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Back to the 2023 documation trade show

  • Date de l’événement Apr. 11 2023
  • Temps de lecture min.

Documation is THE trade show for information management. Conferences, demonstrations, workshops... Once again this year, Smile was at Documation, held from 21 to 23 March at Porte de Versailles.

What is Documation?

Documation is THE trade show for information management. Conferences, demonstrations, workshops... this unmissable event for document management players is an opportunity for companies and public organisations to discuss the issues of knowledge sharing and distribution, electronic archiving, file and document management...
For the 2023 edition, our experts co-hosted a conference with the publisher Hyland on the integration of EDM with extranets and the issues raised by the deployment of external document spaces. The pharmaceutical company Biogaran also came to give feedback on the integration of their Alfresco EDM with their professional website.
If you were unable to attend, we tell you all about it in the following article!

1 - Why deploy external document spaces?

The EDM is often known as a solution for internal company documents. But its role as a pivotal point in the document information system makes it the ideal candidate for sharing documents with the outside world as well.

Whether for customers (B2C, B2B), partners, suppliers, etc., a large quantity of documents are exchanged every day for a wide variety of uses: this may concern contractual and financial documentation (contracts, invoices) but also technical documentation (electricity or water plans, etc.).

In such a project, the document component is often found within an ecosystem of numerous application components: in fact, business applications (ERP, CRM, etc.) will push data towards the EDM, and the documents will be consumed by these same applications, or by "Extranet" type solutions. The EDM solution then becomes the hub of all these applications, making it possible to meet the challenge of document governance. The EDM also makes it possible to monitor the life cycle of documents, from their creation to their validation, and even their archiving for documents with probative value.

The deployment of document spaces to populations outside the company also makes it possible to facilitate exchanges with customers and the network. This avoids numerous round trips by email, multiple sending of the same document, transfer of the wrong version of a document, etc. Through simple functions such as email notifications, it is possible to notify recipients of the availability of a new document, and avoid the need to send a document to a different address. Document, and avoid overloading the (already saturated) mailboxes. This is a good way to be digitally responsible!

Finally, it is important to guarantee sufficient confidentiality and security of documents gathered in the same repository: access control (authentication) and rights on documents to guarantee a perfect seal between third-party users.

2 - What are the principles to be respected when deploying this type of space?

The deployment of a document space to the outside world implies choosing a solution that meets certain fundamental criteria:


a. Robustness

Opening up the DMS to the outside world requires putting in place the infrastructure and architecture that can handle the demands. Giving access to a wider population increases the number of API calls or connections. The solution must therefore be able to manage data volumes, but also load peaks (e.g.: larger consultations at the end of the month at the time of invoicing).

b. Accessibility

To provide access to internal and external users, it is possible to use the interfaces proposed by default by the solutions (ideal for rapid implementation). However, for certain projects, the use of RAD (Rapid Application Development) components allows for the creation of "custom" portals that are as close as possible to the needs of the customers/users;


b. Interoperability

The opening up of the EDM is essential to interconnect with the tools that will push or consume documents and data. It is therefore important to choose a solution that has APIs and/or connectors with leading market solutions (SAP, Salesforce, etc.).


c. Authentication

As already mentioned, security is one of the cornerstones of DMS projects, especially those that are externally oriented. Solutions with embedded systems for authentication will allow you to control access to the solution. The ability to integrate multiple directories can also be very useful if you have multiple external user sources.


d. Securing

Lastly, fine-tuned management of authorisations makes it possible to ensure the confidentiality of data. Traceability also enables precise auditing of actions and activities on documents.


3 - Feedback from Biogaran: a professional website for 20,000 pharmacists in France

Biogaran is a pharmaceutical company founded in 1996. A forerunner in generic drugs, it now has nearly 20,000 pharmacist customers.

This represents (for the year 2022 alone) more than 90,000 contracts and more than 450,000 invoices to be stored, classified, indexed and made available to pharmacists.

In 2019, Biogaran has chosen to implement a cross-functional reference tool. Until then, documents were scattered throughout the various business applications and sent to customers by email (sometimes with duplicate mailings).


The Alfresco DMS has been used for a variety of purposes, including

  • Provision of contracts and invoices: these are generated from business applications (SAP, Salesforce) and stored in the EDM. For both internal and external users, the EDM is black box, meaning that they consult the documents from their business tools (internal) or the professional site (pharmacists)
  • The provision of visuals of medicine boxes: this enables the laboratory to comply with regulations to combat drug fraud and to provide pharmacists with an idea of the space taken up by the boxes in pharmacy cupboards. The visuals offer different formats and different visuals of the same medicine: view of the box from different angles, packaging (blister pack, syrup, etc.)


The Biogaran EDM interacts strongly with other IS applications:

  • CRM
  • Customer database
  • Extranet (professional website)
  • Notification system...

These systems not only push or consume documents, they also allow the indexing of customer documents on the EDM to be completed via data sharing.

Although the use cases deployed do not yet involve health data, Biogaran has also chosen to deploy its EDM on an HDS Cloud (Health Data Hosting) to anticipate future developments of the solution and the need to have a compliant infrastructure.


For internal users, the gains were as follows:

  • Centralization and simplified sharing of documents
  • Document security
  • Traceability of access
  • Reduction in the number of copies of documents


For customers :

  • Improving communication with customers
  • Setting up differentiated services for customers
  • Simplification of data sharing with users
  • Compliance with regulations through the sharing of product images

4 - Conclusion

Making documents available is one of the first building blocks deployed in a complete digital transformation project (end to end). The "EDMs" supporting this opening up are springboards towards more dematerialisation and a first step towards the digitalisation of the customer relationship.


We can imagine other services to be provided on these external document spaces:

  • Simple sharing of information or news
  • Dematerialisation of requests with self-service forms
  • Automation of customer/partner processes with Workflows
  • Processing of complex requests with Case Management
  • Robotisation of tasks resulting from requests with RPA
  • Many other possibilities: reporting, composition of new documents, AI...