Daryl Karan on episode 1 of The BEST Demo Show by Appfire

“What does compliance mean in Confluence and where do I start?” Find out in this episode of Appfire Presents: The Best Demo Show by Appfire.

Appfire’s Daryl Karan explains compliance in the context of document management using Confluence. In this episode, Daryl demonstrates how to setup a controlled environment and establish that the viewers are viewing the approved page using Comala Document Management and Comala Publishing.

About the guest

Daryl Karan is manager, customer success, at Appfire.

About the show

The BEST Demo Show by Appfire brings in experts who can show you how to overcome common IT challenges using best in class Atlassian apps. Every episode features 15 minutes of valuable advice on how to do your work better and faster.


For your convenience, here is the transcript of this episode:

What does compliance mean in Confluence and where do I start?

Kerry:  Today we’re going to look at the question what does compliance mean in Confluence and where do I start. To help us with that question is Daryl Karan, manager of customer success at Appfire, who is going to take us through Comala Document Management and Comala Publishing to help us address that question. Stick around because this next 10 minutes is going to be crazy valuable.

Daryl, thanks for being here. Let’s do this.

Daryl:  Thanks for bringing me on here. It’s going to be really nice to introduce everyone to how compliance can work with Confluence and how some of the Appfire apps can assist with that as well. 

Just to kick off, I really do want to share that Appfire doesn’t claim compliance or certification of any of our tools, as it’s not possible for any one vendor to offer compliance system. I just want to be sure that we’re good with that. It’s a very important piece. There are many pieces to compliance and we’re a portion of that.

Kerry:  Okay. Let’s look at your portion. 

Daryl:  Okay. There are different industries with different compliance regulations. In terms of publishing for distribution of documents, most of the compliance standards have some commonalities between them and considerations between them. 

To start off with, we have to understand that there is access control, which is basically just viewing and editing the documents for organizations. There’s the distribution of making the documents available to everyone in the organization. There’s reviews and approvals to allow for that document to be reviewed and approved using – and this is a key portion of this in today’s demos – electronic signatures and making sure that people get those electronic signatures on those documents before they’re distributed. Then ultimately reporting on them as well, so recording our document changes. 

Those are key pieces that we’ll talk about today. What I like to always recommend to everyone, and I think for the most part everyone does understand that Confluence is great at collaborating, but where it really does lack is that control mechanism and that ability to define your document process. That’s where Comala Document Management and Comala Publishing comes in.

On my screen here, what we have is my instance in Confluence Cloud. This can also be used on Confluence Data Center as well. It’s very important to also understand that it can be distributed in both instances as well. For those customers that have a Confluence Cloud instance, not a problem, or a Confluence Data Center instance as well.

With my instance, as I mentioned, this is the Confluence Cloud instance, and I do have, you’ll notice here, QMS space. Then this is where all of the editors and the contributors of my content will go in and actually start creating it. This is my controlled environment.

Once I’ve completed the review process of my content or of my documents, all of that information will be distributed to my publishing space. The two sync up using Comala Publishing. When we talk about two apps, one is the review and approval process, which is Comala Document Management, and the second piece, which is the automated piece of synching content from one draft space to the publish space, is done by Comala Publishing. 

Kerry:  So, until you publish, it’s just your team members working on it, right? 

Daryl:  You’ve got it.

Kerry:  In the Mirror Dimension, like in the Marvel movies with Dr. Strange.

Daryl:  Exactly. I haven’t seen it yet. I saw the first one, but not the second one.

Kerry:  I won’t spoil anything.

Daryl:  The first space is exactly what you said. This is where the users can go in, create their content, edit, contribute. What’s really nice about Confluence is that you can collaborate in here as well.

You see on my page here that I have the status. This status refers to a workflow process or a workflow state. The state is just a phase of your workflow. In this particular workflow, we’re using the QMS workflow. The QMS workflow just has certain states and phases. For example, the draft state, the review state, the publishing state, and then what I refer to as the needs review state as well. 

All the states that are assigned have to go through that electronic signature mechanism, so it has to go through being able to sign your documents. When an author is ready to distribute or ready to tick off the review process, they can then click on the draft and submit it for review. When I submit that as the author of this article, you’ll notice here that I already have a user who is signed in assigned to automatically review this content. This user is Adam. 

I actually have Adam signed in on a different browser here so that we can see what it looks like to Adam as well, so I’m going to click in here.

Kerry:  We’re going to be Adam today.

Daryl:  Adam is going to that page. Now, Adam will receive an email notifying him that he’s been assigned to review the content. You would also receive this in-app message notifying that you’ve been assigned to review when you come to that page. 

When Adam clicks on the status bar, you’ll see here that he has now been given the ability to add in his email and token. What this refers to is the e-signature portion. The e-signature in Comala Document Management uses what is called two-factor authentication. There are many two-factor authentication on the marketplace, organizations may have their own as well, but in this example, we’re going to be using Google Authenticator. 

This user has already been authenticated, he has Google Authenticator on his phone. What I’m going to do is just input my email for this user.

Kerry:  Authenticate Adam. 

Daryl:  That’s right. Now I have my token that Adam has generated through Google Authenticator. I can as Adam put in my comments and say, “Looks great,” and I can approve or reject this. If I approve it, it will transition to the next phase of my workflow. 

Kerry:  Say it looks great and then reject it. 

Daryl:  I could essentially be mean and reject that, and it would transition back to the draft state and notify the author based on what my comments were why I rejected that.

That’s the key element, being able to distribute and also review content amongst team members within Confluence and it’s all contained in this one area, which is really nice. 

I’m going to go ahead and approve that. Once I approve it, you’ll notice that the content is now published. You’ll also notice in this UI here that we have an expiry date. This is critical to ensuring that your content is not stale or out of date, and that is very important to compliance as well. 

What we put in here is a one-year re-review process. What’s going to happen is that from the date that this article was published or this document was published, it now has a pseudo time ticker on it all the way up to one year. If someone updates this article or this document, it will re-establish that date based on when it was published again.

Kerry:  It will reset the clock?

Daryl:  Exactly, it will reset the clock again. Based on the current approval that we just put in place, it will come up for re-review on June 16, 2023. We know up to this point this article is good, this document has gone through its review cycle, it’s been published, and unless someone comes in and updates this, it is the last approved version of this document.

What does that look like to our users in Confluence? Now that it has gone through its review process, I have another user here who has access to the publishing space, and this user has read-only permission on the space. I’m just going to do a quick refresh here. You’ll notice that my getting started has already been published and synched to my QMS publishing space. 

When I look at that, you’ll see that the user Elle, in this case, has only view rights here, so they don’t see any elements of the workflow, they can’t edit the document, they can only read the document, which is what we want in a compliance world. You want to be able to go through the access control to make sure who can edit and view the documents, which is what we just accomplished. 

We’re going through the distribution to make sure that documents are available to everyone. In this case, Elle was able to do that. We’re able to go through the review process and approval process with our e-signatures. We’re able to see the final document that Elle can see as well.

Kerry:  So, we did it. 

Daryl:  Yes. It’s really simple, it’s not overly complicated, but there are elements in this that are key. One of the key elements was that element of e-signatures. I’m going to back to user Adam here and share with you what the reporting function looks like, because this is another key element for any person who is going through compliance, what we refer to as an activity report.

When we’re looking at the activity report, we’re looking at who has gone in, who has reviewed it, who has created the document, who was assigned to review, in this case it was Adam. Adam signed, so that refers to the e-signature portion, and approved the document on a specific date and time.

Kerry:  And you can see his comments. 

Daryl:  Exactly, you can see his comments, which are very important to the compliance world. Typically, why we need this is for auditing purposes. If I’m going through say an FDA CFR-21 Part 11 compliance and I get audited, I need to be able to share this with the auditors. 

Kerry:  Everything about that sounds complicated, except for the part where you can share this with the auditors, that part is easy. 

Daryl:  Yes. Share it and also how did we get there. That’s the easy part. We created everything in Confluence, we distributed our content, we reviewed it, we have e-signatures, and we shared it with our user base in Confluence as well. 

The key takeaways are being able to keep everything within Confluence, but adding those layers of control and process through Comala Document Management and Comala Publishing.

Kerry:  Easy peasy lemon squeezy, as they say.

Daryl:  I hope. 

Kerry:  Thanks for showing us that. This has been The Best Demo Show by Appfire looking at Comala Document Management and Comala Publishing. If you want more information about either of those, you can find it at Appfire.com. If you’d like more episodes of The Best Demo Show, visit Hub.Appfire.com. We’ll see you next time.

Last updated: 2022-09-30

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