In Part One of this post I explored how M-Files makes ECM cool. We threw out the turgid premise that the way enterprise content management should operate is based on “where” the document is stored. At M-Files, our hypothesis is that “where” doesn’t matter—what matters is “what” the content is and what it’s related to. The reason why this is so cool is that it’s intuitive; I mean, everyone knows “what” they are working on while the folder it’s stored in is anybody’s guess.
M-Files Methodology: Objective and Precise
This also brings up another key aspect of our approach, it’s objective and precise, not only across individuals or workgroups in the same company but even across different companies and disparate industries. A contract is a contract, an invoice is an invoice, a proposal is a proposal, etc., no matter what industry you’re in. Once we throw out the subjective choice of where to store it, it also solves another conundrum of folder-based systems (essentially every other alternative on the market): things need to be in more than one place at one time. I might expect to find an invoice or contract to show up with other information related to a certain customer, or if one is in accounting it might be better that it shows up by date, or by its state in a workflow, etc. With M-Files things show up where they’re needed or expected, one doesn’t have to hunt for them in a chaotic folder structure based on what was important to the person who stored it. Information becomes dynamic, showing up based on whether it’s relevant to you, and that can be totally different from what makes it relevant to someone else.
Metadata: Your Business Content Playlist
There’s another company that has put this similar capability into the hands of hundreds of millions of people, and they probably don’t even know it. This company has become the pinnacle of cool. I’m speaking of Apple, and, in particular, the iPhone and iPad. Consider music on the iPhone or iPad; you don’t store it in a folder, the device simply knows its music, and it shows up the way you want to consume it, by artist, album, genre, date or playlist, but it’s the same song without duplication. Playlists even get automatically generated based on what you’ve listened to the most, or music that is just similar to that you’ve listened to the most, or that others you are connected with listen to the most. This idea of adding user behavior and machine learning to the mix is where this approach becomes mind-bogglingly profound. Imagine ECM that was more like Netflix than a pile of code like some so-called-enterprise content management applications I could name. (I was thinking of another “C” word in place of “code” but decided to be nice!) What’s the secret sauce that makes this all work? Metadata. I know it sounds like technical jargon, but if you love playing and interacting with music on the iPhone, metadata has made that possible. And don’t even get me started on services like Pandora and Spotify.
Now conceptualize this premise to any type of document or information in any company, or even across companies. Then throw in the cloud and mobile devices, file sharing services like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive, enterprise systems managing structured data like CRM, ERP and HR systems, even other document management and ECM systems. Think of the universe of information, and imagine that it can be located anywhere, but it shows up where you expect it, based on what is relevant to you. This approach will profoundly change the way businesses manage and consume information. This is cool. This is M-Files. And it’s coming to a town near you.
The Proof is in the Pudding
If you want to know more, please read Part One. Now it’s time to validate my assertion that the M-Files approach is both cool and correct. And if you think I am just blowing smoke—here’s my proof—the tech community is taking notice and even lauding our approach:
The analysts applaud us. Forrester Research recognized M-Files as a “Leader” in their 2015 ECM Wave Business Content Services Report in which they acknowledge our “metadata-centric approach” as unique. Nucleus Research also named M-Files as a “Leader” in their ECM Value Matrix. Aragon Research lauded M-Files as a “hot vendor” in their Digital Transaction Management Report. And then there’s Gartner, who also has a thing or two to say about our metadata-driven approach. In particular, their 2015 ECM Magic Quadrant notes that we use a highly scalable and effective metadata-driven architecture, which allows for great flexibility in the use of metadata — including, for example, dynamic viewing of content. (Essentially, we’ve got some serious critical mass going, and these folks are not easy to convince.)
We’re growing at 8x to 12x the rate of the overall market. In fact, we are the fastest growing ECM company in the market today. We’ve had a growth rate of 76% in 2014, crowning a six-year expansion rate of nearly 1,100 percent. In particular, this was driven by regional development. We grew more than 100 percent in North America and the Asia Pacific Region and nearly 70 percent in EMEA. We’re also making great progress in the cloud. The adoption rate of our cloud-based ECM has surged more than 70% and dwarfs the rate of cloud adoption in the ECM market at large. I think this astronomical growth is due to our innovative approach, hard work, and good old fashioned business acumen.
Our users love us. M-Files is purpose-built with the end user in mind. We are changing the way the world uses information—but we can’t do it without you, I like to think our user-focused development is working because our user adoption rate is dramatically higher than the rest of the ECM market where user adoption rates low and unmet expectations are the norm.