Alfresco vs Plone
Last updated: December 01, 2016
Alfresco and Plone are popular open-source enterprise CMS solutions. Plone is easier to set up fairly complex workflows. Besides there are lots of plugings for workflows, and you can make your own quite easy
Alfresco is a Free enterprise content management system for Microsoft Windows and Unix-like operating systems. Alfresco includes a content repository, an out-of-the-box web portal framework for managing and using standard portal content, a CIFS interface that provides file system compatibility on Microsoft Windows and Unix-like operating systems, a web content management system capable of virtualizing webapps and static sites via Apache Tomcat, Lucene indexing, and Activiti workflow. The Alfresco system is developed using Java technology.
Plone is a free and open source content management system built on top of the Zope application server. In principle, Plone can be used for any kind of website, including blogs, internet sites, webshops and internal websites. It is also well positioned to be used as a document publishing system and groupware collaboration tool. The strengths of Plone are its flexible and adaptable workflow, very good security, extensibility, high usability and flexibility.
Alfresco vs Plone in our news:
2016 - Alfresco is available as a managed service on AWS to challenge OpenKM
Alfresco, a provider of enterprise content management (ECM) and business process management (BPM) software, has announced the early availability of its platform as a managed service hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS). As a result, users will be able to access the platform a single-tenant managed service hosted in an AWS Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). Alfresco is also making it easier to simplify cloud deployment for customers managing their own AWS infrastructure.
2016 - Alfresco integrates its ECM and BPM. Documentum is in panic
Alfresco announced a tight integration between its enterprise content management (ECM) platform, Alfresco One, and its Business Process Management (BPM) platform, Activiti. It's the climax to years of effort to pull the two platforms closer together, and rounds out the functionality of both to manage both business content and processes. Today’s announcement enables Alfresco to compete in Process and Collaboration Management (PCM) market. Alfresco is bringing to that market offers enterprises a broad range of content management and content driven processes. In effect, it combines BPM, ECM and records management, as well as offering integrations with capture and e-signature vendors.
2015 - Alfresco enhanced integration of its ECM and BPM systems. SharePoint should better react
Alfresco is enhancing its ECM and BPM platforms — Alfresco One and Activiti — with the release of new modules for analytics and media management and upgraded BPM capabilities. The release of these elements add new functionality to the platforms and pull BPM and ECM closer together. The upgrades build on Alfresco's open source BPM offering, which many enterprises were already incorporating into their apps as a pure BPM engine. Now reborn as an enterprise version, Activiti v1.0 provides integration with Alfresco Share, Alfresco’s collaboration tool. Alfresco also released an Analytics Module, which can sit with any of the Alfresco products. It offers new insights and reporting capabilities on content, process and people-related events.
2014 - Alfresco raises $45M to fight with EMC and Microsoft to keep up competition with LogicalDOC
UK-based Alfresco, an open source, enterprise content management startup, has received Series D funding of $45 million — that is more than twice as big as all of its previous rounds put together. Alfresco competes against legacy services like EMC Documentum and Microsoft SharePoint to help large organisations manage their disparate document storage both in the cloud and on-premises, and also offer versioning control and other compliance requirements across mobile, PC and other devices. Alfresco will use the new funding to step its business up a gear, with new sales and marketing efforts, and moves into more cloud-based services that could see it competing more directly also against the likes of Dropbox, Box and Huddle.
2011 - Alfresco created collaboration system for SMB. Liferay Portal is in panic
Alfresco's content management and collaboration system gained its big popularity thanks to the low pricing and availability of free open-source edition. But still it's pretty complicated solution that doesn't fit small business. But now Alfresco decided to fix this issue and released Alfresco Team which is designed for content collaboration in departments and small companies. It reminds Sharepoint Team Site or Box.net, but more functional and cheap. Users can create sites (workspaces) with different pages - document libraries, calendars, wiki, task lists, blogs, forums. Alfteso Team's functionality includes social tools (comments, ratings, Like buttons), activity streams, web-viewer (which lets you view even videos and audio files), mobile versions for iPhone and iPad, workflow-engine (implemented on Alfresco BPM), document converter (eg doc -> pdf).
It's also integrated to Google Docs. The document is stored in Alfresco Team can uploaded Google Docs, collaboratively edited there (in real time) and saved back to the Alfresco Team.
Alfresco Team has no separate free open-source version. It's features will be synced to Alfresco Community. However Alfresco Team provides the full-functional free version up to 5 users. The paid version costs $199/user/year. But if you have many users - this price may drop more than 2 times. You can use the solution either on your own server, or on Amazon EC2.
2010 - Alfresco launched free BPM engine
Alfresco loves to make problems for IT giants by its altruistic approach to business. For several years, this company is exerting pressure on ECM market leaders (Microsoft, IBM, Open Text, EMC, Oracle) by providing high-quality free/cheap open-source system Alfresco ECM. And now, the company decided to build communism in another, related IT field - BPM (Business Process Management). The new Alfresco product - Activiti is absolutely free, open-source BPM system, distributed under Apache License 2.0. To develop this system Alfresco (traditionally) enticed executives from competing project JBoss jBPM - Tom Baeyens and Joram Barrez. They were helped by the SpringSource (VMWare) developers. In result they built light-weight, fast and free product that is intended to revolutionize the BPM market.
In fact, Activiti - is not an independent application, but an engine that can be embedded into any business app (using the REST API). The idea is that any company already has existing business apps and it is more convenient to use them in automated business processes rather than a separate BPM tool. Therefore, Activity is designed around the fact, that process automation - is collaboration between business-users and IT specialists, that can integrate the BPM engine with one or several business apps. The system contains Activiti Cycle - a social tool for communication and collaboration between business-users and IT department:
In addition, Activity includes a simple user-interface (for managing tasks) and administrator modules (for modeling processes and monitoring applications). Note also that Activity supports BPMN - the standard for modeling business processes and can operate in scalable Cloud environments.
Activity is not tied to the Alfresco ECM, but is offered as an optional BPM engine for this system. There are also a number of other companies that have provided integrations. They include Spring and Liferay, as well as an iPad and iPhone client.
2010 - Document Management goes 2.0: Alfresco vs SharePoint
Document management systems (DMS) and related to them Enterprise Content Management systems (ECM) like all other IT solutions are gradually embracing Enterprise 2.0 technologies. This is a difficult move for them. Because DMS and ECM - are quite old and conservative technologies/systems and it's always difficult to change for old school. Besides the main DMS and ECM users are large companies and it's very difficult to upgrade them to the next level. Nevertheless, the progress goes on. Let's take a look on how the Enterprise 2.0 technologies are implemented in DMS and ECM nowadays:
DMS/ECM appeared quite long ago, so they started to implement Web-technologies even earlier than other IT systems. After all Web-interface reduces system costs, makes it easier to administer, provides access via the Internet. World market leaders Documentum and Open Text have switched to Web-technologies already in 90's. At the moment, all the leading ECM systems provide web interface or integrated with portals as a web-based front-end.
SaaS / Cloud
While the implementation of the web-technologies in DMS/ECM was quite smooth, the move to the Cloud had been blocked by the obvious problem - the content managed by these systems (files, documents, media ...) should also move to the cloud (and that may be gigabytes of data). And the problem is not only in one-time transfer. Using the cloud-based system users had to download document each time and then upload it back. However, recently the cloud storage became quite cheap. And most importantly, appeared online editors (like Google Docs) and online viewers (like Scribd). As a result, content can now be created in the cloud, edited and viewed in the cloud without the necessity to download/upload. Alfresco, Sharepoint, SpringCM and KnowledgeTree are most actively embracing the cloud.
Mobile business applications have blossomed with the move to the Cloud (because they are typically getting data from the cloud). And because the transition of DMS/ECM to the cloud was quite slow, the mobile access is also at the starting point in this sphere. The wide variety of mobile platforms also blocks the move to the mobile world. Therefore, even Sharepoint boasts a full mobile access only on Windows Phone. Perhaps the most advanced mobile access in ECM sphere is provided by Adobe LiveCycle, that is available on all major mobile platforms.
It is true that the "document" - the object around which DMS/ECM are built - is an outdated technology that was invented not for computers but for paper. So, now when refreshed staff better understands not the language of "documents" but the language of "social networking" - the documents are giving way to social collaboration tools. "Static" documents are replaced by "dynamic" wikis, discussions, ratings. Document management systems get profiles, blogs, microblogs, forums. Alfresco, Sharepoint, Open Text are becoming more like Facebook.
Mashups - applications that combine data from many sources via web API-interfaces. And ECM vendors - are the main driving force behind the implementation of these web APIs. A couple of years ago the leading ECM vendors (Microsoft, IBM, EMC, Open Text, Alfresco, Oracle, SAP) joined their forces to create an open web-standard CMIS, which enables business applications easily "communicate" with any data sources and create mashups.
2010 - Alfresco Enterprise 3.3 - CMIS support, integration with Drupal, Outlook and Google Docs
Alfresco has released the new version of its commercial open-source ECM system Alfresco Enterprise 3.3. The main feature of the new version is integration with other content systems via the CMIS interface. Alfresco is the first ECM-vendor that added full support for CMIS to its product. Using CMIS business applications can easily access content stored in the Alfresco database. The new version includes integration with Drupal, Outlook and Google Docs. Previously, Alfresco also introduced the integration with IBM products (Lotus Notes, WebSphere Portal, Lotus Quickr and Lotus Connections). In addition to the new integration opportunities, Alfresco 3.3 provides enhanced web interface of collaborative tool Alfresco Share. It features improved access control system, record management, custom lists (like in Sharepoint - for example, tasks, activities, companies) and Google-like search query syntax. We also note the new Alfresco Web Editor that allows non-technical staff to create and edit pages.
2008 - Alfresco Share - social collaboration tool on top of ECM to compete with Plone
Alfresco, the open-source ECM system is going to compete with Microsoft Sharepoint. The new version Alfresco 3.0 features the Web interface designed for collaboration and social interaction Alfresco Share. Its capabilities are very similar to Sharepoint: Document Library with a comments and tags, people search in addition to content search, Intranet / Extranet workspaces, activity streams, profiles and customizable home pages, calendars, wiki, blogs and forums. It also provides integration with MS Office via support of Sharepoint Protocol. In addition to the new collaboration tools the new Alfresco includes lightweight development tool Surf for designing user interfaces and automate them using Alfresco Web Scripts.
2008 - Adobe wants to manage enterprise content to challenge SharePoint
Long ago Adobe invented PDF - the format designed for document collaboration. Then for this format Adobe created a set of auxiliary tools. One of these tools, Adobe LiveCycle, was designed for building web forms that save entered information directly to PDF-files. And now, on the basis of this product and in partnership with Alfresco, Adobe has released its own ECM solution Adobe LiveCycle ES that will compete with MS Sharepoint, Open Text and Oracle Content Management. Alfresco - is a very ambitious company that is going to revolutionize the ECM market ruled by Microsoft, IBM, EMC, Open Text, SAP and Oracle. Alfresco is well-known for its open-source strategy. And now they are partnering with the "big brother" Adobe. Adobe LiveCycle ES is intended to automate all paper work - from form input to document approval and executions. And everything is accessible via a web browser. The system functionality includes:
1. Data Input
2. Electronic signature
3. Printing Documents (to pdf)
4. Business Process automation
5. Content Management, including:
- Electronic archive
- Document search and organization
- Access control
- Version Control
- Check in / check out
- Forums and blogs for collaboration
The system is powered by Adobe platform (pdf, flash, flex, air) and allows developers quickly and easily customize the solution for individual company requirements, and create really nice and convenient features (like web form with video assistant).