Blog: BIG’s CMIS Explorer Utility| Start Working towards a Paperless Culture

Brittany LahureAppian, Blog

BIG’s CMIS Explorer Utility| Start Working towards a Paperless Culture

by Jin Pheh, Bits In Glass

Documents. Documents are everywhere. While the quest for a paperless office is well-intentioned, most organizations have only transitioned to going from having stacks of papers to having piles of documents in shared electronic drives. The paperless initiative has saved trees but missed out on the more significant opportunity — to decrease not only the physical paper but the reams of PDFs, spreadsheets, and documents from our lives.

The reasons for this are varied but, in my opinion, it boils down to 2 realities:

  • It costs companies a lot to change a document-centric process into something more robust.
  • The larger institutions (Eg: government) won’t move away from them anytime soon.

So, if we can’t get away from paper or electronic documents, what options do we have for making the documents that we’re stuck with a little less painful? The best we can hope for is to get better at integrating document use into new more efficient applications. In other words: if we can’t get rid of the docs, then at least we can use technology to mimic the information in the documents.

CMIS is an open standard that all the major large document management systems have adopted. Meaning, it is a standard protocol that can be leveraged to talk to all documents and embed their functionality in other applications – hence the mimic. By layering a bit of code and data into each document the entire process can be made a little easier for everyone involved. For example, as we upload documents into an application, we can use the CMIS API to automatically log, tag, and push the information to the correct location on a content management system (CMS). Better yet, additional process specific metadata that would not otherwise fit on the CMS can be stored within the application. This metadata can include things like review dates, required approvals, associated diagrams, data points, and the list goes on.

When a user needs a document, they shouldn’t have to search through a folder of documents to find it; it should surface whenever it becomes relevant. For example, looking at a contract review summary? Here are the appropriate red line versions by date. Are you reviewing a property? Here are the most recent inspection documents. Need to add a new record to a case? Just dump the document into the application and let the application handle the notifications and review process, and then let it push it to the right spot in your CMS.

Strictly speaking, the process is a long way off from being “paperless,” it’s a real improvement from where most organizations are today. The CMIS Explorer framework built by BIG is a utility meant to deliver this functionality in applications built on the Appian platform. With prebuilt flows for versioning and locking and calls that utilize the CMIS API for folder creation and organization, this framework provides the functionality above without having to create everything from scratch. Using Appian’s customizable nature, whether or not you are using a new or existing application, the accelerator allows you to add your unique “secret sauce” to the application while shortening the time to value considerably.

To watch a demo of the CMIS Explorer Utility, please go here.

To see a full list of our Appian AppMarket Accelerators and Utilities, please go here.


What is an Appian Accelerator?

An Appian Accelerator on the AppMarket covers the core functionality for a particular business function. It provides Appian customers with a “running head start” so they can expect to complete their Appian implementation in less than half the time as compared to starting from scratch. An Appian application can reduce risk, reduce implementation timelines, deliver applications that are Appian Certified as compliant with Appian Best Practices and, most importantly, reduce time to value and that means ROI starts in weeks, not months. 

The best part is that customers can still overlay their specific business needs or “secret sauce” on top of an Appian Application by working with our team of domain experts and Appian technical consultants.


About the Author 

Jin has delivered hundreds of innovative business solutions over the past 8 years as an Appian practitioner. When he’s not streamlining business workflows, he is likely somewhere outdoors skiing or climbing, working on growing a large enough beard to be considered a mountain man.

About Bits In Glass

Bits In Glass is an award-winning software consulting firm that helps companies outpace the competition, drive rapid growth, and deliver superior customer value through the use of technology.
Our expert consultants find the most innovative solutions to solve the most complex business challenges across multiple industries and verticals. With hundreds of years of in-house experience, we are the partner of choice for many business transformation projects, working with market leaders who are disrupting and driving transformation across every aspect of modern business.
Find out why leading technology companies partner with Bits In Glass including Appian (Business Process Management), MuleSoft (API-Led Systems Integration), Blue Prism (Robotic Process Automation) and (Customer Relationship Management).

For more information about Bits In Glass, visit and follow us on LinkedInTwitter, or Instagram.