Alfresco: An open-source ECM alternative for SharePoint

Companies that can't meet Microsoft's price for its SharePoint content management package might want to try Alfresco.

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In any business organization, the need to effectively communicate and collaborate in a timely manner is very important. Contending with mobile workers and shifting schedules, many businesses look toward enterprise content management (ECM) systems such as Microsoft's SharePoint. Their purpose is to allow users within organizations to collaborate and share work inside of a commonly accessed website framework.

SharePoint creates sites to be used by workgroups, committees, or a whole department of workers. The choices are flexible, depending on your organization's needs -- you can organize SharePoint sites however you wish in order to create document libraries, data lists (which in turn can be task lists, agendas and discussion boards), wikis and personalized work sites for users.

With its tight integration with Microsoft Office and long exposure in the ECM marketplace, SharePoint is widely regarded as the gold standard in ECM systems, but its quality is reflected in its price, which can be considerable.

Fortunately, SharePoint isn't the only game in town. In this review, I take a close look at SharePoint's top open-source competitor: Alfresco. The goal is to see if Alfresco can perform at SharePoint's level -- or even exceed it.

I also look at three document management alternatives -- Box.net, Glasscubes and Google Docs -- which aren't on the same level as SharePoint or Alfresco, but which could provide an easier (and adequate) way for smaller companies to handle one of ECM's primary functions.

Alfresco: An open-source ECM

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