Document management

Document management systems are used to track and store electronic documents. These systems can capture, manage, store, preserve, deliver and dispose of documents across an enterprise. Catalyst's chosen document management solution is Alfresco.


Alfresco is an open source platform for business critical document management. It automates document-intensive business processes and, through sophisticated user and role management, enables large-scale collaboration across businesses or sectors. It is used by a wide range of businesses including universities, NASA and the European Union. Alfresco’s strength comes from its carefully designed application framework, based on core open standards with multiple extension and customisation hooks. Alfresco is a mature, robust content management ecology with an active open source following.

A default Alfresco installation comes with a suite of out-of-the-box components and modules which comprise a fully functional application. There are also a number of standard interfaces (APIs), which can be extended to handle new or unusual requirements, thanks to the open source licensing of the product. These APIs are provided to access core repository services and extend the facilities that Alfresco provides. The environment is structurally separated into modules, which allows decoupling and customisation of functionality and user interfaces to suit specific uses and process flows.

As a document repository, Alfresco provides the following services:

  • Storage and retrieval are provided by one or more persistent file systems and databases.
  • Indexing and search services are provided by the built-in Solr search engine
  • Security is highly configurable and granular. The authentication subsystem can synchronise with external user directories, such as LDAP or Active Directory. Alfresco can be configured to integrate with most single sign on systems and provides extension points for additional SSO integration if needed.
  • Metadata management services, including point of capture automatic extraction, are highly configurable and easily extended.
  • Configuration of custom document types with type-specific metadata.
  • Document processing workflows that can be initiated by event-based triggers or run as scheduled tasks.