A Slovak subsidiary of a global leader in aluminium production has recently turned to us to fix some problems they were having with their custom made document management system. They have been using their DMS to manage their quality assurance and work safety-related documents. Changes to these norms and documents are very frequent and needless to say that these things are taken very seriously in the manufacturing industry and strict archiving regulations apply to such documents.
We had no prior information about the original document management application, besides that it is built in Java, so we agreed to take a look not knowing what surprise is waiting for us. When we got access to the application and its source code it was nothing like we expected a document management to be. A rich client standalone application built in Java and Swing, which reminded us more of a school project than a production application in international company. There was no security or transaction management, all configurations repeatedly hardcoded and there were countless bugs.
Correcting the bugs was not difficult in particular, as the Java code was very trivial. However, the hard part was that working with this kind of code was completely against our best practices of doing high-quality software. Unfortunately, our customer did need a quick fix urgently and so we did fix all that was needed, while further improving the quality of code wherever we could. After our intervention, reliability and performance of the application improved significantly and key users were happy with their user experience. We still felt like this is not enough, though. We knew that there are still many hidden traps and problems users are unaware of. Additionally, users mentioned to us many features they would need in the current document management application, but are not supported.
And so we proposed a completely new solution based on our own web platform, which conforms to all latest trends in security, user management, scalability and user experience. This platform can be easily customized to provide all the functionality of the original application and all the additional requirements for company's document management. Also the architecture of the platform allows adding new features easily in the future. Of course the implementation of our proposed solution still needs to be evaluated in greater context of the enterprise IT strategy, however, we felt obliged to offer a long-term more robust and sustainable solution beyond the short-term hot fix we were originally asked to do.