Just about everyone in the technology space is familiar with the ubiquitous Gartner Magic Quadrants. If you’ve been living under a rock, here’s the quick hit. Every year, Gartner publishes research that provides a graphical competitive positioning of technology providers in over 100 fast-growing IT product categories. This year, M-Files was recognized for the third consecutive year as a Visionary in the Content Services Platforms (CSP) Magic Quadrant.
What some may not know is that Gartner also publishes a companion report, which “provides deeper insight into the capability and suitability of providers’ IT products and services based on specific or customized use cases.”
For our category, it’s called the Gartner Critical Capabilities Report for CSPs. Essentially, this provides the raw data and vendor rankings that underpin vendor positioning in the Magic Quadrant. It’s a quintessential piece of content for application leaders and IT decision-makers evaluating — or soon to be evaluating — information management platforms.
As you use the report to review potential solutions, it’s worth noting that M-Files compared very favourably in this year’s CSP Critical Capabilities Report, ranked with a share of 1st place in five key Product Service Rating categories:
- Content Management
- Content Security
- Delivery Model
- Metadata and Classification
Our solution also had a Product Service Rating ranked in the top five for:
- System Security
Think Platform… Not Application
Barring a few outliers, most solutions are relatively close to one other in how they are ranked, so all of those should be able to suit application needs. Thus, potential end-users should focus on the platforms holistically — considering search, security, metadata classification, workflow capabilities and other functionalities.
If you look for a solution in a single application area, you will end up buying another silo, which might appear to solve problems but could exacerbate them further as information becomes scattered across one more system. It is much better to have a single solution that provides additional value by centralizing content, providing context to information, and capable of establishing workflows around company information.
In addition, the Gartner report makes the following recommendation around artificial intelligence:
“Base your selection, in part, on a vendor’s current and future planned AI features — a key evaluation criterion. AI technologies will deliver increased efficiencies via automation and productivity enhancements, so ensure that AI is a strategic focus for the vendor you choose.”
When we think platform and not the application, you have to consider the power of AI in providing contextualization of company information — a technology layer that M-Files embraced early in acquiring AI and natural language processing provider Apprento in 2017 to bolster AI capabilities. AI capabilities are an important feature set, as it helps to control content chaos with context, identifying and bringing together information from legacy “dark data” silos.
Look for Strong Core Functions and Security
For those evaluating information management strategies, strong core functions — such as search, metadata management, classification and content management — are imperative to keep up with a rapidly growing volume of information generated by growth itself. Furthermore, smart solutions like M-Files are reinforcing their core functionality across disparate silos, connecting together multiple information repositories into one single user interface without a data migration.
Driven by elevated concerns and regulations (think GDPR), content security is arguably the strongest single key capability and an essential facet of any information management system. Evaluators should keep a keen eye on security-centric features like market-leading access control, audit trails, federated authentication, file encryption in transit and at rest, intrusion detection, and data loss prevention.
User Experience is Still Key
The measure of a platform’s real-world utility is user adoption. Ultimately, user adoption is based on both ease-of-use and the creation of added value. In short, if the user experience is simple, intuitive and practical, the platform will become indispensable to employees’ day-to-day workloads. Great user experiences lean heavily on modern UIs and interaction models are driven by metadata-based suggestions. Think about some of the most successful and user-friendly interfaces on the market today — personal use applications like iTunes, Spotify or Netflix. These services suggest relevant content and allow users to browse through objects based on metadata like a genre, author/artist. They serve as great examples that enterprise-grade information management tools can borrow from.
The connection of disparate data silos is also a salient point here. More specifically, the quality of the user experience is amplified when more data sources are connected to the CSP. Thus, user utility and value grow as the span of sources grows.