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Alfresco Makes it Easy for New Brunswick Public Safety to Manage Critical Information

The New Brunswick Department of Public Safety (DPS) provides leadership in the areas of public order and community safety in the Canadian province of New Brunswick. In addition to providing community-focused programs, the Department oversees inspections, as well as correctional and law enforcement services. The Department includes 26 locations within the province and over 1,100 employees.


Because of its broad mandate, the New Brunswick Department of Public Safety has many stakeholders, both internal and external to the Government of New Brunswick. Most of these relationships are handled through formal agreements that undergo numerous revisions and multiple approval cycles.

As a result, documents and contracts are difficult to manage efficiently. Activities as simple as monitoring review and expiration dates or locating final signed copies of documents requires complicated and time-consuming manual processes.

Information is difficult to locate, frequently redundant, and vulnerable to unintended disclosure. Some 35% of file server content is duplicated, and 23% of file server content is non-indexed digital media (audio, video and images). E-mail backups account for 7% of all file server content and almost three million e-mail messages reside in employee inboxes.

The Department needed a repository to house its contracts and agreements, an automated process to better manage the lifecycle of these documents, and a way to provide employees with the ability to collaborate online.

“Before Alfresco, each branch had different repositories, making it almost impossible to find information and keep up with when agreements and contracts were coming up for renewal,” said Franz Weismann, assistant director of information management and technology for New Brunswick’s Department of Public Safety. “We needed a shared repository to allow us to better track when contracts were about to expire so that they didn’t lapse.”


After evaluating several enterprise content management solutions including Microsoft SharePoint and OpenText, the Department chose Alfresco One because of its open source platform, security posture, and its ability to isolate content domains and enable business owners to directly control access to information.

As part of Canada’s only officially bilingual province, the Department also required its ECM platform to support use in both French and English, and wanted a user interface that was intuitive, enabling easy document retrieval, search and storage.

They also needed a platform that included strong records management capabilities. “In addition to all of its high value features, the real prize with Alfresco is its ability to deliver comprehensive records management,” said Weismann. “Once our users are leveraging the solution for collaboration and document management, it’s relatively simple for them to make the jump to declaring records using the familiar Alfresco Share interface.”


Today, 100% of the Department’s employees use Alfresco in some capacity to access information and more than 5,000 documents have been uploaded into the system.

With Alfresco, users are able to find information much more quickly. Redundant information has been reduced and collaboration has improved. Alfresco has been easy to deploy to end users and is steadily eliminating the need for other content repositories.

Alfresco underpins the Department’s intranet site, serving as the repository for much of the content posted to the Drupal-based site.

As an added bonus, Alfresco was able to replace the Department’s manual microfilming process, eliminating the need to purchase two new microfilming cameras, an estimated cost of $200K.

In the future, the Department plans to leverage Alfresco as the basis for an extranet, accessible to all its partners, allowing these partners – particularly those in the emergency management space – to also collaborate on deliverables.

“We are in the early stages of piloting an extranet version of Alfresco that would allow a select group of key partners to access documents online,” said Weismann. “There is a need to share reports and unstructured data with other agencies as well, so having the capability to securely share this information is extremely valuable to us.”

An evaluation of Alfresco’s Records Management module has been completed and integration with existing sites is due to begin shortly. Eventually, the Department plans to eliminate shared network folders once all existing content has been cleansed and transferred to Alfresco.

“Alfresco has improved collaboration and made it easier for many of our employees to find critical information,” said Weismann. “It has saved us time and made us more efficient and productive.”

"Before Alfresco, each branch had different repositories, making it almost impossible to find information and keep up with when agreements and contracts were coming up for renewal."

 — Franz Weismann, Assistant Director of Information Management and Technology