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ISO 9001-Compliant Document Control?

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the where-did-you-put-the-oh-here-it-is dept.

IT 152

SmoothBreaker writes "Coming into a new company, I have been tasked with sourcing Document Control software to meet ISO 9001 standards. From everything I can find, ISO places no requirements on the software itself, aside from maintaining control of documentation and process. This was discussed eleven years ago. I'd like software that allows intuitive use for our less savvy users, and in a perfect world, graphical access to previous revisions of a document. I've used Microsoft's SharePoint, which the higher-ups like simply because it's Microsoft, but thankfully they trust their Tech Department to find the cream of the crop. What experience do you have with this kind of software, what would you recommend using, and what should I avoid?"

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You just started here (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31790118)

Did I meet you yesterday? When you transferred to this company from India? If you need help, just walk over and ask.

Re:You just started here (3, Funny)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#31791010)

Why can't YOU walk over here, you prick? I knew this job wouldn't go well. Fucking asshats. ;)

KT (4, Interesting)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790136)

You might look into KnowledgeTree. It's open source.

Re:KT (4, Informative)

solevita (967690) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790188)

I clicked reply to say that very thing. We use KT here at work, is very nice, and we're not the only ones [] . We'd also looked at Alfresco in the past, but KT won on a number of factors, including ease of use and installation.

Re:KT (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790440)

What he said but would add this:

If you're already using MS SharePoint, then I'd stick with it. No point making people relearn a whole new program. However if you're not currently using anything, then yes go with the free (as in beer) option.

Re:KT (2, Interesting)

solevita (967690) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790716)

However if you're not currently using anything, then yes go with the free (as in beer) option.

We pay for KT, but the free (as in Open Source) nature allows for some nice things, like integration with Zimbra [] .

Re:KT (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790450)

I've heard good word about KT from other folks too, although I've never used it myself. Sharepoint is not bad, but it locks things into it, too. It's a major pain to get things out of sharepoint once it's in, and why many companies still use sharepoint - even ones that don't want to use MS products.

Re:KT (2, Interesting)

NuclearRampage (830297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790522)

We're using KT and with the ease of setup and simple to use API's that allow us to automate some tasks I'd highly recommend it. We tried Alfresco and after a couple of days of setup became fed up with it.

Re:KT (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31790808)

I like Agile. It's expensive, but I've used it as document control for military contracts, NASA contracts, measurement instrumentation, and small scale s.

Whatever system you chose, make your change control easy to change. It's change control, not change prevention. If you can't check in a document and get it approved in an afternoon, your implementation is wrong.

Start with Documentum for comparison (1)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 4 years ago | (#31791198)

Documentum has been the leader in document management systems for years, the down side is that it can be expensive, difficult to program (docbasic???) and only runs (really) well on Oracle database (do NOT run it on SQLServer).

Filenet is not a bad system, but it has gotten hella expensive since IBM started calling it Enterprise Content Manager.

Sharepoint is a Documentum killer, in about two more releases. My team makes pretty good use of it, but I honestly am not impressed by the overall performance, configurability (expect to code webapps to meet difficult requirements) and the data model behind 'lists'

If you really do not want your management to consider Sharepoint, then arrange a performance benchmark between Sharepoint and Documentum involving several hundred simultaneous users and scale it up to a few thousand. Documentum will chug through it like a trooper and Sharepoint will be dead in the water

Compressed files with timestamps (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790148)

You really don't need anything more than compressed files with timestamps.

Anything more than that is overkill, especially if you're trying to get ISO9001.

Re:Compressed files with timestamps (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31790162)

You really don't need anything more than compressed files with timestamps.

Anything more than that is overkill, especially if you're trying to get ISO9001.

It's rather zen how shortsighted your advice often is.

Re:Compressed files with timestamps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31790298)

No, I think that BadAnalogyGuy has a point. You might want a piece of software to manage your data, but you don't want anything that is absolutely necessary to navigate it. If all your files are can be accessed through said program that's great, but having the system collapse gracefully into archived files with easy to understand file names is even better.

Both my current and previous jobs keep all our documents organized using nothing more than windows and a good naming structure. If you need to find a document, just use search-- and we have at my current job, without overestimating, probably a few million documents that I could search from since we need to keep all our reports for XX number of years plus all of our technical documentation, methods, etc.

Good organization will beat a program any day.

Of course, in your defense, having all these documents linked would be very handy. I've been pushing for a simple relational database to make it easier to connect documents for a while now.

Re:Compressed files with timestamps (2, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790564)

Good organization is hard to put in place and even harder to keep in place over the long term unless you exclusively employ anal-retentive OCD types. Luckily, lots of companies make programs whose purpose is to help you with organizing things and keeping them organized, which is basically what's being asked for here. For the type of people who love organizing stuff all day, this software is not needed. For the rest of us, any kind of document organization simply wouldn't get done without them.

Re:Compressed files with timestamps (2, Funny)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 4 years ago | (#31791266)

(shoves paper off keyboard)

I dun need no stinkin' organizin!

Alfresco (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31790160)

You might try checking out Alfresco which is an open-source Java based content management system with an excellent document module. In addition to ISO, it also meets many of the FDA requirements for medical product documentation. The link is

Re:Alfresco (2, Informative)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790496)

Alfresco as far as I know still uses Acegi for security - just be aware that only one call per authorized user can be handled at a time.

Re:Nuxeo (4, Informative)

batje14 (1018044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31791296)

I looked at the 3 big ones, alfresco, KM and Nuxeo, and like the latter best. For one, their full version == their GPL version. So if you want to do it all yourself, you will get all the features.

Secondly, I found the interface nice and simple.

Thirdly, they have this option where you can open a document from your browser, edit it and save it back into the DM system directly. (That requires a plugin for your browser & office). They used to have an openoffice version of that plugin too. Very sweet.

simple (1)

grub (11606) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790202)

sudo touch important.document
sudo chmod 700 important.document
sudo vi important.document

and control access with your sudo acl.

I'm joking, put down all those heavy ISO tomes.

Re:simple (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31790442)

The irony of the mere existence of physical tomes containing a standard for electronic document management should be enough to strike you down ;)

Liability? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31790258)

How big is the company?
The reason I ask is because I work in a very large company and our IT dept have very strict rules on some things.

6months were wasted in meetings between management, coders, sales, IT to finally decide on PVCS even tho I had been using git for the previous 6months for my little bit of code between hardware design.

Why did they go for this expensive solution? so that they could should at someone, demand support and sue someone if the shit hits the fan. With OpenSource the only one liable for fuckups

Re:Liability? (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790332)

Don't pretty all software vendors, open-source or not, include those scary ALL CAP DISCLAIMERs that basically tell you to go fuck yourself if something goes wrong? So how can you sue? Have those DISCLAIMERs been tested in court?

Re:Liability? (3, Informative)

Cassini2 (956052) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790606)

Why did they go for this expensive solution? so that they could should at someone, demand support and sue someone if the shit hits the fan. With OpenSource the only one liable for fuckups

The problem with that logic is that expensive solutions can be abandoned on a whim. The supplier can make a simple business decision, they can go out of business, or taken over by a competitor. Depending on the contract, is it a term license or a perpetual license? Is the software dependent on other peoples code? With proprietary software, you can be locked out at any moment.

Additionally, have you ever actually tried to get a software company to pay out on a law suit for defective code? It is almost impossible. Check the disclaimers in the contracts.

I'm going to get flamed all to hell for this... (4, Informative)

jockeys (753885) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790272)

but I'm actually a fan of Sharepoint. Have used it for years and never found it lacking for documentation management in my line of work (engineering software development field). The price is an issue for some, but it requires very little maintenance and is fairly intuitive in it's workings, even to a newer user. Most of our co-ops figure out how to use it with little or no instruction, and our senior developers (myself included) haven't complained about lack of features or expressed frustration with not being able to get something done.

just my 2 cents.

Re:I'm going to get flamed all to hell for this... (4, Informative)

uberjack (1311219) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790308)

My problem with Sharepoint is that doesn't work equally well on non-IE browsers. For example, text formatting is completely unavailable unless you're running IE.

Re:I'm going to get flamed all to hell for this... (4, Insightful)

jockeys (753885) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790432)

that's a valid concern, and a good reason to consider another product.

ten minutes in, and I'm already modded down for saying I've been satisfied with a MS product... typical /.

Re:I'm going to get flamed all to hell for this... (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790582)

modded down for saying I've been satisfied with a MS product

No, you're getting modded down for recommending a product that has an IE-only web interface.

Re:I'm going to get flamed all to hell for this... (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790650)

But most corporations mandate the use of IE anyway, so what's the problem? Corporations don't care about whether or not some interface supports web standards and all the various alternative browsers. They care that it works with the corporate standard which is IE.

Re:I'm going to get flamed all to hell for this... (3, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790790)

They care that it works with the corporate standard which is IE.

They care that it works with the corporate standard which is IE6.

Fixed that for you. Sigh! What a sad world we live in.

Re:I'm going to get flamed all to hell for this... (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790972)

+5 insightful

We have been "planning" to move to IE7 for 2 years. A few lucky souls have actually received it but it is still not compatible with some of our SAP modules so until they update the modules on IE6 we will stay.

Re:I'm going to get flamed all to hell for this... (3, Informative)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790950)

1) Sharepoint works in FireFox. Quite well in fact.

2) If you want to use some of the IE-only features, just install this extension [] , and add Sharepoint to your IE-only whitelist, and you can use the "IE-only" features from within Firefox.

3) Microsoft's official recommendation for Web UIs is now to use JQuery [] (and they're also contributing code to the project!). Assuming they eat their own dog food, Microsoft webapps should start being a lot more friendly toward non-IE browsers.

Re:I'm going to get flamed all to hell for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31791122)

Cross browser compat is actually an advertised feature in SP2010. I'm conflicted on how to feel
  about this...

Re:I'm going to get flamed all to hell for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31790758)

I disagree, or at least I don't think it's a reason to rule out SharePoint. First, text editing is not normally a primary requirement for a document repository. Second, Telerik makes a rich text editor plugin that solves the browser problem. I would also add that the text-editing limitation is more the exception than the rule when it comes to SharePoint and browser compatibility.

But there's no doubt that SharePoint is designed for an M$-centric environment. But if your users are already using Office 2007 and Active Directory, and you have Windows Server, SharePoint can offer much better functionality than anything else out there. Add to that the ability to hook into the document repository via web services and the WSS API, and you get an awful lot of functionality for no additional cost (again, *if* you are already operating in an M$ environment).

Re:I'm going to get flamed all to hell for this... (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31791952)

You're back on 5, but note that I got modded down in a previous for dissing the (IMHO) horrible Sharepoint. And I actually even supported it with evidence. It's not that black and white. Sometimes I have the idea that people invite friends to mod things up or down, skewing the scores.

Re:I'm going to get flamed all to hell for this... (1)

jockeys (753885) | more than 4 years ago | (#31792034)

I suspect you are right

Re:I'm going to get flamed all to hell for this... (3, Interesting)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790608)

I had XP corporate image, and Sharepoint would crash if I tried any of the AJAX style operations. I could right-click and save, or click directly, but using the arrows and checking out crashed every time.

IE developer toolbar and Fiddler installed, I uninstalled both and it kept crashing, then the lease came up on my box and I got a shiny new Vista. Installed both and some other stuff and never had a problem. But it keeps worrying me that IE with Microsoft-only additions had problems with Microsoft's website, manipulating Microsoft's document types.

The problem I believe is the WEBDAV type interaction. When you authenticate, IE lets you do stuff. Then you open the file, and normal browsers would download the file and ShellExecute() to open it (or maintain their own list, but whatever). IE sends the URL to the application (if it's Office type), which has to re-authenticate since it doesn't share IE's session. That way the Office app can check in/out instead of just opening a local copy.

To tell the difference, you can obviously see the normal IE download dialog if it's downloading and opening, otherwise you get the Office dialog that has "Opening [filename..." and only has a cancel button.

I just used FireFox, and tried to avoid checking things in/out. It's all intertwined - impossible to fix. Probably lots of code duplication as well.

Re:I'm going to get flamed all to hell for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31790736)

Don't know the version of SharePoint but we were using at work. Many organizations including outside vendors were inputing documents in a folder structure we created. On one such folder the name of the person and date when they uploaded it became important . A person in the group was given some admin rights to help manage SharePoint. The name of this folder was bad and confusing to the vendors. So this guy either renamed the folder or created a new folder name and copied the contents over and deleted the old.

Surprise! All the documents now had his name and date. Yeah, we were all SharePoint nOObs and proud of it! But wtf you'd expect the damn thing to not blow away file attributes like that.

Re:I'm going to get flamed all to hell for this... (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790920)

He created a new folder and copied the files over. All of the docs had his name and a new date, because suprise...he 'created' them.
If he had just renamed the folder or library, they would have retained the original metadata.

Re:I'm going to get flamed all to hell for this... (1)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 4 years ago | (#31791570)

SharePoint 2010 will support Safari (Webkit) and Firefox (Gecko) browsers explicitly, and by extension work on derivatives using those engines.

Re:I'm going to get flamed all to hell for this... (1)

VTBlue (600055) | more than 4 years ago | (#31792094)

SharePoint 2010 which will launch this year fully supports Firefox and Safari. If you use Sharepoint 2007, there are cross-browser controls from vendors you can use for development i.e. Telerik

Re:I'm going to get flamed all to hell for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31791790)

When dealing with CAD and 3d parent child references I have used ADEPT. I have always worked for ISO:9000 compliant companies and this package does a great job.
It is by Synergis a company in PA.
I have found sharepoint to work well enough for MS Office and other "light" use document tracking.

Company Document control which includes CAD no longer ends up being light use.

Synergis has excellent training, and tech support. I worked with them when I was a CAD instructor when the company I was with helped support the program and later as the CAD manager of a company. They had the program in house prior to my starting with them.

Alfresco is great (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31790328)

We use alfresco it runs like a champ....setup can be a bit tough but its worth it.

Easy (3, Funny)

ilikejam (762039) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790358)

# chattr -R +a /home

Related Tip (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31790690)

Use "chattr +a .bash_history" to guarantee that your bash history never gets truncated, overwritten, or otherwise mangled (which somehow always happens, even if you try to control it with the various bash environment variables).

Design Data Manager (2, Informative)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790366)

I have had good success with Design Data Manager.

This tools is primarily for managing CAD documents, but can also deal with other kinds of data. []

SharePoint (2, Interesting)

1000101 (584896) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790408)

"I've used Microsoft's SharePoint, which the higher-ups like simply because it's Microsoft, but thankfully they trust their Tech Department to find the cream of the crop.

It sounds like you don't like SharePoint "simply because it's Microsoft". I've seen SharePoint used for this exact business requirement many times and it is actually quite simple to implement. Some 3rd party tools might be needed for more advanced functionality (i.e. storing content external from the SharePoint database), but even then, the solutions are relatively simple.

Re:SharePoint (3, Interesting)

RTFA (697910) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790668)

That’s exactly my thoughts. And TFA didn’t specify which types of documents? If it’s mainly MS Office documents, SharePoint is probably one of the best solutions. Especially if you are considering upgrading to Office 2010.

Also what’s the size of your needs? SharePoint is free (WSS, aside of a Windows server 2003 licence) if your needs are small enough (Less than 2gb of data for MSSQL Express (free)).

I wonder how much time the submitter actually invested in throwing away SharePoint?

Re:SharePoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31791292)

WSS can use the Windows Internal Database, which is basically SQL Express without the size limitation or the ability to host custom databsae solutions. It has no size limitation.

Re:SharePoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31791006)

"It sounds like you don't like SharePoint "simply because it's Microsoft""

It's fine, mostly. But it's terrible in a mixed environment. And you don't get to control the system requirements of outside vendors logging in and inputing to documents to SharePoint.

MediaWiki (2, Interesting)

nairb774 (728193) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790414)

Or basically any other wiki product could be used to fill this need. We use MediaWiki among a lot of other products in document control and it works fairly well.

Re:MediaWiki (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31790842)

I'd do the same. For new ISO certification would be great to have all the procedures and instructions in one, easy to show and cite, platform-independent and pro-spective format and place. Must it be printer-friendly format? No. Must it be convenient, to really increase productivity and keep order? Yes.

I'd vote for solution which integrate with ticket system, where you can easily make links between wiki documentation, external files, tickets and user's discussion. Try redmine. (

Re:MediaWiki (1)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 4 years ago | (#31791130)

MediaWiki meets the requirements because it has login, tracks changes, keeps history, and supports auxiliary notes. It also has the advantage over Word docs that all documents can be cross-linked, categorized and instantly available to anyone with a browser. We've been moving our process documents onto a wiki but I'm not sure how that will fly with the new PM. We'll see.

Better use structured Wikis like Drupal Wiki (1)

Heinzelmann (1396303) | more than 4 years ago | (#31791846)

We internally used TWiki for a long time, as it gives us more structure within documents. Now we switched to the new Drupal Wiki [] which allows us to build up more complex workflows and a nice access scheme. I also comes with a much better user experience than other Wikis out there.

Re:MediaWiki (1)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 4 years ago | (#31792016)

I recommend this also. The learning curve seems high until the third time the graphical editor to your fancy content management system completely garbles someone's document. Then Mediawiki seems like a blessing.

We have Jive at work that I use as little as possible after losing several documents. It has discouraged me from writing documentation completely, and I know there are many other people at my company who feel the same.

On the other hand I've gotten 5 playwright's writing plays in Mediawiki with a few extra domain specific tags, and they love it now that they're over the learning curve.

Document Management Systems (1)

kdekorte (8768) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790420)

For commercial offerings you might look into Documentum or FileNet. Both are quite good with maintaining document revision history and I believe both integrate with Explorer.

Re:Document Management Systems (1)

medcalf (68293) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790640)

We use Documentum. It's excellent but expensive. And no matter what tool you use, proper organization and process are key, to ensure that things do get added, and in a findable place. (Search is useful, but not good enough for all needs.)

Re:Document Management Systems (1)

Ohio Calvinist (895750) | more than 4 years ago | (#31791240)

If you do choose FileNet, opt for the Unix/Oracle implementation. They offer the environment on Windows/MS-SQL but in the implementation I supported (inherited), it was very (I mean very) unstable and tended to crash at the slightest hiccup, and left a very poor impression. There was always a fear that a particular MS patch would kill it which was a security and stability issue that would (likely) be avoided on a mature UNIX platform running only the necessary services. (Disclaimer: Most of my work is in the Windows world). They have a decent API, but it is slow (very slow) for mass imports. There are tools that access the undocumented (unsupported) libraries that are very fast, but run the issue of support. At the time I worked with it, the viewers were unsupported on Vista. FileNet also has the issue of lack of community. If anything goes wrong, you're on the phone with IBM, which is not the style I like when it comes to managing a system. On the other systems I've supported, (LAMP servers, IIS, MSSQL, etc.) there is a lot of online vendor support, community and vibrant forums as a first step. With FN, I was able to come across one forum that was "OK" (, and other than that it was a call to IBM or pouring though a stack of dead-tree training manuals. Definitely consider the cost of on site-support and consulting from the vendor as a necessity.

Re:Document Management Systems (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 4 years ago | (#31791904)

Filenet is just plain Evil. It will make you wake up in the middle of the night screaming and begging for it to be replaced by a Microsoft product.

Please don't mod this post 'Funny', It's based on my own personal experience with this abomination.

CogniDox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31790456)

You may want to look into CogniDox (

We used it at my previous company as central document repository. Has various levels of security, allows sharing some documents with customers. Has document review signoff support etc.

I liked it a lot.

Retention Policy (1)

joebok (457904) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790480)

You may want to check with your legal folks before going too far - my experience is that these days it is more important to destroy drafts (so they are not discoverable in court) than to protect against users having to redo something they screwed up.

Re:Retention Policy (2, Informative)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790610)

just make sure your QMS says this other wise you will fail your Audit

Re:Retention Policy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31790636)

Then again, if you're not able enforce a legal hold on the documents so that they remain discoverable when needed.. Avoiding closed "solutions" would probably be a good idea.

What ISO 9001 is (3, Informative)

autophile (640621) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790482)

Say what you do, and do what you say. I don't think you need software for that. What my company did was have a central document repository and a documentation standard, and everything boiled down to saying what we did, and doing what we said.

Re:What ISO 9001 is (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790586)

yes do you realy need to use software to do this? - in BT we used pysical hardcopy or word documents with a specalised macros. I even got a special stamp made to stamp the Obselete versions and team members took it turns to look after the QMS docs.

Re:What ISO 9001 is (3, Insightful)

Bryan3000000 (1356999) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790648)

He was specifically tasked with "sourcing Document Control software to meet ISO 9001 standards". The only reasonable way that this task can be interpreted is as an assignment to actually source software which will ENFORCE ISO 9001 standards.

Re:What ISO 9001 is (4, Insightful)

wrook (134116) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790974)

But the ISO 9001 standards aren't fixed. Basically you document what you are going to do, show that you've trained your staff to follow the process and show that the staff are following that process. You can easily do 9001 document control standards with a pen and a filing cabinet. Yes, there are some specific requirements: you must define a way to show that the currently accessible document is the most current one, etc. But 9001 doesn't require you do it any specific way.

In fact, if you simply buy a piece of software and say, "The software enforces the process" a good auditor (hah!) will fail you. The whole point of 9001 is to document a process, train your staff to follow it, and show that you are following it. You can buy a canned process, train your staff in that process, have tools to help you, show that your are following that process. You will pass 9001. But you will have a fucked up process because it almost certainly won't follow your company's natural workflow.

I suspect this is why the parent suggests that maybe looking for a tool rather than working on the process is a bad idea.

* About the "hah!" comment: I don't believe there exist good 9001 auditors. Or rather, if they exist, they don't work much. It is in a company's best interest to hire incompetent auditors. That way they pass the audit. I say that having done the job myself once a long time ago :-P

Re:What ISO 9001 is (1)

Bryan3000000 (1356999) | more than 4 years ago | (#31791366)

Well, see, that's why we need further development of AI - so we can have software to enforce human behavior perfectly.

Seriously though, to pass whatever poor process they develop, they really do need software that will force people to input SOMETHING into some text field. Even if it's just a smiley face.

It will nominally enforce an audit trail that any auditor or investigator could theoretically use to make some type of determination. But in reality it provides a mechanism for reminders to people to follow existing process and policy, and that's something.

Re:What ISO 9001 is (2, Interesting)

dubbreak (623656) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790902)

Exactly. ISO 9001 is about having a documented procedure and following it. Software itself won't be compliant, it's how you use the software and how you've documented how to control documents using the software that matters. You can be iso 9001 compliant with physical copies, you can use visual source safe to manage documents (please don't).. what really matters is that you have a procedure for managing documents and that you follow it.

Doesn't need to be mandated to be required (1)

sjbe (173966) | more than 4 years ago | (#31791632)

Say what you do, and do what you say. I don't think you need software for that.

That depends entirely on what you are doing. I've done IS09000 audits and for pretty much any businesses of any sophistication or size, some sort of software document management is more or less "required". Not in the sense that it is mandated but in the sense that you'll find your life impossibly hard without it. Too much paperwork to shuffle and too many parties needing it to make it reasonable to not computerize. Strictly speaking it isn't required, but you can do drafting with a pencil too and there are good reasons no one does that anymore.

owl intranet engine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31790484)

is also foss and has worked very well for me in production settings with up to 300 users.

Thing Long Term, Beware of Legacy Costs (3, Informative)

Cassini2 (956052) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790520)

Some of the ISO-9001 knowledge becomes very long-lived. Stick to things that will work for a very long time. It is not uncommon to see ISO, software, CAD, and project documentation files from 25 years ago. Having to support DOS PCs for legacy projects sucks.

Think about whatever software you use, and make sure it is formed around standards that will persist. For instance, does SharePoint depend on Microsoft Internet Explorer? Is Microsoft Internet Explorer V9 compatible with Internet Explorer V6? Take a look at all the other legacy software inside your organization dependent on Microsoft IE V6. Don't do it again.

In the end, there is a strong argument for keeping PDF, DOC, and XLS files around, and placing a version control system on them. Some systems, try to integrate the entire quality control system into a document management system, and the results cannot be maintained long-term. One expensive system that I deployed, didn't survive the 24-month rollout process. You need to stick to standards, and keep your options open, both short and long term.

Re:Thing Long Term, Beware of Legacy Costs (1)

dr2chase (653338) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790764)

Are you sure that DOC and XLS files are a good format? I've certainly run into compatibility problems over the years. Compare that to (say) HTML written in 1995 -- it still renders fine (except for the BLINK tag, bummer), or documents written in LaTeX back in the mid-80s -- they still render fine, too.

If you're concerned about data longevity, there's an awful lot to be said for 80% solutions that will still be 80% solutions 20 years from now.

Re:Thing Long Term, Beware of Legacy Costs (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790980)

Are you sure that DOC and XLS files are a good format? I've certainly run into compatibility problems over the years.

Anyone who has run document management for a significant time has probably run into this. "Sure sure, we have all those files archived and backed up, legal can have them to prove our ownership." This is then followed by the sickening discovery that half the archived .doc files won't open in any halfway recent version of Word. If you find yourself here, try OpenOffice, it works for another chunk of them. Then comes the fun of going on Ebay to buy an old copy of Windows 3.1 and an old copy of Word and and a floppy drive and getting the bloody thing to run in a VM.

The experience hammered into my head the importance of actual published standards for archive file types and preferably for all the file types we use.

KISS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31790574)

I use a system whereby revisions simply consist of a copy of the file, with an incrementing digit at the end of the file name indicating the revision level. Works for me!

Re:KISS (1)

Skuto (171945) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790856)

While I've seen that system successfully used in organizations held to much stricter standards than ISO 9001, I'll be the last one to say it's the best way of doing it.

Some Wiki with proper access controls?
Any version control system with proper access control?

Doxis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31790614)

My current organization is using Doxis, which has an interface very much like Office 2007. It took me all of 12 minutes to learn the basics.

Alternatively, you can use software source control applications, but for the non-techies, that will be a pain.

Avoid tainted assignments. (4, Insightful)

dbc (135354) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790638)

"what should I avoid?" You should avoid taking on politically dangerous and thankless tasks that make no contribution to the bottom line as your first assignment at a new company. Seriously, the tech issues here are secondary. First, figure out the politics. Next, make sure your second assignment contributes to the company's bottom line. Sorry to sound like a grumpy old fart here, but hey, I'm a grumpy gray-beard that has seen this movie before and I don't like the ending.

Re:Avoid tainted assignments. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31791120)

"what should I avoid?" You should avoid taking on politically dangerous and thankless tasks that make no contribution to the bottom line as your first assignment at a new company. Seriously, the tech issues here are secondary. First, figure out the politics. Next, make sure your second assignment contributes to the company's bottom line. Sorry to sound like a grumpy old fart here, but hey, I'm a grumpy gray-beard that has seen this movie before and I don't like the ending.

+1 on this.

My wife started in a new job a year ago and was handed the responsibility for a project that was to build a QA system and was named after the database software that had been randomly purchased by the previous project manager (now fired). Not surprisingly, a year later the politics are now apparent, and my wife hates her job. I can only say: Take dbc's advice.


Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31790724)

I would scrap all that share point cruft, and go with the packet flow of ssh and a password + logs.

I have no idea what the fuck iso 9001 compliant is, nor do I care.

I'd buy a crap load of USB keys with a WRITE protect lock switch (like those old 64M keys.) Kiosk the shit up with passwords. Fines or prosecution for screwing up.


Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31790908)

No fucking shit it sounds like a packet dump cross ip shit plan pileup!
LOL retarded government at it's best! SLOW SHIT no wonder they are so slow!
I'd vouch for non ISO 9001 Defiance!

sftp + static documents for mEeeeee pleeze
no thank you to path exposures, system version targeting, and database breech, er, byurp os corruption/ exposures. Fucking idiots

Use a Wiki (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31790734)

We are using a home brewed modification of Moin moin - with this patches:

It's been 2 years online, and we are very happy with the implementation (done by myself ;)

We use SharePoint and we like it. (1)

mellestad (1301507) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790836)

Pretty cheap too. Easy to administrate and the users like it.

Re:We use SharePoint and we like it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31791386)

Cheap is a relative term. Considering that Sharepoint is often given away with enterprise licenses for other MS tools, I suppose that could be true, but for most non-trivial deployments, it runs $25K without CAL licenses. Add test, dev, prod systems with all the CALs, SQL-Server licensing, and AD and you're into a lot more. This is still much cheaper than Documentum or FileNet or all the legacy DMS systems, but not nearly as cost effective as Alfresco out of the box deployments. Most companies will want to replace the Alfresco front end with some other interface - Drupal or Joomla for example. These customization can turn into $200K easy.

I understand that Adobe sells Alfresco services online. They don't call it that and have re-branded it, but it is definitely Alfresco.

tamale software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31790886)

My company makes a research management product, called Tamale (, which is a very easy to use content management system for financial investment professionals. There is a server with a RESTful API, a c# rich desktop client, web client, blackberry client, and msft SQLServer stored proc api. Not sure what industry you are in, but it may fit.
good luck.

Define your requirements (2, Insightful)

dekemoose (699264) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790906)

Since 9001 doesn't really define anything in terms of requirements you'll probably want to spend some time putting together what it is your organization wants to do with this content. Does your organization need/want a content management system? You're referencing revisioning on documents, so I'm guessing yes. Is this going to be a one off for the engineering/manufacturing folks? You could so something like this in subversion and have reasonably simple versioning of your documents. A wiki model works if you're just trying to do knowledge capture but I'm guessing you've got structured documents you need to manage. If you've got people who are fairly technical and can handle the caveats that come with something like that it's cheap and easy. However, these types of implementations frequently turn into folks in marketing or somewhere else saying "well we have FOO over in engineering we can probably use it too", next thing you know you've got the whole company using something that was kind of cobbled together for one group. Sounds like you've already got SharePoint, it's usable but I'm not a big fan of it as a content management system. Works decently as a collaboration platform. I haven't seen their latest stuff and I know they're trying to make moves in that direction so it might be better, but at last view I was underwhelmed. It's very platform specific, the search functionality was poor, it was difficult or impossible to get a good metadata model together and security was goofy.

Try and look towards the future and see if your organization is going to need to take it up a notch in their content management needs. How complex is your security model going to be? How much content are you expecting to manage? Are you going to want a full text search capable system or would a metadata search be good enough? Think about a metadata model for your organization, then research the topic and rethink it. A good or bad metadata model can completely change the fate of a content management system implementation.

What I've seen of Alfresco I like, it's free software so if you're budget constrained or just value that type of thing you've got that going for you. Someone else mentioned Knowledge Tree for a FOSS product, I haven't touched that so I can't comment. If you're going to go commercial I really think Oracle has a great product with their UCM platform (used to work there), but it's gotten god awful expensive and they suck as a company to deal with. Documentum seems like a massive resource hog and maintenance intensive from what I've discussed with people who've done work with it. I had an install of TRIM under my care at a previous gig, HP owns them now, and that had some quirks but was generally good. If you're focusing on records management capabilities this probably deserves a closer look as that's what they kinda specialize in. OpenText is pretty highly regarded, but I haven't touched it or known anyone directly who has.

Source Code == Drawings (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 4 years ago | (#31790916)

In a company I worked with we considered all source code files to be engineering drawings and they were treated accordingly. This way they fit into any QA tracking system.

internal auditor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31791212)

I was an ISO 9001 internal auditor at my last job. There are no ISO 9001 rules regarding software that manages the system, and all the stuff I read above about "do what you say, say what you do" is correct. That being the case, I would have a few recommendations about any software package you pick. 1) If the software is going to be able to directly edit documents, there will be a system that needs to be in place to record all changes to documents made as a function of time, with the appropriate signatures garnered. 2) It should be at least partially user friendly, not only easy for you to use, because you never know when the company will want to shift directions and teach a secretary to use it, using your skills for something else. 3) Obviously, security, I'm sure I don't need to tell you that but its worth a mention. And lastly, 4) control. Who can add/edit/delete/modify documents and when? I don't know about your company but mine often cut ISO corners temporarily so that they could get a product shipped immediately, and the paperwork would catch up later (or perhaps the next day). Maybe an optional lag/override function built into the document system? Hope that helps.

Sharepoint not approved (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 4 years ago | (#31791228)

Sharepoint is not an approved document repository at my company (granted we are CMMI Level 5, not ISO9001). We use ClearCase because it is a certifiable repository. We'd LIKE to use Sharepoint, since it is easier to use for the non-developers and would cut down on mistakes and time lost in managing documents, but we are slaves to the process.

Re:Sharepoint not approved (1)

droopycom (470921) | more than 4 years ago | (#31791578)

Thats the whole point of ISO isnt it ? Having a process and be slave to it.

Simple but dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31791268)

Recently, we successfully completed our registration audit where I work. As an above poster said, do what you says and say what you do is the key. Depending on the size of your organization document control software may not be the best approach. What we did was define our formats and then used a centralized file share to display the documents. Any document that was printed out is considered to be uncontrolled. The only person with read/write access to the share is the document control clerk, and all document change requests are filtered through them.

This system proved to be simple and effective. We only have about 5 people that actively change documentation so spending the time and resources to source a software solution just did not seem effective. If you have more people that actively change documents, then I can see where having an automated system for tracking those changes and ensuring the proper authorities approve them would be more efficient.

The biggest challenge to ISO 9001 compliance is NOT the documentation, but having the participation of all the management and the employees. Otherwise, you will end up scrabbling to ensure you have everything all by your lonesome, and when you fail you will be blamed for it. Make sure that whatever you choose to do, that everyone involved will use it.

Mediawiki? (1)

imrec (461877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31791280)

As you noted, ISO 9001 document management requirements are quite loose. I had been cheer leading the concept of using a wiki as a DMS in my workplace for the past few years. It never gained much traction, I expect due to a significant lack of understanding of those included in the package selection process. The limit of our corporate IT department's skills is upgrading Lotus Notes every possible time it can in the hopes that SOMEDAY the whale (dead) will actually start to swim... No, seriously, the folks that chose our new DMS wouldn't know the difference between a SQL server and a toaster.

Anyway, the bullet-proof audit trail created by Mediawiki (and any wiki, really) makes satisfying internal and external audits very straightforward. Proper ISO required access restrictions can be delegated using some of the very useful security extensions.

What is a DMS for anyway? Do we really want to be managing documents? or content and information? The "here comes everybody" philosophy has significant implications for traditional document management in the manufacturing world. The typical response of a manufacturing plant to these requirements is to assign all DM duties to too small a group and wonder why the damn thing never gets done. Documents are chronically out of date, nobody even has the soft copies anymore...

But what if the documents/articles could be updated by those who use them? What if everybody was part of the DMS? Page staging with the flagged-revs extension, watchlist email notification to keep maintainers in the loop. A DMS that spreads the load to all it's users instead of monopolizing a few? That's where classical DMS needs to go. Badly.

Yah, Mediawiki sucks for input. But for output? Can't beat it.

Oh, our company chose Intelex [] over ETQ [] for our system. I try not to take it personally.

Good Old Fashioned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31791282)

I worked Document Control for 2 years for a general contractor. The project was 3 years and $280M, and I managed everything, from submittals, to blueprints, to physical samples (ever try to file a chunk of concrete?).

I couldn't have done it had I used my computer for anything other than printing labels and maintaining an index in Excel. The more physical paper you have, the easier things are. Sure, you need the physical space, but I never had a software issue or idiot corporate IT destroy years of work with a keystroke, either. It's even more critical in a lawsuit-heavy industry like mine, where a single list file could be the linchpin to a million-dollar claim.

And, even though construction engineers are generally disorganized fools, they can always come up with that missing (paper) file in a crunch (Oh, it fell behind my bookshelf, here you go!"). I don't know how many times I had to answer the question "Hey, I deleted a file on the server a week ago, now I need it again, can you get it back?" with "No, man, it's gone forever.".

Subversion (1)

JSG (82708) | more than 4 years ago | (#31791304)

I set up Subversion. My design goals were: Keep it available from nearly anywhere (http/s), usable on nearly any OS and nearly transparent to most end users.

I then checked in our main documentation data area (held on a NetWare file server shared out via NCP and CIFS). Tortoise SVN is the client of choice on Windows and I use KDE integrations on Linux desktops. Finally, Trac gives access if needed from locked down systems. Non SVN aware users just have to be told to be careful with files in the shared checked out area (like don't put ISO images in it! or delete things without telling the repo about it because they'll just re-appear again on an update).

We have Quality Doc admins who are responsible for checking things into the repo.

We have been happily ISO 9001:200[08] registered for three years now.

I may look into something more sophisticated eg for indexing etc but to be honest this is a simple set up which does what the standard needs and does not get in the way of the end users (including me)

try it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31791426)

we are certified and use fengoffice.

Liferay Portal or Liferay Social Office (1)

Tepar (87925) | more than 4 years ago | (#31791528) [] Open source, Java-based, commercial support if you need it.

ISO Document Management (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31791534)

Check out Qumas DocComplaince which designed for ISO and other FDA regulated environments (electronic signatures, document revision control and approvals, workflows etc.. )

it's $$$$ but it's accepted in the industry.

Built or own (1)

JumpDrive (1437895) | more than 4 years ago | (#31791572)

Using Apache, PHP, Postgres, Maintains revisions and signoff lists. document owners, authors. It ain't pretty but it has gotten us through 2 audits with high marks. Still needs some security brush ups.
And there are some aspects that are still not user friendly.
But we have had some other companies ask for copies. Never have given it out though.
If you want a version and can wait a few weeks I can send it to you. Along with notes on what needs to be fixed.

Check out Windward Arrow (1)

teleriddler (904253) | more than 4 years ago | (#31791750)

You might want to check out Windward Reports Windward Arrow product [] It drops into SharePoint and adds the missing doc gen piece. Their engine is run on both .NET and Java if you ever need to make a switch in the future. --TR

Alfresco (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31791804)

So far I have used pc-DOCs (now owned by Hummingbird and I was DOCs certified), KnowledgeTree, SharePoint and Alfresco. My recommendation would be Alfresco just for the fact that different browsers could be used, SQL server may not be available (cost, standards, whatever), document routing and approval is required as well as Alfresco could run on Linux, Windows and Mac on top of a real application server (i.e. JBoss, Tomcat, BEA Weblogic, etc.). It can integrate with AD/LDAP for logins. Don't forget that Alfresco also has add-ins for OpenOffice and MS-Office 2003. Another benefit is that Alfresco also comes in a community edition for free.

There's not an app for that... (2, Informative)

ArundelCastle (1581543) | more than 4 years ago | (#31792102)

The best software will be useless without QA and/or RM/DC personnel that can enforce its use. This is because 9001 is a matter of quality processes, and the software can only implement those processes and policies that are already in place. An auditor wants to see that you can do what you say you'll do, whether that's one person with a key to a filing cabinet of contracts, or electronic file access tracking (knowing who has even looked at a document). There are businesses that can do that without software at all, I've worked with several. It really depends on the size of the employee base and their acceptance of a new tool. I don't believe it's possible for software to be certified for something that it can't accomplish, and it can't without complete buy-in from all employees. Good luck with that.

And just so you know, don't let your boss think you can get this done in six months, even if you pour your entire work week into it. The average mid-large corporation spends tens of thousands in hard and soft costs testing and implementing a new Content Management System in phases over years, which doesn't even include the vendor costs of licensing and supporting the thing. Unless you have categorical authority to pick a program and implement it, you will run in to a LOT of roadblocks, and even picking what to buy may not be something that you can put on your "completed tasks" list a year from now.

Lastly, if you are in fact part of your IT department, do check with your organization's org chart to find out if there are Quality/Document/Records people your choice will be impacting. The fact that you are asking Slashdot for software help instead of ARMA or a Quality organization for records procedure help, belies the possibility that your company is not mature enough to separate Information Science from Information Technology.

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