and then in January 2015, they will deliver a set of web services that will connect public facing services.
To give you an idea of the scale of the solution, it runs on four servers in a cluster, load balanced. Each server has 8 core processors with 64 GB of memory (Efficeon’s experience with the Nuxeo Platform helped here). Efficeon said hardware was never a problem for the Chamber, finding a solution that was right was the challenge.
As a side note, here’s an interesting use of Nuxeo Drive. There are too many users of the SmartECM solution to give each one their own installation of Nuxeo Drive (too heavy a load on the network). Instead, they added a button on the documents that use Nuxeo Drive features. For example, a user wants to modify a document from the browser. They click the button, the solution connects to Nuxeo Drive in the backend and downloads the selected document (not the entire folder). Drive is used to control the opening, versioning, etc. Klyff said it was very important to have Nuxeo Drive, but they couldn’t allow users to connect entire workspaces or folders that could contain hundreds or more documents.
Efficeon acknowledges that they had some challenges in the project, but were able to work through them. Overall the project has been a success. Klyff attributes this to their proficiency with the Nuxeo Platform - “We use it every day. In Brazil, if you are looking for Nuxeo experience in Google, you will find us!”
We trust Nuxeo a great deal. We know what we can build on top of it. Like any solution we have some limits (e.g. Four years ago we needed workflows in the Nuxeo Platform, but it wasn’t supported, so we built it. But when Nuxeo came out with its own, we switched. We trust Nuxeo to know that if they don’t have something, we can build it and improve it because it allows us to have these crazy ideas.”
Efficeon said that Nuxeo is almost a religion. They’ve been asked to use other solutions and while they say they can, they can prove Nuxeo can do the job. And in the end - they do.