The 5 Key Themes for M-Files in 2020

Looking back at 2019, it was a year of significant development for M-Files. That was the year we truly saw the transformation with M-Files Online — allowing customers to truly achieve instant cloud-readiness. And, it was the year we helped customers find the benefits of intelligent information management within their daily business applications — like Microsoft Teams or Outlook, or Salesforce.

But so much for nostalgia. Now let’s jump into the path forward for 2020.

Our focus for this year in product development is driven by five major themes.

1. Digging deeper into our core differentiators

User experience

As a product, M-Files is built on three cornerstones. M-Files is:

  • metadata driven
  • – system and repository neutral
  • – AI-powered.

Our metadata approach sets us apart from the competition. Our solution is truly metadata driven; everything is managed with metadata — from the documents themselves to the user and access rights, workflows, policies, app integrations and more.

On all the three cornerstone areas, 2020 brings in development that will enhance the user experience and offer new ways to automate office work. As cool as AI can sound, it all boils down to this: How can it help employees work more efficiently? Our new intelligence features will make the user the centerpiece of everything, assisting the user in the context of his role and task at hand. And, as an out-of-the-box feature, artificial intelligence is still going to be as simple as ABC.

2. Improving the user experience

Putting the user at the center also means adjusting to the way THEY prefer to do their work. This was one of the key initiatives for 2019, and we continue the same path in 2020. We will embed M-Files into more systems and common business applications. One more was just recently launched, when we integrated with Esri ArcGIS, a tool for applying location-based analytics into business practices.

On top of the integrations to other systems, we will significantly improve our own web client, offering easy deployment and ease-of-use in a modern and simplistic UI, designed to support daily work.

3. Scaling for more complex requirements and environments


As organizations grow and begin to embrace new technologies to deal with the exploding amount of data, it is vital to offer more scalable ways to run business applications — like M-Files —  or to search for data in both cloud repositories as well as on-premises data storage.

Our roadmap for 2020 supports initiatives like multi-server mode, which will improve scalability. Multi-server mode will always balance the load for M-Files Online customers by offering high availability.

4. Improving service management capabilities

Service capability

As we look at 2020, the M-Files solution will also provide better service to customers — improved cloud architecture, self-service capabilities and other improvements that help further our task to be the best SaaS provider of intelligent information management solutions.

Already, M-Files is recognized as a Visionary in Gartner Magic Quadrant for Content Services Platforms, the Best Document Management Software of 2020 by, and a Leader by Nucleus Research. User experience is very important to us, and we pride ourselves on the ease-of-use confirmed by numerous customers and reports — like the Top-Rated Enterprise Content Management Software for 2019 by TrustRadius. The new service management capabilities will help us further improve the user experience.

5. Enhancing collaboration capabilities

Easier collaboration

Collaboration seems to be an overarching theme in numerous discussions and articles. The new ways of working together in virtual teams call for new solutions for easy collaboration.
People will always find ways to work the way they prefer, and unless the organization provides safe but easy-to-use tools for collaboration, people will do so with whatever tools they find.

Easier collaboration is one of the themes for 2020 for M-Files as well as we seek to serve the information-driven industries better. We will start to introduce several enhancements that will make everyday collaboration a walk in the park.


So – if 2019 was a year of transformation and going where the customers are, 2020 is going to be yet another interesting year with lots of new features and capabilities. These capabilities will put our customers at the driver’s seat, allowing them to stay even more focused on the task at hand while benefitting from the many advances of intelligent information management.


3 Ways Intelligent Information Management is Your Secret Weapon in Data Security

As more companies start to transition away from paper files and towards digital, the threat of data breaches increases as does the disasters that come with it. In 2018, the United States experienced 1,244 data breaches resulting in 447 million records exposed.

There are hordes of hackers and nefarious people that work hard to breach weak security protocols and gain access to important documents. But let’s not discount the less nefarious yet risk-laden instances of security compromise. What about employees who access files that they weren’t authorized to look at — either accidentally or on purpose? What about Alan’s termination letter that was left on the printer right next to Alan’s desk?

Depending on your cybersecurity efforts, your IT department might already be using the latest firewalls, malware detection, and anti-virus software, so that the perimeter of your company’s documents are always secure. Having a strong external security system in place to prevent hackers from getting in is necessary for any company to function. But do you have a system in place to protect your documents from internal breaches?

Whether intentional or not, an employee may have unintentional access to emails that contain sensitive information, get forwarded important documents, log in to a public computer and forget to log out, and many more possible scenarios that result in a data breach.

To help protect your files from internal data breaches even as your company grows, intelligent information management (IIM) solutions like M-Files could be your first line of defense. IIM solutions ensure that all your unstructured files, documents, and business processes are stored, captured, managed, preserved, and delivered on a centralized network for easy retrieval. Below I’ll discuss how an IIM platform can help you protect your data from internal breaches.

The whole takeaway here is that data security should be enforced, not only as protection from outside intruders, but at the document-level for internal security.

“It has long been realized that encrypting content at rest, and particularly content in motion, is the only way to secure sensitive and potentially damaging content,” according to this AIIM report. “But suppose that instead of building protective walls around places where sensitive documents are held, we embed security into the document itself?”

Permissions and Access

It goes without saying. Sensitive documents should only be accessible to those who need access. It’s easy to have control over a few employees and the content they access in the first stages of your company. However, for growing companies, the ability to scale permissions access can get unwieldy.

With M-Files, you can set access permissions for whole classes of documents and data objects, in addition to specific documents, and even for different versions of the same document or object – including assigning roles that give different levels of access to different users or user groups, such as managers.

M-Files ensures that information is accessible to the people who need it, and inaccessible and unseen by those who don’t need it or aren’t sanctioned to access it. Access permissions can be controlled by user, group, role, as well as any metadata property — no need for scripting with the flexibility to address unanticipated future needs. Take these two examples:

Employment documents. Employment agreements can be tagged to selected employees, making the agreement visible to that user, their supervisor and the HR department, but no one else. If there’s a management or organization change, just change the supervisor property of the employee and all related documents become visible to the new supervisor.

Sensitive project documents. When project team members are assigned to a project, all associated documents will be visible to only them. Brought on a new team member? Simply assign them to the project group. No need to micromanage and examine permissions for every piece of information related to the project. This approach simplifies onboarding new team members, and also makes it easy to allow external users such as partners and customers to securely access project-related documentation and participate in related processes and workflows.

M-Files also supports the concept of “faceted permissions” — where multiple metadata properties together can define the permissions of a document. In the project-based scenario above, for instance, if permissions are created for project group members, you can make certain document types — like an agreement or contract — visible only to project managers of the related project.

In regulated industries where compliance is key and audits by customers, vendors and regulating bodies are required, M-Files consistently enforces access control policy. M-Files enables businesses to easily prove they are following required procedures and follow regulations.

Audit Trails and Proactive Reporting

Audit trails and proactive reporting are useful during or after a data breach. You can use them to determine who has been accessing files, when they were doing it, and which documents they were after. Your IIM solution will notify you of any suspicious activity that occurs so you can attend to it as needed.

As an example, your IIM can notify you that a finance department staffer, who has access to all invoices, payroll, and tax-related documents is conspicuously downloading confidential information. The information consists of a few vendor invoices, employee payroll, and company tax documents while they’re on vacation, without notifying you of their intent. If you suspect something untoward, once you’re notified, you can block access to all documents until further investigation is conducted.

Lifecycle Management

Sometimes we all hold on to documents or belongings that we should’ve thrown out. While hanging on to a few personal items isn’t disastrous, doing the same with company files presents risk. Although there are certain documents that a company must retain for protection purposes, not all of them have that same weight.

An IIM solution will notify you when certain content has been idle for too long and is taking up space. It’ll then ask you if you want to keep or discard it. If you have no more use for content, you can discard it which ensures that no one has access to old documents that still contain sensitive information.


5 Ways AI in Document Management Will Make Your Business More Efficient

Artificial intelligence (AI) digital transformation refers to using machine intelligence to help solve problems and work more efficiently. According to Xerox, 46% of employees of small- and medium-sized businesses still waste time on inefficient, paper-related workflows, daily. That means that smart document management systems can do plenty to improve these processes.

Companies that already employ sophisticated document management systems gain a competitive edge. The good news is that these smart tools may help most when organizations haven’t relied much upon tech in the past and need to catch up. Even better, smart document management systems have grown accessible and useful for all sizes and types of businesses.

5 Vital Efficiency Boosts from AI in Document Management

Many organizations and industries still struggle with paper documents. Even if the company doesn’t generate them, they may need to use paper forms from the government or business partners. Also, some businesses have moved away from physical paper. At the same time, they may have only made a small step towards digitization by attaching spreadsheets or scanned forms to emails and storing them on various disk drives in random, disorganized ways. All these practices waste time because they can result in the sort of poor data management that causes redundant, incorrect, lost, and insecure documents.

In contrast, consider just a few revolutionary ways that using AI in document management systems like M-Files can speed up and improve the integrity of common business practices:

Automate manual processes. After scanning or entering the document, the AI system can automate a lot of the drudgery while enforcing good standards. Examples include using smart systems to help categorize and tag entries, so they’re easy to find next time. This ability can speed up the initial digitalization efforts and help with future tasks. As employees use the system, efficient searches often rely on correct tagging and categorizing documents, but this is one area that’s often neglected at the time the information gets entered. Even if the system doesn’t automatically tag and categorize, it can enforce preset rules to ensure employees do this extra bit of work when submitting new ones.

Speed up business intelligence: Smart systems can speed up business intelligence. For instance, AI can spot patterns in very large sets of data much faster than people can. As one example, a hiring manager might search through resumes with an intelligent system that will find keywords associated with successful people hired in the past or based on preset rules. Another example could include looking for seasonal sales trends from past invoices or orders.

Applying structure to unstructured dataIT people are used to seeing data organized into formatted databases or reports. Nobody can expect that kind of organization in most documents. Instead, communication often arrives in the form of emails, text messages, letters, or another organization’s forms. In the past, people needed to comb through these kinds of communication to pull out and organize information. Today, intelligent data management can do a lot of heavy lifting. As an example, the Adobe blog mentions a superb use case:

“In a more dramatic example, some companies are using AI and machine learning to scour emails, texts, and other customer communications to understand words, semantics, and sentiments, and connect that data with billing and service history to predict who will buy what products and services. Most remarkably, these models regularly outperform models that use structured data only.”

Streamline document preparation. Instead of having to teach employees how to correctly format various documents, the AI can simply request the information for unique, new documents. For instance, the system can automatically generate an employment contract for new hires, based on the employee’s name and other information it already has from the recruiting process.

Enhance document security. AI’s ability to secure information may prove one of its biggest benefits.  The document management system can automatically scan for sensitive information and flag any documents that contain it. Even better, the software can detect unusual requests for private data and prevent access or alert security teams. According to Market Watch, many of today’s cyber threats come from inside jobs, either intentionally or unintentionally. AI can offer a powerful weapon against all sorts of threats to data security.

Improve data quality. The smart document management system can help reduce data redundancy, catch input errors, and keep files from getting misplaced. Businesses need good data for efficient decision-making and business processing, and that’s another feature that AI can supply.

Document-Based Digital Transformation Can Streamline Most Businesses

From legal teams needing to parse discovery documents to retail stores that must predict sales trends, AI in document management can improve efficiency in revolutionary ways. It can bring order to chaos, deliver useful insights, and even help prevent such common occurrences as data entry errors. To make the most of your valuable data, you should consider getting some assistance from a smart document management system.


Why AI and Machine Learning Will Dominate CIO Agendas in 2020

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning already impact our everyday lives. These technologies mostly work so seamlessly with our daily experiences that we barely notice. For instance, machine intelligence powers the digital assistant people use on their phones, movie suggestions on streaming websites, and filters in email. In another generation, it’s possible to imagine that people will consider such revolutions as self-driving cars just as ordinary as their recommended movies on Netflix. Yet, according to CIO Magazine, AI and machine learning are just now making inroads into corporate IT departments.

AI, Machine Learning, and the Changing Roles of Chief Information Officers

In the CIO article cited above, Dave Wright serves as the CIO of Service Now. He said, in the past, his role as Chief Information Officer served to guide, build, and maintain a company’s tech infrastructure. These days, that role has evolved to focus more upon strategizing ways to use technology to benefit his organization. For instance, the CIO may not always choose to expand or even keep their own internal IT infrastructure as much as survey existing technology to see what the business can use to meet its business goals.

Sometimes, this role may involve shrinking the company’s own computing power and partnering more with providers who offer the best solutions. If companies don’t have the resources to develop their own intelligent systems, they can rely upon trusted third parties for solutions.

Facing Internal Resistance to Artificial Intelligence

Wright understands that some members of the IT or other departments may fear changes, specifically the adoption of machine learning and AI. They have concerns that they will detract from their own duties. As was the case during the first days of digital transformation, these technologies seldom remove jobs but allow people performing those functions to work more productively in a way that supports their organization’s true business goals. While it’s up to CIOs to explore solutions, they also need to communicate the benefits of those solutions to their employees and other executives.

AI’s Penetration into Today’s Businesses

Right now, according to the survey CIO Magazine reported upon, almost 90% of companies do use AI and machine learning in some fashion. However, about 66% of the businesses surveyed are only researching or piloting these new smart technologies. Only about 23% responded that they either used machine intelligence either in several parts of all of their business. Wright believes that most businesses will start by using AI to help interpret and organize information. Only after they feel comfortable with that aspect, will more businesses move to using it to solve problems and later, to anticipate and remediate them.

AI vs. Machine Intelligence

As a note, sometimes people use artificial intelligence and machine learning interchangeably. Artificial intelligence describes computer systems that use their algorithms to mimic human decision-making ability. Machine learning describes a type of artificial intelligence that can use information to adapt its algorithm based upon the information that it receives. In that way, machine learning refers to a kind of artificial intelligence.

Why Cleaning Up Bad Data Matters for Effectively Using AI

As we experience the Information Age, people sometimes refer to data as the new “oil” because of its value. As companies collect more and more information, they increasingly wrestle with problems of data quality. Without proper management, information gets corrupted because its obsolete, redundant, or simply in error. As CMSWire pointed out, new compliance rules like GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act also can turn the problem into a regulatory hazard.

Mostly, Wright emphasized that artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies will only work as well as the information that they receive. Luckily, businesses can find an intelligent solution to help them with that task as well. Gartner says that machine-augmented data management will grow common within many organizations. In other words, AI can provide the solution to making certain that it can get the best possible information to base its processing upon.

Why Are CIOs Exploring the Benefits of AI and Machine Intelligence?

Increasingly, high-tech companies are offering smart features to consumers to help them make better and faster choices or to do things more efficiently and safely. It only makes sense that businesses can find plenty of ways to employ this technology to improve their own business processes. Even better, AI tech providers can help level the playing field, so that businesses without the resources to develop their own tech can still access it. These intelligent machines can help companies reduce threats and enjoy more value from the increasingly large amounts of information that they collect.