- Mr. Järvensivu what was the most frequently asked question that you got from prospects for M-Files industry during 2016?
- "How does M-Files differentiate from other (Traditional) ECM vendors"? Right from the start, M-Files has been based on a metadata-driven architecture. Information in M-Files is managed by what it is, regardless of where it's stored. This is an excellent foundation for the next generation ECM system, because in that this principle is extended beyond the repository and system.
Metadata can be added to files and objects in order to create relationships across repositories and related applications – making content easy to find by providing context about the importance and purpose of every file and associated object. This is the future of information management: the ability for users to not only quickly find the information they’re looking for, but also to see their content in context with other key information assets and business processes.
Many of the current ECM systems are in reality just slightly improved versions of the network drive: just file management systems. But information management is a lot more than just files and documents. We gain the real benefits only when we connect the unstructured data, the documents, to the structured data in the business data systems. For example, connecting a proposal document to a customer record in the CRM, or a delivery agreement to an order record that's managed in the ERP system.
Unfortunately, often the structured and unstructured data are completely disconnected. And stored in separate systems. The strength of M-Files has always been the ability to bridge these two worlds in a natural way: in M-Files, document is just one object type among the others. Customers, projects, service calls and many similar data objects are just as natural part of the vault content in M-Files as the documents.
- The top 3 reasons why a prospect should choose M-Files are ….
- I'm using here a feedback, that I got from our large public sector customer from East-Europe. They have more than 12.000 users and they were able to take the system into use in a very short period:
-Usability and fast learning curve due to the fact that M-Files interface is familiar for Windows users.This is something, that is often forgotten in the solution selection. People do not want "yet another system", but they want something, that is already familiar to them and where there is no long learning curve.
-Fast implementation process and rapid integrations with existing systems
-M-Files approach is not "only" document management, but information management and relationships usage.
A metadata-driven ECM solution can instantly identify the information assets that are related and/or relevant to other unstructured content assets as well as structured data objects. For example, metadata attached to a sales proposal (an unstructured content asset) can be tagged with a metadata attribute for “Customer A.” That proposal then becomes visible from within the CRM system, and can be linked to the CRM account for Customer A (a structured data object). In this way, metadata shines the light on previously dark data. All of the information assets related to Customer A can be displayed to decision makers in context with other related information.
- What trends are you expecting in ECM for 2017?
- Year 2017 will be the year of revolution in ECM industry. The real revolution comes when we change the thinking in a fundamental way: the ECM system doesn't need to be the place where you physically store the information. That is, not a repository, or at least not only a repository but something that brings value to the users regardless of which system the information is physically stored in.
When we expand the role of M-Files to manage information in other repositories as well, the increase in the volume of information may sound daunting. A key realization is that information should be managed differently depending on how valuable it is. We break information down into two broad categories: unmanaged content and managed content.
By unmanaged content we mean information that doesn't have permanent or long-term value to the organization. For example, notes, large part of our email correspondence, photos, PowerPoint presentations and so no. It's not unnecessary information, but still not business critical. An important realization is that we can deal with unmanaged content even completely without metadata: it's sufficient to find this kind of information by full-text search and similar means.
By managed content we mean business-critical information that has long-term value for the organization. Such as proposals, orders, and contracts. They need to be managed explicitly and reliably, because it's not sufficient for an organization to find its effective contracts only if the user can think of all the right search terms. For managed content, metadata is the key: when we use metadata to categorize a document as a contract, associate it with a customer, and specify its validity period, we explicitly know that this document is part of the company's contract base regardless of if the file contains the word contract. The document could be in a foreign language, for instance.
But even though valuable and less valuable information should be managed in different ways, it doesn't mean that we should have separate systems for them. And that's exactly what the problem today is: we offer the users different systems, such as network drive, OneDrive, and SharePoint, and try to tell them what kind of information should be stored in each of these. Less important stuff to OneDrive, more important stuff to SharePoint. Is it suprising that documents end up in the "wrong places" when it's not actually that clear to anyone if this draft of a contract is less important or more important, since it's just a draft.
M-Files has traditionally been very strong in managing the business-critical information. So precisely that kind of information that benefits hugely from metadata.
Now the Intelligent Metadata Layer solves this by creating a layer on top of the existing repositories. Through this layer users have access to all information regardless of its location, whether it is unmanaged content or managed content. It helps users separate the essential information from the unessential, but doesn't require moving or copying the information to another system in order to achieve this.
When a document gets metadata, it becomes managed content. At that moment we create the corresponding metadata object in the M-Files database. All information, both unmanaged and managed, can be seen by the user through the M-Files layer, but the M-Files layer is focused on managing the metadata of the managed content. And right there is the core idea of the Intelligent Metadata Layer: manage metadata in a centralized manner, but let the original information reside where it was. Let's not require moving information from one system to another, but instead create connections between documents and other data objects across system boundaries. And offer the users a unified way to find and deal with all this information.
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