Sharing Enterprise Content beyond the Firewall: Case Studies with SharePoint® and Documentum®

Companies can unlock content in their enterprise content management system when behind a firewall with the right enterprise collaboration technology.

20 October 2016


Many companies — especially those in regulated industries — rely on an enterprise content management (ECM) system that is their system of record as content is created, updated and repurposed. That content drives the business, and they rely on the ECM system to make it available to those who need it while complying with the company’s rules of governance as well as regulatory requirements.

But ECM systems were designed for an era when enterprise collaboration was all about sharing information internally by people in corporate offices, not for an interconnected world where content needs to be shared digitally with partners, customers, regulators, lawyers and many others. Companies are finding — often painfully — that’s it’s hard to unlock the content in their ECM systems when it’s behind their firewall. All those dollars in investments, and all those controls and capabilities built into the ECM system are suddenly of little use. The result is a continuous tug of war between IT staff concerned about security breaches and business users who need to share information with external stakeholders. The company pays the price, in exposure of sensitive material, lost productivity or both.

Intralinks resolves this impasse with enterprise collaboration technology that makes managing content externally as easy as managing it internally, while complying with access policies and regulations. Content, folders and metadata are mapped and synchronized between ECM sites and Intralinks workspaces, where external users can work with it according to your rules of governance. The technology supports a wide variety of ECM systems and use cases, ranging from simple but closely managed sharing of sensitive content to complex digital collaboration workflows. In effect, we’re extending the reach of your ECM system to meet today’s business requirements.

A recent KMWorld webinar examined how Intralinks technology is addressing two very different types of enterprise collaboration challenges. The first involves a leading bank that needs to share content in its SharePoint® ECM with investors and prospects. The second: a pharmaceutical company that needs to reconcile documents in its Documentum® ECM with information from hospitals participating in clinical trials. Both examples illustrate how businesses can leverage their ECM systems externally to become much more productive, and take advantage of opportunities that otherwise would be much harder to achieve.

Case Study 1: Top 10 Global Bank with SharePoint and Salesforce

This well-known financial institution had two distinct problems to solve. Their bankers needed to securely share sensitive investment prospectuses with their clients. In addition, their marketing organization wanted a more effective way to distribute information, and engage customers and prospects.

After evaluating the options, the bank chose Intralinks to enable secure collaboration with investors and prospects, providing a single point of access for distributing content and managing how it is used. The solution integrates with the bank’s SharePoint ECM system while meeting their strict requirements for sharing data with external parties. It also integrates with their Salesforce CRM system so they can include the content sharing in their customer engagement programs.

Another advantage is how easy the solution is to use. When bank staff log in, they see a familiar environment — a standard SharePoint document library with folders and documents, mapped from the bank’s ECM system to an external Intralinks workspace. External users can then join the workspace to perform activity they are authorized for, whether view-only, edit, download, print, etc. Content can be also watermarked, retracted if necessary, and controlled wherever it goes according to company policies.

Today the bank’s marketing staff have a tool that allows them to engage prospects and new customers more effectively, while the sales team can provide better service to their clients and help them make appropriate investments. The result: timely collaboration (and that’s the only kind that matters), improved business productivity and increased satisfaction for customers, business partners and bank employees.

Case Study 2: Integrating with Documentum for Clinical Trials

SharePoint is just one type of ECM system, and banks aren’t the only organizations that need to share corporate content externally. The webinar also examined a very different collaboration solution (developed by Intralinks partner Wingspan Technology) that automatically compares and reconciles documentation used in clinical trials.

A little background: Pharmaceutical companies are required to maintain a record called a trial master file that provides evidence of regulatory compliance for each of their drug trials. (Since it’s usually in an electronic format, it’s referred to as an electronic trial master file, or eTMF.) Each clinical site participating in a trial is required to have a corresponding record called an electronic investigator site file or eISF. Many documents in the two files are similar, but they have to be independently maintained by the two organizations. Comparing the documents, and ensuring that both the trial sponsor and the clinical site have the right ones is traditionally a time-consuming, manual process.

The solution compares documents from a pharma company’s Documentum ECM system with corresponding documents maintained by clinical sites. Documents are moved to an Intralinks workspace where a Wingspan application called DocWay Publisher performs automated queries against a wide range of attributes (native content, renditions, signature pages, languages, document owner, etc.) to identify documents that are new or changed. Content that is part of the eISF can be easily and automatically transferred to the eTMF (or vice versa), ensuring that each file contains the appropriate documentation.

The integration allows both pharma companies and trial sites to save significant time by eliminating manual steps when comparing clinical trial documentation. A neat side effect is that users of one system don’t need a license for the other, even when they’re using content from that external system.

What Is Your Collaboration Challenge?

Today, nearly every business function (human resources, product development, marketing, sales, etc.) in nearly every industry requires sharing content outside the organization.

As we saw with the above examples, companies are seeing greater benefits when they’re able to unlock their ECM content and put it to work, with the level of simplicity and control they’re accustomed to internally. It’s also important to remember that new solutions for digital collaboration, new use cases and new opportunities are emerging constantly — and reaping the rewards is easier than you might think.

Visit our solutions if you want to learn more about ECM and SharePoint Externalization.

Todd Partridge

Todd Partridge

Todd Partridge is Vice President, Product Marketing at Intralinks. He has broad industry experience in the enterprise information management (EIM) space, with deep expertise in all trends and technologies related to information governance, enterprise content management, document management, web content management, business intelligence, team collaboration, e-mail management, and enterprise records management practices. In his previous role at OpenText, Todd held several global positions ranging from sales, marketing, product management, positioning and strategy.

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