Replacement of Alfresco as document and record management platform

Project Description

Request was submitted by Gawie le Roux

A decision was taken to not renew the Alfresco license for the university’s current Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Solution (Share), which was due for renewal on the 1st of August 2015. The license, in essence, entitled us to software support and upgrades.

This decision was guided by the following:
Alfresco has terminated official support of the version that we are currently running (Ver. 3.3.3) since December 2014.
Due to the level of customisation done on Share, an upgrade would be complex, requiring more resources than a straightforward upgrade.
The support from i-Kno, the original implementation partner, has been negatively affected with key support resources who left i-Kno’s employment.
Lack of internal IT resources to adequately support Alfresco as open source software.
There has not been an uptake of Alfresco Enterprise by other SA universities to strengthen the local user community.
The cost of licensing has risen considerably in recent years.
In view of the above, the university need to implement a new ECM platform to replace the existing Alfresco solution and to fulfill current and new requirements posed by users, processes and regulations. In addition, current investigations by Operations & Infrastructure to identify user file sharing solutions (like FileCloud and OwnCloud) should also be considered as part of the university’s combined ECM offering. It is therefore requested that a project be registered to find a new IT platform for the university’s ECM (including Records Management) needs and requirements.

Project Progress


Project Timing

  • Start
    Oct 19 2016
  • End
    Jun 01 2021

10/19/2016 06/01/2021


Overall Project Completion

  • 20%
  • 60%


  • 40%

  • 80%





1. Project kick-off Complete 100% Tasks 2 / 2


2 of 2 completedTasks

  • Constitute the project team
  • Project kick-off meeting

2. Investigation & evaluation Complete 100% Tasks 5 / 5


5 of 5 completedTasks

  • Determine functional requirements of DM and RM at the NWU
  • Identify available IT solutions to address functional requirements
  • Determine evaluation metrics (what) and methods (how)
  • Evaluate short listed IT solutions
  • Decide on a new DM and RM solution and identify service provider(s)

3. Planning Complete 50% Tasks 0 / 4


0 of 4 completedTasks

  • Produce a preliminary implementation and migration plan with estimated costing and timelines for management approval
  • Obtain management approval
  • Finalise the implementation and migration plans, including success metrics and methods
  • Finalise the costing schedule and commit budget for it

4. Implementation Complete 0% Tasks 0 / 5


0 of 5 completedTasks

  • Execute the implementation plan
  • Execute the migration plan
  • Determine success through predefined metrics and methods and address oustanding issues
  • Develop a maintenance plan
  • Execute the maintenance plan

5. Project closure Complete 0% Tasks 0 / 4


0 of 4 completedTasks

  • Finalise agreements, incl. SLAs and support contracts
  • Project debriefing meeting (post mortem)
  • Finalise project documentation and admin
  • Produce a final project report

Project Discussion 19 Responses to Replacement of Alfresco as document and record management platform

  1. The implementation of OnBase has been delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions. The transfer of Non-database data to Nextcloud continues.

    August 17, 2020 at 9:05 am
  2. RM module of OnBase has been bought for NWU Records Archives and Museums. In the process of getting all parties together to formulate an implementation plan. Microsoft Sharepoint still to be investigated as a possible solution. Non-database data is being moved to NWU Nextcloud for safe storage.

    February 24, 2020 at 8:30 am
  3. 23 Aug 2019: The OnBase deployment is on hold as Microsoft Sharepoint also needs to be investigated as a possible solution. This is due to the fact that the NWU is already paying for it. A comparison will be done between OnBase and MS Sharepoint to establish the most suitable solution.

    August 23, 2019 at 3:45 pm
  4. 28 Jan 2019: Vernon & Eric Swanepoel is busy with the project.

    OnBase will present a POC in February @ NWU (Graduation, Short Courses & Records Management will form part of the POC).

    January 28, 2019 at 3:12 pm
  5. We have had meetings with DataFinity to explore some OnBase options. An OnBase repository is already implemented at the NWU and currently it serves some Business Systems through a webAPI.
    The OnBase Records Management module, Workflow module, Enterprise Document Management module, Agenda Management module and Production Document Imaging module can possibly serve as replacements for the current Alfresco functionalities. We would like to motivate for a POC on these OnBase modules as soon as our current OnBase upgrade has been concluded.

    August 30, 2017 at 12:13 pm
  6. A meeting was held with Eric Swanepoel to inform him of the actions of the project team so far. The business needs and user requirements were discussed with him and agreement was reached that it can be used to move the project forward.

    As part of identifying possible solutions, Gawie le Roux, Chandré Botha, Paul Grobler and Eric Swanepoel attended a OnBase User Forum day in Johannesburg. A subsequent follow-up with Datafinity (an OnBase implementation partner) will be organised to obtain more information about the Document and Records Management modules offer by OnBase.

    May 29, 2017 at 4:43 pm
  7. Amanda van der Merwe has informed us that the restructuring has caused a change in her department’s representation on the project. Eric Swanepoel replaces Evert Kleynhans on our core team. Eric has been appointed as the new NWU Records Manager and he reports to Annette Kelner in a subgroup called Records, Archives and Museum (RAM). During an informal discussion, Eric has indicated that he has started a process to review and update the existing NWU Records Management Policy, which will have an impact on this project.

    February 17, 2017 at 10:03 am
  8. Meetings and telephonic discussions with some key users have been done in order to determine current and future needs. From most discussions the following core needs emerged: A shared storage space (like a departmental space or drive) where ownership and access rights can be set on multiple folders/spaces. Another key need is the ability to work simultaneous on the same content (specifically Word and Excel files).

    February 17, 2017 at 9:51 am
  9. The first core team meeting took place on 7 November 2016. During this meeting we took a look at the current NWU Records Management Policy (last updated in 2013) as introduction to the current needs and requirements in terms of Document- and Records Management. We also discussed the current list of user requirements. Going forward, we will identify key Share users and arrange engagements with them to discuss and verify their current needs and requirements. A copy of the meeting notes is attached under documents.

    November 15, 2016 at 10:15 pm
  10. A project kickoff meeting was held on 19 October 2016. At this meeting a way forward was discussed and a core team was established. The members are:
    Gawie le Roux
    Hennie Esterhuizen
    Anna-Marie Bell
    Koos Brits
    Eben van Zyl
    Geraldine Gerhardi
    Amanda van der Merwe
    Evert Kleynhans
    Adri du Plessis
    Jim Mamphoke
    Susan Wolff
    Minutes of the kickoff meeting is attached under documents.

    November 15, 2016 at 9:59 pm
  11. During the pre-kickoff discussion with Amanda van der Merwe (Director of Corporate and Information Governance Services), she expressed her wish to re-examine the business processes and the approach that is followed at the NWU in terms of content management, records management and archive management as part of this project. Not only does the software platform need to be replaced, but also the policies, processes and procedures need to be improved. She also mentioned the possible implications of the new structure and that it will need to be incorporated in a new solution. Therefore she envisions a longer timeframe for this project.

    It was agreed that a list of participants for the project kick-off meeting will be finalised as soon as possible, with the goal to finalise or agree on a project charter during this initial meeting.

    August 22, 2016 at 11:31 pm
  12. A pre-kickoff discussion has been scheduled with the Director of Corporate and Information Governance Services, Amanda van der Merwe, to (1) serve as project sensitisation engagement and (2) agree on the participants of the planned project kickoff meeting.

    August 15, 2016 at 10:49 am
  13. The first draft of the project charter has been added to this project’s documents section. The charter will be finalised during the project kickoff meeting.

    August 15, 2016 at 10:45 am
  14. The RAW document has been completed and added to this project’s documents section.

    August 15, 2016 at 10:40 am
  15. A RAW document needs to be completed for this project. This will be done as soon as possible.

    April 28, 2016 at 8:48 am
  16. Eben and I have a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, 9 Feb, to have a preliminary discussion about existing functions and features in Share.

    February 8, 2016 at 4:16 pm
  17. Gawie will collaborate with Eben van Zyl in the investigation.

    January 19, 2016 at 9:36 am
  18. Gawie le Roux will coordinate the investigation.

    August 18, 2015 at 9:36 am
  19. 18 Aug 2015: The Alfresco licence was not paid for 2015 (funds not available).
    IT needs to replace Alfresco/Share

    August 18, 2015 at 9:35 am

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