Alfresco Takes Top Marks at AQA

UK’s Largest Exam Board Adopts Leading Open Source Content Management Solution

LONDON, UK. — February 3rd, 2009 – Alfresco Software, Inc., the leader in open source enterprise content management (ECM), today announced that AQA, the UK examination board, has selected Alfresco to power its new ‘Examiner Extranet’, enabling up to 30,000 users to have access to exam papers and related documentation online. The extranet will put an end to cumbersome paper-based processes, and provide a simple way to obtain information more quickly, at a lower cost, and with a higher degree of security.

AQA is the largest of the three English exam boards, with students taking over 3.5 million examinations through them each year. They are an independently run registered charity, meaning that all income is used for the setting, marking and administration of public examinations such as GCSEs and A-Level qualifications. With a customer base that includes teachers, examiners, moderators, examinations officers and pupils, they required a system capable of securely holding many thousands of documents.

“We were spending six-figure sums every year on printing and posting documentation to examiners alone, so we wanted to develop an extranet that could replace our paper-based manual processes with electronic documentation that could be easily updated,” explained Peter Morris, Programme Manager, AQA. “Prior to implementation, we considered all the major ECM vendors, but chose Alfresco because it offered similar levels of functionality, security and quality, but at a tenth of the cost due to their open source pricing model.”

Working in association with Optaros, a platinum partner of Alfresco, AQA were able to create a customized user experience that focused on ease-of-use and utilized Rich Internet Application technologies to improve the overall experience. Optaros supported AQA in the adoption of an Agile Development strategy which reduced the timescale for development to around four weeks.

“Once we had agreed upon a strategy, the implementation was incredibly swift, and we have been able to pilot the project with around 200 users. We are planning to add more exam papers, marking schemes and even training material such as online demos and screen captures to further enhance the user experience.” continued Peter Morris, Programme Manager, AQA. “We are delighted with the speed of implementation and the flexibility the Examiner Extranet solution brings to our operations. We intend to use Alfresco, JBoss and Enterprise DB as a strategic platform for future collaboration and content management initiatives.”

AQA have plans to incorporate additional functionality over the coming months. A more flexible messaging capability will enable users to participate in two-way communication, and an online bulletin board will be developed to encourage ongoing discussion groups.

“The implementation of our ECM software at an organisation such as AQA is further evidence that Alfresco is able to provide highly functional, scalable and secure solutions at a fraction of the cost of other ECM vendors,” commented John Powell, President and CEO, Alfresco Software. “Given the current economic climate, open source software offers a credible way for organisations to achieve their strategic IT goals while maintaining technological innovation.”

A white paper on ECM Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is available online. The report uses public, independently verifiable US Government pricing information and illustrates how Alfresco offers cost savings of between 89% and 96% over traditional legacy ECM vendors.