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Digital Transformation: The Incentive for ECM Modernization

Digital transformation and intelligent information management touch every business. The transformation is driven by the need for more efficient office work while retaining compliance with new regulations.

When finding, accessing, sharing and managing information, businesses often still rely on multiple disconnected data repositories and silos. Knowledge workers need to know in which system, on which SharePoint site, or in which network folder relevant and important information is stored. This can create inefficiencies because the ways to save and archive information vary from person to person.

Intelligent information management is about more than just documents

Files and documents are just a part of the total data that organizations need to manage. Structural data is just as important and needs to be managed in connection with non-structured data, i.e. content. Therefore, we talk about intelligent information management rather than document management or ECM.

The leading research company Gartner has also renamed the new generation of ECM as “content services”. The new information management solutions offer a fresh approach to how information is stored and managed. The repository or system of storage is no longer relevant. The new breed of information management platforms offer a federated approach rather than one centralized system.

The dark data struggle

There are tools to manage information efficiently, but what is preventing businesses from doing so?

The amount of information doubles about every 16 months. Information workers have no means to process all the relevant data unless there are new ways to process it.

Veritas estimates that about half of corporate data is so called dark data. This sort of data is stored on corporate systems and repositories, but it cannot be utilized in business decision making as it has not been analyzed and it is not available when needed.

Due to the problems in finding relevant documents when necessary, our experience tells that about 80 percent of documents never gets used again and 70 percent of documented information is recreated.

As a result, information workers spend about a third of their working time just looking for information. They don’t know where it is stored, who saved it, or how it is named.

It is also important to be able to identify business-critical information from irrelevant clutter and to always discover data that matters in context at a particular time.

It is not about cloud or on premises. It is about having both

The trend is pretty clear: software vendors are rapidly moving their offerings to the cloud and CIOs remain busy planning their cloud strategy. Some organizations adopt cloud solutions faster than others, but most organizations eventually want to consume cloud services.

While your organization might want to benefit from recent investments to a local data center or private cloud infrastructure now, your needs for information management systems may change when you update your other IT solutions, such as your ERP system to a modern cloud-based solution. You should not see cloud only as a storage service either: you can often leverage modern cloud-based AI services to process the data that needs to reside behind the corporate firewall, for example.

No more manual updates

Many B2B cloud-solutions offer a limited feature set or sub-par usability because they are only browser-based. The modern cloud solutions take advantage of native applications and therefore offer the best user experience on any device. For example, a vast majority of M-Files cloud and on-premises customers use the native Windows application (M-Files Desktop) for daily work because it offers seamless integration to Windows and the best user experience for most information management use cases.

However, updating all clients is quite an effort and takes a lot of time from IT. This is a dilemma for all if the efficiency of IT stalls the efficiency of users. Updates might also be delayed and pushed forward to avoid the manual update task. So far, all ECM platforms have shared this problem.

This is a pity because modern software development is based on continuous integration and continuous deployment of updates. This allows vendors to release a new software version even a few times a day when needed. The new way of working changes how critical error fixes, security patches, or even new features can be delivered to customers.

Welcome M-Files Online!

To address the challenges of modern, intelligent information management described above, we have recently launched M-Files Online: the new true hybrid cloud content services platform that brings your information management to the new era:

  • In M-Files, documents are just one type of asset and although important, it’s still just one among others. We allow our customers to view and manage business data, business processes and all related documents in the same place.
  • You can use M-Files Online as a centralized repository for all data or connect it to external systems and repositories without the need for data migration. Perhaps the most popular data repositories in businesses are network shares so all M-Files Online subscribers receive a connector without extra cost.
  • M-Files Online lets you freely combine on-premises and cloud workloads without having to purchase separate user licenses for each system.
  • M-Files now releases updates to the software on a monthly basis, or even more frequently if needed. To help you to get the most out of the new monthly release cadence, the modern native clients for M-Files (M-Files Desktop and M-Files Mobile) are now automatically updated without intervention from the IT department. This ensures that all users always get the latest and greatest version of the software on their computers without a need for manual updates.
  • M-Files Online offers artificial intelligence features, such as automatic metadata suggestions and image analysis for free to help you get your metadata right without laborious manual metadata entry.

M-Files Online helps your employees focus on information that is relevant to the task at hand. With M-Files Online, we can more confidently claim that we change the way the world manages information.