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M-Files - An Honest Review

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No matter what you call it — data management, content management, or document management — there are a myriad of systems, applications, and tools on the market made to help you store, organize, and maintain your documents, data, and files. 

As a business that has spent tens of thousands of collective hours planning, setting up, installing, and managing document solutions for organizations across the United States, we’ve experienced virtually every use case, every hiccup, and every disaster that you could possibly face when selecting, updating, or upgrading a document management platform.

Just as there’s a myriad of ways to refer to document management, so too are there a plethora of use cases to which it can be applied. A law office will use a case management system like Worldox, while a sales person for a software company will use SalesForce.

It’s for this reason that we want to review M-Files, a document management system that can be shaped to fit any organization’s needs, and do it efficiently, securely, and profitably. 

HOW DOES M-FILES STACK UP?

There are three main ways a document management system will impact your organization, being:

  1. Your efficiency
  2. Your security
  3. Your profitability

Let’s go over the potential impact M-Files can bring to those three categories.

Efficiency

When considering the efficiency of M-Files, it’s important to remember the moral of Aesop’s Fables “The Tortoise and the Hare”: slow and steady wins the race.

Imagine, for instance, that you are the aforementioned lawyer considering using Worldox. If you were to use Worldox, you would most likely be up-and-running faster than if you had used M-Files. This is because M-Files is a highly-customizable platform that requires extensive set-up to properly integrate with your environment and workflows.

Once those workflows are properly implemented, however, you will find the level of customization and interoperability offered by M-Files to be unmatched. Coupled with the added bonus of view customization being offered down to a user-specific level, a single organization could use M-Files as its sole CRM, all while displaying different views to each department. 

For instance, your sales’ team could, through their view, quickly find a list of cold calls for the day, their monthly prospect meetings, a list of upcoming contract renewals, and their out-going email template on their home screen, while your accounting department would see AR, AP, and incoming customer communications on their display.

While there are document management systems that offer customization, very little come close to the level of intricacy boasted by M-Files. Paired with the fact that M-Files can work with virtually any file type imaginable, it is a truly one-size fits all document management platform.

M-Files also offers highly customizable automation paths and processes, allowing you to remove human interaction with standardized incoming documents like those that go through AP and AR, the creation of outgoing communications, and much more.

Put simply, if you have the time to set up M-Files, it can create a highly efficient environment where all teams operate under one CRM, allowing for quick and easy collection of organization-wide data and patterns, giving you the ability to analyze the entirety of your operations through a single pane of glass.

If you don’t have the needed time to slow down when implementing your document management system, M-Files will most likely not fit your needs, and you would be better off going with a CRM that is pre-built with your industry in mind.

Security

Like any application, the level of security offered by M-Files is dependent on your least secure business practice. M-Files, however, can be implemented in highly secure and regulated environments, and has the processes to accommodate the most rigorous security protocols. M-Files can be used in HIPAA environments, as well as contractors and organizations regulated by NIST guidelines. 

The system M-Files uses to share documents is built with security in mind. Admins can set user permissions for who can view, share, and edit documents based on criteria such as: file type, file age, specific files, specific users, and employee department. 

When editing a shared document, the user doing the editing “checks out” the document, effectively freezing editing access to every other user in the organization. After the edits are saved, the version is updated organization-wide, and the document is “checked in,” allowing other users to once again edit the document if the need arises. Users with permissions can revert documents to previous iterations, and boot a user from editing in case they need to access the document immediately. 

The security offered by M-Files is built around this permission-based, top-down user hierarchy. What this means, however, is that your files are as secure as your passwords. If an admin’s credentials are stolen, depending on the user permissions granted to the admin, your entire organization’s data, as well as all of your clients’ could be in jeopardy. 

If you practice good security measures throughout your organization, such as two-factor authentication, security awareness training, implement EDR, and monitor your network for intrusion, M-Files will offer a highly-controlled, stable, and secure experience.

Profitability

As mentioned in the “efficiency” section of this review, M-Files gives you the ability to create a customized document management platform tailored to any organization’s needs, but requires a hefty investment in set-up and deployment. 

Unlike a lot of robust document management platforms, however, its licensing cost is relatively low — it’s the labor costs of implementation that will be noticed by your CFO. Because of these relatively-high deployment costs, M-Files will be more profitable the longer it is in use by your organization.

And, since it can be customized to any situation, given enough time and budget, it can replace the majority of your applications used to manage and edits files, excluding specialized production-based software such as Adobe Creative Suite or development software like Swift. 

By operating under one content management system, you can capture and react to the entirety of your organization’s operational data, giving you a highly-detailed picture unachievable via relying on multiple applications sharing data through multiple API calls.

Simply put, M-Files grows more profitable the longer it has been in use, and its dissemination throughout your organization’s operations.

M-FILES: THE HONEST TRUTH

M-Files is a powerful document management platform that can be tailor-made to fit any organization, and manage essentially every file type used in a business case. With this high level of customization, however, comes the need for careful and patient implementation that necessitates your organization to slow down for discovery and roll-out.

What this amounts to is a high potential document management software that is best fit to organizations with the time needed for implementation, and a potential miss for organizations that are unwilling or unable to reduce their output for M-Files’ deployment.

If you want to learn about how M-Files works, visit Folders are Dead, Metadata is Alive.

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