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Mercy Health Systems Customer Story

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  • Implemented employee portal based on Alfresco and Drupal integration
  • Built custom workflows for document approvals
  • Initiated workflows and developed custom APIs from Drupal to Alfresco
  • Leveraged faceted search capabilities
  • Synchronized over 50,000 documents into Alfresco


Mercy Health Systems (Mercy) is a partnership of over 400 healthcare providers, including hospitals and clinics, throughout the Midwest Each location had its own intranet site using a mix of different technologies and relying on separate support structures. It was determined that a single unified portal was needed to support the organization’s vision of “One Mercy,” and therefore a portal project called “Baggot Street Portal” was created to serve as the main hub for all of Mercy’s 38,000 employees and therefore all documents and other content from the many other disparate intranets had to be migrated into Baggot Street. Mercy wanted the Baggot Street Portal to become the one location for all employees to access all documentation.


Requirements for Mercy’s Baggot Street included unique workflow functionality for the creation and approval of policies and forms used by many employees throughout the network of hospitals.

They needed a workflow process that would be initiated creating rules using information about the document and department in order to assign the workflow. The user could then choose the people that needed to approve the workflow, with the department head always getting final approval.


Mercy built Baggot Street using open source technology and had previously selected Drupal as its web content system. Drupal provided a high-end framework with extensible functionalities and was satisfactory until Mercy needed to migrate documents into Baggot Street. Out of the box, Drupal did not provide a document management solution flexible enough to meet Mercy’s business requirements.

In need of a content repository, Mercy compared SharePoint and Alfresco, evaluating ease of integration, ability to support the enterprise, usability and cost. Mercy determined that Alfresco was the best document repository to serve as its backend content repository for all its Drupal web properties.

Mercy worked with the Alfresco partner Appnovation, to leverage its Canopy solution which provides a set of services and APIs used to accelerate the integration of Drupal and Alfresco in an enterprise environment. Canopy combines the flexibility of Drupal as a front-end web development platform with the power of Alfresco as an enterprise content management and workflow system.

The Appnovation team developed the foundation for Baggot Street, which required setting up an inventory of Canopy modules and CMIS integration points. Appnovation developed several custom REST based web scripts in order to batch certain operations serving as a bridge for synchronizing group nodes, group members, taxonomy terms and department/ sub-department nodes between Drupal and Alfresco. As a result, content is able to be synchronized in real-time, meaning that content created in Drupal will simultaneously be sent to Alfresco.

To provide a faceted search on documents through Alfresco, Mercy embedded the Apache Solr module. In order for Apache Solr to index documents from Alfresco, the CMIS API was used to retrieve documents in Alfresco. Once the documents are available in Drupal, they are saved as an Alfresco document node and indexed by Apache Solr.

To provide users the ability to upload documents from Drupal to Alfresco, a CMIS API was created. Form documents required custom webscripts in order to initiate the workflow in Alfresco. Using CMIS to upload either document types triggers a workflow rule to establish the metadata of the reviewer and department head. The reviewer can then specify multiple users to review with final approval from the department head. Once complete the document can be published on the portal.


With Alfresco and Drupal, Mercy now has one unified location where all 38,000 co-workers can access information across Mercy’s various geographic locations and data stores.

Mercy worked closely with Appnovation during the delivery process to ensure the new portal met all of the organization’s document management and workflow needs.

Appnovation developers provided one-on-one training to Mercy developers and extended exceptional support regarding code logic and implementation.

“We’re happy to help our clients implement the best open source solutions to make their businesses as efficient as possible. Implementing our Canopy solution for Mercy Health has given them the combination of two best in class enterprise technologies, Drupal and Alfresco.”

— Arnold Leung, Appnovation CEO