For in-house document management tools that the R&D community can use to store, search and retrieve in-house technical know-how the Innovation Research Interchange ran a survey of its members in the spring of 2018. What they report is:
Confluence from Atlassian Likes: Great. Easy to edit, search, and share. A good primary sharing/development tool. Long term archive and sign-off is through SAP. Dislikes: We need separate systems for authoring and easy sharing, then a different system for regulatory signoff and archive.
EDCAR Likes: It meets Legal’s needs regarding document retention. Dislikes: Difficult to locate older files.
ETQ Reliance Likes: It is customizable. Dislikes: The current product was not meant to be a document management solution, specifically to log and track customer correspondence/direction and contract required deliverables. The product was customized and re-engineered to meet some document needs. There is limited connectivity within the organization and unable to allow customer access (e.g., license seats cost).
Google Search Appliance to search Livelink Likes: Works fantastic, easily searchable. Dislikes: Unfortunately the GSA we use is being discontinued.
IHS Goldfire Likes: Can search our internal SharePoint for contextual language. Dislikes: Still kind of clunky and we have issues with the way we have set up.
Lotus Notes from IBM Likes: Reflects our processes. Dislikes: Needs a lot of improvements
Microsoft SharePoint Likes: Security via Info Rights Management; easy to use with accessibility and customizability. Robust and flexible. Security features. Good for project documentation, articles, etc. Dislikes: SharePoint solution is not well liked, or work well on the Macintosh platform. There are other solutions that are more cross-platform, more user friendly, and more modern. Not a very intuitive product. Requires hand-holding by IT to get the most out of the system. Hard to organize and search, significant effort to properly tag, limited controls for IP
OpenText Likes: Familiar environment; user-friendly; enterprise-level support. Global, one source for reports and history of efforts, easy to learn how to use and retrieve documents. Dislikes: A little cumbersome
Oracle database Likes: Easily searchable, information security (approvals required to view docs). Intralinks is used to encrypt the information. Dislikes: None
Yammer Likes: Can be kept as archive for future reference. Dislikes: Not easy to search.
Wikipedia Likes: If you use a true Wiki it is free form and very searchable. Dislikes: Our corporate IT moved our Wiki to a SharePoint version, and put several layers of security around it that makes it a bit cumbersome.
PTC Windchill Likes: Global configuration. Good for engineering/scientific/product data. Dislikes: Not intuitive. Windchill interface is a bit clunky with a decent learning curve
General observations on document management systems were that they have evolved over the years. SharePoint is being used ubiquitously, due to its ease of early initial entry and integration with Microsoft Office applications, for everyday and administrative functions. To date, it has not been ideal for “heavyweight” document management, including search and retrieval functions. OpenText is being used to store documentation related to FDA regulatory submissions, and it has been configured to meet 21 CFR 11 requirements. Oracle WebCenter is used as a document storage function for research projects, including unstructured data, due to its integration with our Oracle ERP system used for Project Management. Each has their pros/cons and it depends on the Use Case. Most Users want something that is easy and intuitive to use, but there are trade-offs between capabilities and ease of use. If the User will only access the system infrequently, some of the more sophisticated systems are less intuitive to learn. Training and good support are essential to success.