Founded in 1911, Vidal is now a major player in Europe in the field of medical informatics. About 140 employees in France develop and provide health professionals with information on health products, based on validated repositories, and design tools for decision support to foster proper therapeutic use. As a result, Vidal manages a large volume of data, structured as well as unstructured.
Archiving High Volumes of Documents
Vidal faces many constraints in building its documentation repository which influence the choice of technology for the content management backend of its systems.
The first type of constraint is regulatory, and has been set up to track the source documentation. To comply with this, Vidal must maintain archives for several decades. In practice, these archives cover nearly 100 years of documentation.
The second constraint for Vidal is in the area of a document management system, and concerns the volume of documents to submit annually, and the variety of formats. Vidal processes thousands of reference documents, which are all in different formats, both structured and unstructured. The relationships between the structured data must also be tracked.
Finally, the documents stored in the Vidal repository must be easily retrievable by the many Vidal publications, which exist in both paper and electronic formats. In addition, each publication uses data from multiple repositories.
From Documentum to Nuxeo
After using Documentum for several years, Vidal decided to abandon this solution, because the support and the cost were not adapted to its budget and the size of the company. After developing prototypes with both Nuxeo and Alfresco, Vidal selected the Nuxeo Platform for the project, based primarily on the strength of the extensive set of Nuxeo APIs.
We selected the Nuxeo Platform as our content management back-end because it integrates well with our development methods. We use agile development with scrum. The level of modularity offered by Nuxeo's bundle system is essential for our incremental development processes.
A Document Management Engine
Users never access the Nuxeo user interface directly, whether for creating or consulting documents. The Vidal Desktop, built on Eclipse RCP (Rich Client Platform), was integrated with the Nuxeo Platform to serve as the user interface.
The rich client developed by Vidal allows querying of multiple sources of information, while providing a uniform user experience. The Vidal Desktop will be deployed on the usersʼ computers with the set of plugins it needs, based on their access requirements for the user profile.
More Innovation to Come
Vidal has started the gradual replacement of its legacy content management applications with applications based on Nuxeo technologies.
The next projects will involve the use of Nuxeo for managing Vidal documents for medication, and the migration of the reference documents that arrive at Vidal at a rate of several thousand per quarter.
One of the features that Vidal will be implementing very soon is the asynchronous replication between repositories, to ensure data security in case of a problem at one of the companyʼs local offices.