• Time-saving and a document search facility far superior to the previous system.
  • The specific nature of the Open Source platform which offers development perspectives for new applications.
  • The inclusion of confidentiality requirements that allows for strategic exchanges in a secure environment.

Background and key issues

The watchman for weather and climate, Météo-France is a scientific and technical establishment linked to the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport, and Housing.

Its main role is to alert the public and the authorities to hazardous weather phenomena. This mission requires 24-hour monitoring of the atmosphere, snow cover, and ocean surface 365 days a year. Météo-France evaluates both past climatic behavior and future developments.

Météo-France has been ISO 9001 certified since February 2006. As such, this public institution is bound by certain obligations as far as handling documentation is concerned.

However, up until now document management has only ever been considered from the perspective of “document classification management.” Thus each national, central, and inter-regional division is organized independently and has developed its own tools. Documents are accessible provided you stay within one Quality Management System (QMS) and know where to look. Moreover, the existing tools are inefficient in terms of searching, as only document titles are used to perform keyword searches. They do not take account of different topics handled within the text, in addition to or in respect of the main subject matter.

The solution implemented

In 2008 the Quality department considered how it might address areas needing improvement. It decided to launch a call for tenders to procure a high-performance document management system to be shared across all divisions. To ensure that all requirements were considered, a work group was set up to draft the specifications for this call for tenders.

The call for tenders was issued in 2010. Following analysis of the tenders received, the Alfresco solution was adopted, for implementation by Atol Conseils et Développements, Gold Partner to Alfresco and service provider to Météo-France. Fully compliant with the needs of Météo-France, this solution allows any Météo-France employee (of which there are 3000) to view any non-confidential document anonymously, regardless of the Quality Management System associated with the document concerned. Similarly, it allows a certain number of authorized employees to access “restricted circulation or confidential” documents.

It offers an efficient search engine facilitating access to documents based on a set of criteria including keywords and plain text searches.

It allows a certain number of Météo-France employees to define and amend the classification plan and the metadata and search criteria attached to the documents.

Ten to fifteen employees within each division of Météo France are identified as being responsible for document management. The solution implemented enables them to “file” operating and non-confidential documents within the various Météo-France Quality Management Systems to ensure their accessibility to all employees within the enterprise. These managers are also responsible for removing obsolete documents from the database. The same applies to documents regarded as “restricted circulation” or “confidential”. Obsolete documents are archived and remain accessible for 5 years.

The switching of 10,000 existing documents to the Alfresco solution started on November 1, 2011. By the end of the year, 7500 documents populated the new database. It is anticipated that all documents will be contained in the Alfresco database by June 2012.

Two types of document are integrated into the Alfresco document database. Firstly, operating documents. For example, the procedure defining how to draft a weather report. These documents change on a regular basis. In fact, a procedure can change, for example, according to new requirements imposed by the local authorities. There are currently around one thousand of these. In addition to making it possible to store and have access to this type of document, the implemented Alfresco solution also enables users to access history for these documents; in other words, they can access the various prior versions which have been superseded.

The second document category comprises “dormant” documents, known as records, which reflect a situation at a given point in time, for example, the number of weather messages sent at 9:00 a.m. by the Roissy station. This type of document is not subject to change. An update of the information will thus constitute another record.


Atol Conseils et Développements has also developed a collaborative work module that is accessible to a predefined user group for Météo-France. This dedicated workflow allows this group to draw up operating documents. The final version is then approved by the Météo-France management team.

As this working method requires major changes in terms of work organization, it is currently undergoing testing with a select volume of documents and a small number of people prior to a general rollout.

As the Alfresco solution is an open solution, this means that new applications can also be considered. For example, the Quality department of Météo-France has approached the management team regarding an application allowing them, via a Web interface and in complete confidentiality, to exchange ideas and discuss strategic subjects that will not necessarily end up in operating documents.


  • A unique solution for document management and storage in the specific context of a fragmented organization.
  • An Alfresco application that allows different users to file, reference, search, view, and download various media via a WEB interface according to their user rights.
  • The collaborative dimension of the solution creates a different concept of exchanges between contributors.