Energy & Utility Management

Driving Data & Decisions

Category Document Management

Our Take: Gartner Peer Insights and Our Amazing Customers

At M-Files, our goal is to provide knowledge workers with the connected content and intelligent automation they need to empower a smarter way to work. However, we wouldn’t be who we are today without our amazing customers. Our customers are our guiding “why” — and as of today*, we are proud to share that because of them, we have achieved a 4.4 out of 5-star rating in the Content Services category on  Gartner Peer Insights[1], which documents customer experience through verified ratings and peer reviews from enterprise IT professionals.
The satisfaction of our customers has, and always will be, our number one priority. We’re humbled that as of August 1, 2021, 88% of Gartner Peer Insights respondents would recommend M-Files as a Content Services Platform, based on 78 reviews over the past twelve months. We believe achieving such a reputable Gartner Peer Insights rating showcases our on-going commitment to providing customers with new, innovative ways to manage, secure and collaborate around content.
The reviews speak for themselves, and we couldn’t be more humbled our customers think so highly of us:
  • “It is a mastermind software to have when it comes to managing data. I have used M-Files for a long time and I am completely satisfied with the breadth of functionalities it offers.” – Consultant, Services [read full review]
  • “One of the best document management system available in market. Easy to store and manage large files in this application. Collaboration made easy with this application.” – Senior Analyst, Services [read full review]
  • “M-Files is one of the best content management software which lets users to create, manage and store the data. The product is very easy to use and implement.” – Analyst, Services [read full review]
  • “M-Files is a document management software where users can firstly and quickly manage and organize electronic documents. The user interface is very good and the user can perform the multi-task at one time directly from the central dashboard.” – Software Engineer, Services [read full review]
We strive to provide a modern approach to information management that increases the productivity of knowledge workers, ensures a seamless digital experience, strengthens collaboration, enables business continuity, and reduces business risk. Over this past year, it has been our greatest pleasure helping organizations navigate, control, and manage overwhelming amounts of data brought on by digital transformation and the pandemic. We are humbled our customers see the value in our metadata-driven approach and look forward to helping our customers continue to see greater productivity and ROIs across their organizations. *August 1, 2021, based on 78 reviews [1]  Gartner Peer Insights reviews constitute the subjective opinions of individual end users based on their own experiences and do not represent the views of Gartner or its affiliates. Source: https://resources.m-files.com/blog/our-take-gartner-peer-insights-and-our-amazing-customers

5 Best Security Practices for Remote Teams During Coronavirus and Beyond

Social distancing measures taken by responsible employers have greatly increased the number of employees working remotely. Even in the midst of this crisis, some companies and their employees can enjoy the objective benefits of not having to waste time and money on long commutes. At the same time, plenty of businesses really didn’t have the structure in place to support a vast, full-time work-at-home workforce with the security of business processes they needed.

Remote Workforce Security Challenges During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Because employees or departments scrambled for ad-hoc solutions to remote working, they sometimes sacrificed robust security to get up and running as quickly as possible. Sadly, cybercriminals can also work from home or other remote locations, and many saw the rise in remote workers as an opportunity.

For example, one survey of security professionals found:

  •  A majority of security employees struggled to offer strong security solutions to remote employees.
  • At the same time, almost half of the respondents reported seeing an increase in phishing attempts.
  • Most of these corporate security pros had concerns about their ability to scale security, respond to abrupt environmental changes, and the difficultly of controlling employee use of unknown and untested software.

Five Best Security Practices for Remote Employees

With the increase in cyberthreats and the concerns of security professionals in mind, it’s a good idea to consider some best practices to help keep business systems free of threats and just as important, to ensure compliance with rules that govern privacy and security in different industries.

1. Two-Factor Authentication

With two-factor authentication, sometimes called 2FA, users have to finish their login with a code that gets sent to another device, typically a cell phone. It takes a few seconds longer to access the system, but it provides better protection against phishing attacks. One CTO found that this simple measure reduced security problems in his company by almost 40 percent.

2. Use Secure Connections

Obviously, most of these home workers will rely upon their home Wi-Fi connections. Without any other protections, your security will only be as good as whatever the employee’s home internet company, router, and password can provide. To boost security, you might have employees log in through a VPN or other method of encrypting communication between their home device and your corporate systems.

3. Endpoint Security and Monitoring

No matter how well you protect logins and communication, you still can’t always avoid the threat of malicious code entering your system. On your server end, you can employ software to block threats and monitor system usages.

Even though most threats may stem from accidental vulnerabilities, it’s impossible to ignore the rise of inside jobs as a source of risks. Not only will these systems provide a firewall against malicious software, they can also send automatic alerts for unusual data use and provide a clear audit trail just in case something does happen.

4. Develop and Create Clear Security Policies

Even before the coronavirus outbreak, companies grappled with security issues that stemmed from remote workers and the rising use of personal devices.

For example:

  • In some cases, you may allow personal devices, so long as employees adhere to other security policies. For instance, you may require installation of approved security software and only let employees login to your network through your corporate VPN.
  • In other cases, you may ask employees in sensitive areas to only use the laptops or other devices that you have issued to them and to only use them in approved ways. For example, you may restrict these company-issued devices to work and not allow employees to use them to watch videos or browse social sites.

In any case, it’s important to develop clear policies. In addition to communicating these rules, you should also ensure that employees understand why they’re important and that they can incur consequences for ignoring them.

5. Deploy Secure Information Systems

Deploying intelligent and robust document and data management systems may not take as much of an effort as you think it will. These systems come designed and built to offer robust security and rule-based access for both in-house and remote workers. They also provide audit trails and guarantee recoverability, so if something suspicious happens, it’s easy to trace the issue to its source and remediate it.

How M-Files Offers the Best Solution for Remote and In-House Employees

Companies that already employed a smart data management system like M-Files didn’t have to worry about an abrupt change from working in a corporate office to a home office.

For example:

  • Access to documents could already have been set by role, so the people who needed information would have an easy time accessing it, according to their security levels. To others, that same information would be invisible. The right people could view, change, add, or delete information, and others would not even see it exists.
  • With built-in encrypted access and simple rollbacks for recoveribility, M-Files also has already been certifed as an ISO-27001 Certified Provider. This standard meets the requirements for the most sensitive data and systems.

Besides security, the intelligent features of M-Files can help improve your business processes. To learn how M-Files can help protect your business, employees, and information, schedule a custom demo today.

Source: https://resources.m-files.com/blog/5-best-security-practices-for-remote-teams-during-coronavirus-and-beyond

Your Digital Transformation Success or Failure Depends on these 6 IT Department Roles

Thanks to the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic, more and more businesses find themselves in urgent need of a digital transformation to stay afloat. This includes both organizations who were previously interested in the idea but who didn’t think it would happen quite so quickly, along with those who never really gave it much thought at all. Regardless, your IT department will play a crucial role in determining whether your own transformation is the success you need it to be or the failure you fear it might become. More specifically, there are six core IT department roles that will be instrumental in guiding your organization’s digital transformation.

The Cloud

By far, one of the most important contributors to the success of your digital transformation comes down to the cloud specialists you choose to surround yourself with. Remember that these professionals are tasked with doing more than just managing the migration of information and services from one platform to another. They also need to be on hand to quickly troubleshoot any issues, to help team members navigate the cloud environment, and to help mitigate risk for your rapidly transforming organization. This is especially true during the COVID-19 era, where industries are constantly evolving in new and unexpected ways and businesses have to evolve just as quickly to stay ahead in increasingly uncertain times.

Systems Integrators

Another invaluable role during your digital transformation will be that of the system integrators. These IT professionals will need to customize the employee experience before, during, and after the digital transformation itself, carefully selecting the best combination of hardware, software, networking, and storage products to support your people and the important work they’re doing on a daily basis. In a best-case scenario, systems integrators will be able to create a highly specialized experience that not only meets your business’ needs as they exist today, but that also makes sure your technology is finally aligned with your long-term business goals — which is a big part of what your digital transformation is supposed to accomplish, to begin with.

Information Security

Any digital transformation always brings with it a certain degree of risk in terms of cybersecurity, which is why another one of the most important IT department roles that can mean the difference between success and failure will ultimately come down to your information security team. As more and more information and activity happen within a cloud-based, “anytime/anywhere” infrastructure, security must become and remain a top priority no matter what. Information security specialists can not only help come up with a cybersecurity strategy that makes the most sense given your environment, but they can also monitor for any suspicious activity to help stop small problems today before they have a chance to become potentially catastrophic ones tomorrow.

Data Analysis

Hidden inside the massive volumes of data that your business is creating on a daily basis is a treasure trove of insight that would have otherwise gone undiscovered. This is especially true during a digital transformation when you need access to current and high-value information to make the most informed decisions possible every day. Data analysts help enormously to that end by retrieving, gathering, and analyzing data — all of which allows you to take a more organic data-driven approach to what you’re doing. Not only can they spot important patterns and better understand how certain activities impact your business, but they can also make smarter recommendations on how to improve your operations to help you reach your long-term goals more efficiently than ever.

The User Experience (UX)

User experience designers also have a crucial role to play in your digital transformation by capitalizing on opportunities to improve not only the accessibility of your system but its usability and interaction potential as well. In a larger sense, they’re tasked with providing all of your users with the best possible experience that they can — all so that your employees can spend less time trying to figure out how to get their technology to work and instead focus on putting that technology to work for them. This is once again particularly important during COVID-19, given the fact that your online experience is essentially the only experience that you’re able to offer your employees for the foreseeable future. Therefore, user experience designers are critical to not only help make sure that your digital transformation goes off without a hitch but to do so in a way that also makes sure that your employees have access to everything they need to do their jobs every day.

Information Management

Finally, we arrive at information management specialists, otherwise known as the hardworking men and women who are tasked with making sure that data is flowing freely across your organization at all times. Especially when you’re talking about something as important as digital transformation, you cannot afford to deal with data silos at any point. If you’re not sure where information is or even what is important and what isn’t, it’s difficult to make sure that everything transitions from one system to another as securely and as smoothly as possible. Information management specialists can leverage solutions like M-Files to bring all of your data together, regardless of where it might be stored. An information management platform like M-Files will create a single data repository for all of your important files, regardless of whether they’re stored in the cloud, on personal drives, on network shares, or on something else entirely. In the end, any digital transformation will always be a time-consuming and somewhat stressful process, but that is especially true during the COVID-19 era when more people are working remotely than ever. But by making sure that these six core IT department roles are filled before, during, and after the transition, you’ll have put your business in an excellent position to enjoy all of the benefits of this process with a few of the potential downsides as possible. Source: https://resources.m-files.com/blog/your-digital-transformation-success-or-failure-depends-on-these-6-it-department-roles

6 Hot Take Information Management Trends in 2021

According to Nitro, workers spend an average of 50% of their time creating and preparing documents. Yet, document issues account for more than 21% of daily productivity loss. Businesses depend on information — documents, files, data, content… everything. It is the lifeblood of just about every organization. The past few years have seen a reckoning for companies in how they capture, store, structure, and disseminate information within the organization. The explosion of information across the enterprise has made it an IT issue that cannot be ignored. The reason is simple… unstructured data is generated at an alarming rate and it’s burrowed away in siloed applications — think email, chat logs, network drives, CRM. This combined with the huge rise of remote work in 2020 has put intelligent information management solutions like M-Files in the spotlight. The way these solutions combat the problem is revolutionary, featuring transformative capabilities like AI-enabled tagging and collation of content across otherwise disconnected repositories. To put it into proper perspective, let’s examine the obstacles to efficient information management and the six trends you can expect in 2021.

Pervasive (but Not New) Challenges in Information Management for 2021

Companies are consistently battling several information management challenges, elucidating the need to combat them with a frontline intelligent information management system. Top of the list of challenges are:
  • A flood of unstructured data — all information not contained in tidy databases, the information contained in documents, PowerPoints, email attachments, email messages, chat logs
  • Difficulty in organizing and classifying data, especially in a traditional hierarchy of file folders and subfolders
  • Content scattered across the entire information landscape in siloed systems and applications, like a wasteland of misfit documents
Hopefully, some of the trends mentioned below will help ameliorate some of these challenges. Over 60% of information workers needed to access at least four systems, according to CMSWire. Federated search describes a search technology that can scan several sources for information at the same time. By default, federated search capabilities are baked into the M-Files solution. M-Files doesn’t care where your documents are. Searches can be completed across all company information silos to return results, regardless of where the files live. That’s the power of focusing on content over location — decoupling the content from its repository.

AI-Enabled Information Management Functions

Artificial intelligence is ever-present in many technologies we use, and information management is another technology that has a prominent place now for AI. It’s especially useful in a few ways: AI can comb through large amounts of data, for personally identifiable information as an example, and AI can suggest metadata tags to help classify data. M-Files has spent extensive resources to stay on the bleeding edge of AI in information management. M-Files offers several intelligence services that will help you automate your office work.
  • M-Files Smart Classifier: Automatically suggests a Class for an object, such as “Template”, “Agreement”, or “Offer”
  • M-Files Information Extractor: Automatically scans through the content of a document to suggest relevant metadata
  • M-Files Image Analysis: Automatically examines the image to suggest captions, categories, tags, and facial analysis results as metadata suggestions

The Rise of Anywhere, Anytime Access to Information

The year 2020 will go down in the history books. The whole world was shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic and for businesses, this meant deploying a large remote workforce to ensure business continuity. It put into stark contrast those that were ready with digital transformation and those that were behind the curve. Knowledge workers needed remote access to company information and files. They needed the same experience from home as they would at the office. By far, the number one most vital part of any successful remote, flexible work strategy has to do with a true information platform at the center. At its core, an information management system is precisely what it sounds like — a solution designed to facilitate not only the storage of critical data but also the organization and retrieval of that same information. M-Files provides remote access to information from anywhere in the world and from any device. Now, employees can work from anywhere — the hotel, their home, an airport, a client location… anywhere.

Enhancing Collaboration

Much like remote work and remote access, flexible and diverse tools that enable hassle-free collaboration will be an indispensable part of a company’s tool stack. As traditional working models shift to a collaboration-centric model, intelligent information management tools like M-Files are needed to enable that shift. But we’ve moved past just enabling collaboration into an era of optimizing it. From sharing documents to tracking tasks to co-authoring, these technologies ease the burden of collaborating, even in a remote work environment.

Connecting Disparate Information Silos

Employees shouldn’t have to toggle between applications, programs, and tools to find the information they need. M-Files and the Intelligent Metadata Layer deliver a simple, unified user experience for modern information management. You can browse data in all connected systems and repositories, whether in the cloud or on-premises with the same user interface — something that other ECM solutions don’t offer.

Friendly and Attractive User-Interface

Now that information management solutions have reached a certain level of maturity, part of the focus has shifted to creating a sleek user experience. Users have become spoiled by Netflix, Amazon, Google, and others and they now expect dynamite user interfaces in business, just as they have in their personal lives. In 2021, M-Files has put the focus on the UI and the experience — highlighted first by M-Files’ new and improved web interface. It’s a trend that will pervade information management solutions of all types and sizes — lest they be bested by competitors that will put the proper resources into intelligent UI design. As you gear up to take advantage of these emerging trends, you might be interested in exploring the M-Files intelligent information management solution. M-Files goes beyond traditional ECM — automate manual workflows and allow employees to work more productively, and M-Files is equipped with out-of-the-box, built-in AI to help classify and find information. Ultimately, M-Files helps organizations find and manage business-critical documents and information from any device, no matter where it’s stored — preparing your organization for anything 2021 might throw at you. Source: https://resources.m-files.com/blog/6-hot-take-information-management-trends-in-2021

The Top 4 Powerful Benefits of a Document Management System

One of the most important things that business leaders need to realize is that outdated technology – especially a document management solution – isn’t just frustrating. It can literally be costing organizations money in more ways than one. In this article, we’ll discuss four benefits of a document management system.

The sheer volume of information that your average enterprise is creating on a daily basis is enormous — to the point where simply keeping track of it all can be an uphill battle. Without the right type of document management structure in place, your employees quickly become overwhelmed by your data, rather than using it to help move your business forward.

Luckily, the right document management system like M-Files can help relieve these issues in businesses in nearly every industry. In fact, a document management system will bring with it a number of distinct benefits and opportunities, all of which are worth a closer look.

The 4 Benefits of a Document Management System

Empowering Compliance Capabilities

Depending on the industry you’re operating in, it’s likely that your business has its fair share of compliance requirements to deal with. One of the major things that a lot of people don’t understand (until it’s far too late) is that if your technology isn’t compliant with regulations like ISO 9001 or ISO 13485, your business isn’t either.

Thankfully, this is one of the chief benefits that a document management system like M-Files brings to the table: they allow you to demonstrate regulatory compliance in an effective way, all while improving visibility into and control over your own information at the exact same time.

M-Files allows you to finally understand how data and business processes flow across your enterprise, allowing you to finally conduct a risk-based approach to quality processes. Plus, approval history and audit trails mean that documents are always highly traceable in a way that meets your security expectations, too.

Superior Document Security

Speaking of document security, a document management system excels to that end by offering a single repository to offer better protection to the critical information you’re creating on a daily basis. When your essential business information is stored across personal and enterprise cloud drives, local storage, network shares and in other spread-out locations, it’s difficult to simply know what is where let alone to protect it all.

By bringing everything together into a single source of information and knowledge, however, you make that information immediately less accessible to hackers and other malicious types of third parties.

Robust Search Facilities

Another issue with having your data so spread out ultimately involves how difficult it can be to find what you’re looking for. This is especially problematic given the sheer volume of documents that make their way through a business every day. If it takes your employees on average ten minutes to find the document that they’re looking for just so that they can START their work, that’s ten minutes that they weren’t doing anything meaningful to drive revenue for your organization. Multiply that opportunity cost by the total number of employees you have and the total number of documents they may need each day and you can begin to get an idea of just how severe this problem can be.

With a proper document management system, however, all of this goes away. It doesn’t matter WHERE something is stored at that point because so long as your employees know WHAT they’re looking for they’ll be able to find it. Likewise, with version control and similar features, you can always make sure that your people are retrieving the correct version of a document at all times.

Enhanced Collaboration Anytime, Anywhere

Finally, we arrive at the ways in which a document management system doesn’t just support internal collaboration but enhances it. The important work that your employees are doing for your clients isn’t created in a vacuum. Oftentimes successful projects are the result of the hard work of countless people, all working in tandem with one another to contribute something more effective than they could as individuals.

But when information is still trapped in data silos, it’s nearly impossible for this to happen because those documents aren’t getting into the hands of the people who need them. Without proper version control, collaboration becomes a disjointed and frustrating process. Three different people may need to review a document before it can be passed onto a client, but how can you be certain that they’re reviewing the same version of that document? If a change is made that eventually comes into question, how do you know who made it? How can you get all key stakeholders on the same page, let alone always moving in the same direction?

A high-quality document management system like M-Files eliminates these issues by providing a single source of information that all parties can access securely anywhere at any time. It doesn’t matter if your workforce will be operating out of home offices for the foreseeable future — they can all access the same versions of documents at the same time and contribute to the job that needs to be done.

This doesn’t just eliminate wasted resources — it promotes far better productivity and delivers more value to your customers as well.

If information is the foundation of your business, it’s safe to say that you need to make the effective management of that information one of your ongoing top priorities. That, in essence, is what a document management system is designed to do: it creates an opportunity to stop worrying about things like compliance, security, lost productivity and poor collaboration, all so that you can focus the maximum amount of your attention on running the most successful business that you can.

Source: https://resources.m-files.com/blog/the-top-4-powerful-benefits-of-a-document-management-system

These Seven Little Document Management System Changes Can Make a Big, Big Difference

Over the years, document management systems have evolved to the point where they’ve become a major contributing factor to the productivity of your organization… or they can be, under the best possible circumstances.

So how do you lean into the strengths that make these solutions so powerful, taking advantage of those “best circumstances” at every opportunity? By making seven little changes to your approach that add up to a big, big difference before you know it.

Create a Culture that Embraces New Software

By far, the most important thing you can do to make a big difference with regards to your document management system involves embracing new software when the situation calls for it. But don’t just drop a new solution into your employee’s laps. Start slow, schedule training sessions to make sure people actually know how to use it (something that will certainly increase adoption) and make yourself available to answer any questions or to address any concerns that your employees might have. Change management is key here and how your organization achieves it will be a key to adoption of your document management system.

Empower Collaboration

You should also make sure that you’re making collaboration a central focal point of all your document management efforts. It will have an almost immediate impact on content creation, for example, as the quality of the work your employees will be able to deliver will always be better if they can freely partner with one another during the process.

Likewise, employees should understand their role in helping to organize files, label documents correctly, delete duplicate files and more. All of this goes a long way towards turning your document management system into something that drives results.

Enable Better Communication

If you had to make a list of all the elements that are the cornerstone of any successful project, communication would undoubtedly be right at the top. One of the major reasons why projects fall apart usually has to do with a breakdown in communication — which is why your document management system is about to become invaluable to that end.

By making your document management system your central point for communication, you’re removing the need for people to interact with multiple applications just to get things done. Plus, you’ll be eliminating yet another potential data silo for information to get lost in — which is why this is one step you should take sooner rather than later.

One Community Administrator to Rule Them All

This is one of those little best practices that far too many organizations overlook — having a project leader (otherwise known as a community administrator) to oversee your document management system moving forward.

For the best results, try to find someone who already has an idea of how to operate every aspect of the system. Not only will this help you continue to make sense of things, but it also gives your employees someone they can always turn to if they have any questions or concerns.

The Power of Versioning

Versioning is a terrific change to implement to your document management system because it allows people to make as many changes as they’d like to a file, all without overwriting the original content contained inside it.

At that point, you can always refer back to an older version of a document if you need to — something that is particularly important while editing. Plus, you’ll be able to see who changed a file, why and when — all of which can be helpful in the long term.

The Importance of Access Rights

Another important best practice you’ll want to implement involves defining access rights for every file and document in your system. Keep in mind that not every employee is going to need access to every last kilobyte of data in order to properly do their jobs.

Not only will access rights help avoid confusion by making sure that nobody can access or even edit a document if they don’t expressly need to, but you’ll also go a long way towards safeguarding those documents as well.

Tagging, Tagging, Tagging

Finally, one of the most important changes that you can implement to your document management system involves leaning into the importance of metadata and tagging — something that makes finding the critical data you’re looking for far, far easier than ever before.

At a minimum, you should eliminate all guesswork from the equation by training your employees how to tag files and other documents the right way at the moment of their creation. Not only can this save a significant amount of time, but it can also increase productivity as well.

As you can see, improving your document management system is less the product of anyone’s major move and is more about a series of smaller ones. But these small tweaks all add up to something far more powerful than they could be on their own — which is a very exciting position for you to be in.

source: https://resources.m-files.com/blog/these-seven-little-document-management-system-changes-can-make-a-big-big-difference

4 Avoidable Stresses of Working with Business Documents

The following article is a guest post by Wendy Seykens, Marketing and Communications Coordinator with M-Files partner BMconsultants.

This year has become the year of virtual meetings — where we all convene together to discuss business. An hour here, half an hour there. Sounds familiar, right? These meetings are a source of the occasional funny moment…

“Oh wait, my microphone was still muted.”

“I’m having connection problems.” (Sounding like a garbled, drive-through speaker.)

“Please excuse my 5-year-old’s temper tantrum.”

But put all of these light moments aside, the advent of remote work (and how that carries into an abundance of virtual meetings) has led to many inefficiencies and, frankly, unnecessary stress in working with business documents.

The following document mismanagement moments are all too common sources of stress for knowledge workers — and they’re avoidable, too. Check out these situations that many have surely found themselves in.

1 | It’s Challenging to Search and Find the Right Documents

During a strategy meeting on Microsoft Teams, you’re looking for the latest version of an agenda made by a colleague.

“Wait a minute, I think this is it! Do you see it? Oh. This is not the latest version? Okay, what about this one?”

It’s so frustrating and time-consuming to constantly search for the right information.

2 | Sharing Documents and Comments in the Chat Window can Prove Troublesome

You send the link to a document in the chat window. Later, multiple links are shared back and forth, and multiple comments are made in the chat.

Note to self: Don’t forget which is the link to the latest version and don’t miss those comments that pertain to your work.

Two days and three projects later… You’ve forgotten which chat the links were in, which link is the most current and which comments you need to pay attention to. So, you reread the whole chat log all over again, like a bad novel.

3 | It’s a Secure Work Environment, Right?

“Hello, everyone. This meeting is being recorded. Did you adjust the cost breakdown? And did you also make sure that the associated contracts are changed? Oh. You’ve already sent the documents in the chat? Thank you very much.”

And then you think to yourself… Is this actually a safe way to share sensitive information and files? Have we checked this with IT?

4 | Which Device is that Document on, Again?

Just before a meeting, you look for a document, so that you can discuss it.

“It really should be on my laptop.” Searching, searching, searching. No luck.

“Didn’t I have it on the desktop in my home office?” Nope.

“Wait, no. It was on my iPad. Let me email it to myself.” Still waiting. Ah, there it is.

Fifteen minutes later than planned, you finally join the online meeting with the right document.

A Simple Solution: M-Files Intelligent Information Management

Have these situations happened to you? And now that you’re aware of these situations, think about how much time is wasted searching and, above all, finding the right documents. Five minutes here. Ten minutes there. All of it adds up. In fact, Gartner says that professionals spend 50% of their time searching for information, and on average, take 18 minutes to locate each document.

How nice would it be if you could search and find all of your work files in one central system? What if it no longer mattered where a file is? What if you could you search across the entire information ecosystem with the help of metadata? What if that central system was integrated with, for example, Microsoft Office 365 and Teams?

There must be an easy solution for that. Yes, there is. With M-Files, these stressful, annoying moments are forever a thing of the past. M-Files is a unique intelligent information management solution that enriches the way businesses secure, process and manage data and content — documents, images, emails, customer information, or other information objects.

M-Files classifies and manages information based on ‘what’ it is, rather than ‘where’ it’s stored. Regardless of whether that information lives in the M-Files platform, or across other systems and repositories, information can be accessed and managed through a single view, without needing an expensive and time-consuming data migration.

M-Files offers connections to network drives, Microsoft and Google apps, as well as major business applications and other document management systems. Ultimately, M-Files lets you fast-track digital business transformation by breaking down silos in separate applications, systems and repositories.

Source: https://resources.m-files.com/blog/4-avoidable-stresses-of-working-with-business-documents

How Long Does It Actually Take to Find a Document? — Dissecting the Many Stats Out There

How Long Does It Actually Take to Find a Document?

Let’s track the timeline of responses over the last twenty years…

2001

IDC reports that workers who manage, create, or edit documents for a company were spending up to 2.5 hours per day searching for what they needed.

2003

IDC published Moving Beyond Search: Advanced Data Gathering in the Enterprise, which includes the comment:

“Nearly 70% of respondents (knowledge workers) to IDC’s KMWorld Conference search survey indicated that they spend five or more hours per week doing online information searches, with 16% indicating that they spend 12 hours a week or more doing searches.”

2011

IDC publishes Managed Print and Document Services for Controlling Today’s and Tomorrow’s Information Costs:

“IDC surveys find that the time spent searching for information averages 8.8 hours per week.”

2012

McKinsey reports that employees spend 1.8 hours every day searching and gathering information.

IDC’s Information Worker Survey says workers spend 5 hours per week searching for documents. (See chart.)

2013

Gartner says that professionals spend 50% of their time searching for information, and on average, take 18 minutes to locate each document.

So, what do we know?

It seems like through the past few decades, the time it takes to find information has decreased. That checks out. In 2001, we didn’t have near the technology aptitude we have now. It’s worth mentioning that the above statistics are nowhere near homogenous in their methodology, a point made very poignantly by Martin White in his LinkedIn Pulse article “Time spent searching”​ – a chronology of the myth and some recent research.

But still…

Anecdotally, I know that I used to spend a bit of time trying to find information before I was introduced to M-Files. Whether it was 2.5 hours a day or 18 minutes per document is irrelevant, because I can tell you that it was way more time than it needed to be — switching between my laptop folders, Salesforce and other systems trying to find the right version.

For argument’s sake, let’s assume that it took less than the 18 minutes Gartner suggests it takes to find a document. Let’s assume less than 15 minutes… less than 12… less than 10. Let’s just say, on average, it takes 8 minutes to find a document.

I can tell you emphatically and unequivocally…

It now takes me all of 15 seconds to find any piece of information I need with the help of M-Files — maybe 30 seconds tops if it’s down the search results a bit.

That’s a far cry from 8 minutes or even 5 minutes. Imagine how much time you could recover for more productive work if literally every document you needed — created by you or someone else, for this project or that client — was available in one location in just a couple clicks.

The Power of Federated Search and Google-Like Results

As we’ve mentioned before, federated search describes a search technology that can scan multiple sources for information at the same time. Arguably one of M-Files’ most compelling features is the enablement of true federated search.

Connecting to All of the Systems and Nooks and Crannies Where Information Hides

M-Files vaults are themselves a repository where users can store files, documents and other information.

But M-Files also connects to existing systems to present information no matter where it lives. Imagine a world where it doesn’t matter if the information you need is in your CRM, SharePoint, ERP, network folders, wherever. It means that you can deploy M-Files without disturbing existing systems that certain business units or departments prefer. You can institute an overarching, scalable information management strategy without a massive data migration.

A Single Keyword is All You Need to Find Information

Simply type in a keyword and find what you need. Let’s talk about that.

Metadata. That’s what underpins the entire M-Files intelligent information management platform. It’s what enables you to find what you need with just a keyword. It’s what effectively decouples business information from file location and places the emphasis where it needs to be — the content of the file.

When a file is saved, users are prompted to enter key information on the metadata card — dates, people, type of document, keywords. Artificial intelligence can even help do that for you.

The result is simple, yet profound: files are super easy to find.

Google-Like Results

Finding information on Google is second nature for us. Type in a word or phrase and boom… page after page of results. The results are presented by relevance and can easily be filtered by date, website and other parameters.

Now imagine you had the same experience when searching for business information — where you simply enter a keyword (and a filter or two, if you want), and the system returned a search window with the most relevant results at the top.

This is what happens in M-Files. Again, no matter where your information is stored, M-Files reaches across your entire information ecosystem to present the most relevant search results.

Between you and me, M-Files has a ton of incredible features that turn your operation into a well-oiled machine. But when friends and family ask what my company does, this is my go-to. I explain this concept of federated search and the lightbulbs start to go off.

It’s powerful. It’s simple. It’s an experience every single office worker should have in their workplace. I don’t know how I managed to be productive before — when it took longer than a few seconds to find what I needed to do my job.

Source: https://resources.m-files.com/blog/how-long-does-it-actually-take-to-find-a-document-dissecting-the-many-stats-out-there

Real-World Information Management Use Case: Four-Eye Review and Approval

At its core, the concept behind the Four Eyes principle is a simple one — it’s simply a matter of getting two different people to approve some type of action before it can be taken. You’ve no doubt heard the old saying of “two heads are better than one.” This is simply the same concept, applied to the larger world of business. The Four Eyes principle is something that you see play out in a wide range of industries. In the legal profession, for example, many documents require two signatures for verification instead of one. In a retail environment, there may be a requirement to have at least two people unloading a truck or stocking shelves at the same time in an effort to reduce the risk of injury or theft. Even some data management systems require two people to approve updates to documents before those changes are committed to the data. Regardless, what you’re really trying to do is increase accountability across the board. A second person might catch an error or other type of issue with a document that the first one missed. Of course, in some environments, this is a lot easier said than done — particularly in those where data is spread out in a lot of different repositories and leaders may lack basic visibility into what is being stored where, when, and how. If you’re not actually sure where the most recent version of a document exists, it’s hard to get one person to sign off on it or review it — let alone two. Thankfully, there is a solution that can allow you to leverage the full benefits of the Four Eyes principle to your advantage. A simple workflow process in an information management system like M-Files can not only make this easier than ever, but simple and efficient at the exact same time.

The Four Eyes Principle and M-Files: A Match Made in Heaven

Consider the Four Eyes principle within the context of a professional services firm, where two different people need to review the same document before it makes its way into the hands of a client. Here, this protocol provides a level of quality control on all client deliverables — not to mention a series of checks and balances to make sure that important items are getting out the door on-time. If for just one example, a firm has finalized an updated corporate tax return for a client, it will obviously need to be reviewed by at least two people — the accountant that prepared it and the client’s account manager. With an information management solution like M-Files, you don’t necessarily need these two people to be in constant communication with one another because the system is designed to handle every step of the process. As soon as that corporate tax return is completed, that information automatically gets assigned to a workflow that instantly notifies the reviewing parties. This happens regardless of where the information is stored or in which data repository it may exist. M-Files connects disparate repositories, creating a single source of truth for information across a business. At that point, all collaborators can then co-author the document and add notes for further changes. Only once everything is formally approved by all key stakeholders will the document be authorized as a client deliverable. This helps make sure that only the best quality version of the document makes its way to the client, thus improving their experience and avoiding unnecessary delays as well. Without getting too in the weeds, four-eye approval workflows can be configured however the company prefers. Consecutive, Down-the-Line Approval. One such configuration is a consecutive approval workflow, where the document flows to the first approver and then on to the second afterward.
Concurrent, Parallel Approval. Another option has review and approval done concurrently, and after both have completed their review, the document process is complete.
The configuration is completely up to the user. Either way, this type of workflow automation is a great way to create an audit trail of advisory deliverables to track who made what changes, when, and why. If anything about the document comes into question in the future, you can always see who made which revisions and get insight into what their justifications were. This isn’t just helpful for tracking the overall status of documents as they make their way around your business — it’s also absolutely essential for compliance and even legal reasons, as well. Generally speaking, the organizations that tend to have a difficult time successfully implementing the Four Eyes principle are ones that don’t really have control over their data in the first place. They tend to lack a way to really track the progress of documents that are in play, creating a situation where two different people may be working from different versions of a document — causing unnecessary errors along the way. The right information management system like M-Files, on the other hand, is built to keep these types of situations from happening. M-Files can help break down those data silos so that communication and collaboration are easier than ever before. This in turn creates the most important benefit of all: a situation where the Four Eyes principle is executed quickly and seamlessly. Source: https://resources.m-files.com/blog/real-world-information-management-use-case-four-eye-review-and-approval

Digital Transformation at Scale: 5 Game-Changing Factors

While it’s absolutely true that no two digital transformations are created equally, maybe the most important factor for digital transformation at scale is that it begins and ends as true company-wide efforts. Without a clear understanding of the importance of the project — along with buy-in from any and all key stakeholders along the way — your efforts will be doomed to failure before they’ve even had a chance to really get going. Regardless of the nature of your project, any digital transformation will require several factors to ensure its success. Not only will they help make sure that everyone is always on the same page and moving forward, but they will also be invaluable in terms of mitigating risk and avoiding a lot of the mistakes that cause serious issues as well.

Define an Ample Budget

Even modest digital transformations still require an upfront capital investment to be successful — which means the number one game-changing factor to help scale your own efforts involves preparing for these costs as soon as you can. While it’s true that the costs of your efforts to embrace emerging technologies will obviously vary depending on a number of factors that are unique to your business, experts recommend that you should expect to budget around a 5% operating cost which itself will be determined by the marketing and your unique company. But when you consider the money you could be leaving on the table by not making an effort to keep up with your competitors in a technological capacity, it’s easy to see why this investment is such an important one to make for most people.

The Importance of a Well-Defined Plan

Once you know exactly what results you want from your digital transformation, you need to define the steps needed to make that vision a reality. In other words, you need a well-defined plan and you need one BEFORE your digital transformation begins. It may take a bit of trial and error to determine the exact course of action for your company, but doing so will make sure that everyone understands what is expected of them and why their role is so important. It will also help avoid confusion later on.

Choosing the Right Technologies: Things to Consider

Since technology itself is at the heart of digital transformation at scale, it stands to reason that you should spend a great deal of time thinking about which ones you’re trying to embrace and, more importantly, why. But it would be a mistake to start with the technology itself and buy into something simply because it’s “new” or “state-of-the-art.” Think about what your business needs to accomplish that it currently cannot and make a list of those technologies that can help make that happen. Are you trying to execute a digital transformation with an emphasis on cloud-based services to reduce your overhead and empower collaboration? Do you want to be able to employ artificial intelligence tools to derive more from your business’ data? Do you want to bring in automation so that you can offload a lot of those menial tasks, freeing up the valuable time of your human employees to focus on those matters that really need them? If your business is constantly battling data silos and lost productivity due to poor communication and collaboration, for example, an information management solution like M-Files would absolutely be one of those technologies that can help solve these challenges. By connecting information across your enterprise into a single, secure repository, insight can finally flow freely across your organization for the first time. Everyone who needs access to information to do their job has it, thus making it easier to work together and derive superior results for your clients as well. Along the same lines, you’ll also want to make an effort to implement these technologies with minimal disruption to existing operations. A solution like M-Files can help enormously to that end, as it works natively with a lot of the software you’re probably already using and won’t necessarily require employees to change their workflows or undergo a massive data migration.

Change Management Best Practices to Be Aware Of

Change isn’t necessarily a bad thing — but it can be if your employees aren’t engaged all throughout your digital transformation. This is why change management matters so much to your effort’s success — if employees are unwilling to change for the sake of your company’s future, engagement will suffer. This will put you farther away from your goal, not closer to it. Always be transparent about what shape your digital transformation is taking and allow employees to prepare on their own terms to get them more comfortable. Make sure you provide training on any new tools and keep those communication lines open so that you can address any and all concerns someone may have.

Digital Transformation at Scale: Setting Benchmarks for Success

Finally, you need to understand that “success” in terms of digital transformation isn’t as clear-cut as you may think. There is no set amount of time for how long it is supposed to take, for example. The only metrics you should be paying attention to are those that speak directly to what you were trying to accomplish, to begin with. To put it another way, your benchmarks for success will be unique to your business — but it’s important you set them now and measure them continually to help guarantee progress is moving along as it should be. Consistently monitoring and measuring key performance indicators relative to your goals will at the very least always help confirm you’re headed in the right direction. This will also help make sure that everyone stays focused, that people are ready to learn and adapt as new challenges arise, and it will also help confirm that the approach you’re taking is the right one. That last point may very well be the most important benefit of all. Source: https://resources.m-files.com/blog/digital-transformation-at-scale-5-game-changing-factors