Forget Going Paperless – Go Folderless

Posted on January 31, 2010 under Uncategorized by

With a new kind of document management system, you never have to file again

[This month’s series features excerpts from our conversation with M-Files user Peter Uhlman, president of the Philadelphia-based Percheron Group, a commercial and residential real estate development company].

Digital file folders are a remnant of manual filing, not just in the iconic appearance on the desktop, but in the entire logical system of grouped hierarchies of documents.  It’s a logic that is obsolete given today’s computer processing capability, and one that has been proven counter-productive to business.  Nonetheless, the logic of folder hierarchies is hard-wired into all of our operating system software.

The fundamental disadvantage of collecting documents in folders forces one to choose a single organization scheme at the onset, which may or may not be how one wants to group the files later.  Peter Uhlman, president of the Percheron Group, offers an analogy to filing: throw a hundred dice on the floor; the dice are different makes, colors, and sizes, some might be from backgammon – small, rounded and red or black – while others originate from Yahtzee — big, square-edged and white.

Now put them in some kind of order.  Logically, there’s many configurations – by color, by size, by shape, by certain numbers showing face up, and so on.  But once you’re “organized” by color, and someone asks to see all twos, you find yourself not organized at all; you have to begin the job again.

“Imagine those dice are distinct files, and that’s the situation you get into in typical Windows folders.  Documents get grouped in folders one way, and that’s what you have to live with it,” says Uhlman.  “Ideally, document management software should free you from this one-order-only requirement entirely.  You shouldn’t have to file anything in any order.  You want to look at just the black ones?  Boom — the computer gives you that instantly.  You want look at the ones with square edges?  Boom. There you go.”

“Let me give you a more realistic example: if I said to you, we are going to do a budget exercise today.   We have to store a capital budget for paving a road.  This is our paving capital budget for all our projects.  Do we save it under projects?  Do I save it under budget?  Do I save it by the office that is managing it?   Do we file it under paving?  Under 2009?  What folder do you put that in?

“If you have M-Files, you don’t have to ask these questions, because it really does not get filed.  You can retrieve it later by requesting any of these categories.  You want to pull up all your active budgets?  Boom. You want to pull up every place where you’re doing paving?  Boom.  You want to pull up any document pertaining to paving, whether it is a budget or not?  Boom.  You want to pull every capital project in Pennsylvania, whether it is paving or not?  Boom.

“M-Files very simply solves this folder problem so you don’t ever have to worry about file locations at all.  In business, you want to cross-reference files many different ways.  With M-Files, you finally can.”

About The Percheron Group

The Percheron Group partners with institutions, landowners, and capital partners to maximize the value of a real estate asset. From commercial buildings, to adaptive reuse, to residential communities, Percheron’s strategic consulting and development team can offer resources as a prime developer or joint venture partner. For more information, please visit:

About M-Files

M-Files dynamic content management solutions are revolutionizing the ECM market by transforming how businesses manage, secure and share information with a unique metadata-powered approach that organizes and processes content based on what it is, rather than where it resides. Thousands of businesses in over 100 countries use M-Files on-premise, in the cloud or in hybrid environments to improve productivity and quality, and to ensure compliance with industry regulations and standards, including companies such as SAS, Elekta and EADS.

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