M-Files review: Features, ratings, pricing, and more.

Sep 15, 2020 11:03:08 AM

Table of contents:

1. What is M-Files?
2. What kind of companies use M-Files?
3. What languages does M-Files support?
4. What are the system requirements and supported operating systems for M-Files? How do you install and update M-Files?
5. Can I check the audit trail in M-Files?
6. What database does M-Files use?
7. Does M-Files offer mobile access?
8. Bonus: Information Management Statistics - Editors Picks
9. M-Files review: An Overview on Core Features
10. M-Files and different uses throughout various organizations
11. M-Files competitor comparison
12. M-Files customer support and ease of buying
13. The Verdict
14. People also ask

M-Files represents a powerful solution for intelligent information management. It is a comprehensive solution that can help you organize your documents more efficiently and improve your business performance.

M-Files Inc. was established in 1989 with innovation in mind, and since then, they are providing all-sized businesses with creative and intuitive solutions. M-Files’ revenue in 2019 was estimated to be $78M, and they continued their stable growth trend even during turbulent 2020.  

This comprehensive M-Files review is here to help you understand product features better. It will also give you a vision on how M-Files can help you focus more on your team productivity and streamline your business processes better.

What is M-Files?

M-Files is a new generation of intelligent and intuitive document management equipped with a comprehensive set of features. 

M-Files has rapidly earned a reputation as the easiest to use document management software solution. As a company that values a single source of truth with an intuitive interface to connect users to content more efficiently. 

Users can quickly and seamlessly organize and manage electronic documents, eliminate redundancy, and have a higher level of control over their content. 

Its sleek and intuitive user interface offers a familiar feel of Windows File Explorer, reducing new users’ learning curve.

What kind of companies use M-Files?

M-Files found its place among various industries - from real estate to construction to engineering and even manufacturing. M-Files can help you in multiple ways:

    1. Document Management - you can access the right document when you need it, no matter where it is stored.
    2. Contract Management - M-Files makes contract management easier to handle.
    3. Project Management - project lifecycle from scratch, increasing delivery rates, and decreasing the risks.
    4. Human Resources Management - keep employee records and employee documents in one place.
    5. Quality Management -  M-Files can help you with Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) management, quality document control and audits, Corrective and Preventative Actions, better risk management, employee qualification, and training.
    6. Enterprise Information Management - M-Files can prevent data breaches, remain compliant with regulations, and reduce organization costs.

What languages does M-Files support?

At this moment, M-Files is available in the following languages: Albanian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese (Simplified/PRC), Chinese (Traditional/Taiwan), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Macedonian, Mongolian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Romanian, Russian, Serbian (Cyrillic), Serbian (Latin), Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian and Vietnamese.

It’s important to mention that you can switch the languages while the software is still running without the need to reinstall it or exit the application.  This feature is another significant benefit to M-Files with international business. 

What are the system requirements and supported operating systems for M-Files? How do you install and update M-Files?

M-Files and its components can fit smoothly into any business infrastructure, but to work seamlessly and get full potential, you need to check for specific requirements. 

You can find a comprehensive list of operating system requirements and server and multi-server requirements on the official M-Files website.

The M-Files installation process is also straightforward - you can install it as a single installation or distribute it. If you opt for a distributed option, it will be installed on several servers at once. If you are interested in more advanced options, be sure to follow M-Files Setup: Advanced User's Guide.

Can I check the audit trail in M-Files?

M-Files includes several audit trail features. M-Files keeps records of object-specific events - object addition, modification, and deletion operation. The audit feature also provides information about who has operated and at what time. For the vault-specific actions, M-Files keeps track of data such as logins, logouts, password changes, and user group changes.

What database does M-Files use?

M-Files works with a SQL database engine called Firebird. Since Firebird is integrated into M-Files, no prior installation is necessary. M-Files can be easily switched to Microsoft SQL Server if needed, but in that case, purchasing Microsoft SQL Server is required with a separate M-Files installation.  With large document vaults, Microsoft SQL Server provides better overall efficiency than Firebird so consider the potential size of your database before installation as it is not possible to move from SQL back to firebird.

Does M-Files offer mobile access?

Yes, M-Files offers mobile access. It is available as a mobile application for iOS and Android. What are the perks of the mobile version of M-Files? You can access your company information vault on the go, mark your tasks done, create and share new objects.

Bonus: Information Management Statistics - Editors Picks

If you are still confused with how M-Files can help your business thrive, let’s look at some interesting statistics.

In early 2019, 1,500 workers were asked some difficult questions about their daily experiences with document management. 

Check the most interesting picks to paint a better picture.:

  • 83% of workers say they’ve had to recreate documents that already exist due to being unable to find it on their corporate network. 
  • 65% experience challenges in reviewing and approving documents. 
  • 81% say they need access to corporate documents on their mobile devices. 
  • Only 38% say they can have optimized content management services for their mobile devices, while the other 62% still indicate the searching is too difficult.

M-Files review: An Overview on Core Features 

Content management for small and large businesses across multiple industries needs to streamline the most important features at hand: user-friendly operations and organization with the ability to track and manage documents as well as information. 

Not to mention workflow automation and more efficient document search functions.

More abundantly crucial in 2020 is M-Files accessibility via devices and multiple offices (home and otherwise) within one corporate network. Cloud-based, on-premise, and hybrid deployments are all available. 

While M-Files does not offer all the useful services like more complicated, comprehensive software might, this intelligent document management platform does include easy-to-integrate core features like: 

  • M-Files search feature

Find what you need in a few simple steps. The M-Files search function works based on metadata associated with documents and objects. So it is essential to focus on details. If you are uploading a document, make sure to write correct metadata and date it as well to help you find it next time you need it.

  • Innovative Intelligent Metadata Layer (IML)

A novel repository neutral approach to enterprise content management that unifies information across various sources based on context, not on the system or folder in which the information is stored. 

Users can connect to different external repositories such as network folders and SharePoint Online - enabling the user to browse and edit content residing in these external sources. 

IML also provides intelligence services that categorize content and extract information from M-Files to be added as metadata attributes.

  • Accessing M-Files online and offline

M-Files cloud-based version works on any major web browser, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari. Meanwhile, the on-premise version is available on Windows operating systems.

M-Files can also be designated for offline use, in case you have problems with your internet connection. 

  • Create button

On the top navigation bar, you can find the Create button. This button allows the user to create new assignments, documents, projects, or customers.  Using this feature, you can quickly scan your important documents, and it can also help you by using optical character recognition features.

  • Optical character recognition (OCR) feature 

Optical character recognition improves the searchability of documents. It scans them and makes the text of the document searchable beyond the metadata. 

For example, if you upload a document that includes an easily tagged phrase like, “The Research and Development Team," you can search your files for that specific document using that exact phrase. OCR can also be used to automate the process of applying metadata tags to new uploads.

  • Workflow automation 

This feature serves as a project management function within the document management software. Within the enterprise content management system, built-in tools automatically categorize certain documents and assign specific tasks to users. 

For instance, when a supervisor approves a document, all parties on the document are notified, removing productivity delays. Likewise, staff members can update and work on aspects within a document and click the “review” task assigned, thereby pinging the appropriate supervisor. 

The automation function takes on the communication task in project management that so often slows down a team. 

  • Privacy options

Privacy options range from managing user permissions to providing electronic signature options through a third party. As noted in the M-Files licensing guide, M-Files offers integration with a third-party service called HelloSign to enable e-signatures on documents that require approvals. Using HelloSign, users can affix their signature to any file within the M-Files application. 

  • Versioning feature

The versioning feature tracks a document’s history while monitoring edits and archiving old versions. This allows for references to view the process of a document, but not holding space for it. It follows users in the document and notes changes that specific users made, which simplifies team communication.

M-Files uses a check-in and check-out feature. When a user checks out a document, it’s unavailable to any other user to edit until it’s checked back in. 

Preventing multiple current versions of the same document is a key save for the authors’ time and energy. 

Any company seeking to implement digital transformations into their operations would find a lot of positive potential in M-Files, and it’s extensive feature set and seamless integration with Microsoft products. 

  • User permissions and priorities

User roles are also a critical feature. As an admin, you can set the user permissions and user priorities as well. You can add individual users or create groups, manage permissions, etc. 

When it comes to user priorities, managers will have a higher priority rank than staff members. If they want to apply changes to the same document at the same time, the manager will have the priority.

  • HelloSign integration

M-Files is integrated with HelloSign to make the electronic signature process much more manageable. You can affix your signature to any document that requires approval and send it directly to another user.

M-Files and different uses throughout various organizations

  • M-Files and document management 

M-Files document management system allows users to utilize content from disparate systems. Document management is at the very core of your organization because it is the lifeblood of all business units and sectors. For better efficiency, easy access to important documents is a market imperative. 

M-Files brings automation to document management, giving you an additional level of control over your content and even help you save the environment by reducing the amount of paper.

How M-Files can help you with document management no matter the size of the organization:

  • Find your document easier through different systems and repositories. M-Files helps you with document indexing, assembly, and archiving.
  • Help you automate the electronic signature process.
  • Better compliance tracking.
  • M-Files supports all document formats from AutoCAD to the most basic, but it can convert files if needed. 
  • Optical Character Recognition.
  • Control different versions of files. 
  • File recovery and offline access at any moment.

  • M-Files and Content Management 

Just like document management is at the very core of your business processes, content management is of crucial importance for maintaining your business partnerships. 

M-Files is a solution built to make the contracting process faster, transparent, and consistent. Faster creation, renewal, and approval of contracts. 

The workflow feature is easy for users to customize, setup, and implement. Follow the lifecycle of the contract from initiation to finalization with all the versions one click away.

  • M-Files offers customizable templates for your contracts.
  • Drafts and negotiation process - during this process, when you are coming to terms with your business partners, you will be in control of all contract versions.
  • Reviews and approvals on every step of the contracting process.
  • Managing contracts - contracts are indexed with metadata such is ‘’contracts’’, ‘’project’’ to organize content more dynamically. All necessary documents and attachments connected with contracts are also one click away.
  • Content is easy to find, and the process of archiving and contract renewal is automated.

  • M-Files and Enterprise content management

M-Files will change how you deal with paper documents once you experience how easy it is to digitize and manage your documents. 

In particular, the OCR functionality is just like having Google on your local repository, reading through the very contents of your digital documents.

M-Files breaks down the content silos and creates one unique business ecosystem where information is shared across systems and repositories. How M-Files can help with enterprise content management:

  • Streamline your daily operation with a helping hand of the AI.
  • Managing different kinds of content, whether your data is structured or not, M-Files will connect it where it belongs.
  • Adding workflows to your content, monitor processes, and increase productivity.
  • Content lifecycle management and version control.
  • Collaboration tools. 
  • Access anywhere anytime from all devices, both online and offline.

  • M-Files and File sharing

With email being the most used (and least equipped) tool for sharing documents across companies, sometimes workers end up with inboxes filled with attachments. It’s challenging due to not being able to sort versions, synchronize across teams, or even have a trail of who needs to work on what and when. 

Perhaps the most accessible feature of M-Files is its file-sharing system: 

  • It provides real-time synchronization.
  • Drag, drop, and upload files with ease.
  • User permissions - An admin decides who can have access to files. Active Directory groups will honor hierarchical folder security within M-Files.
  • File encryption - prevents data breaches and increases document security.

M-Files competitor comparison

Data isn’t slowing down, and the need to work across networks isn’t disappearing any time soon.  As a result, many companies are considering document management systems and enterprise content management. 

M-Files competitors include SharePoint, Alfresco, Process Street, and more.

  • M-Files vs. SharePoint

This is probably the most important comparison as M-Files’ compatibility with Microsoft systems is so high. They score very close (M-Files has 169 reviews and a rating of 4.25 / 5 vs. Microsoft SharePoint, which has 2888 reviews and a rating of 4.20 / 5) and seems to come into challenges with crashing (SharePoint) or customization expenses (M-Files).

  • M-Files vs. Alfresco

Alfresco’s open-source history makes it an interesting choice for many organizations. M-Files’ rich feature-set and open approach to integrating with a wide range of enterprise content sources make it a more comprehensive option for businesses with multiple systems who want to get the most out of their content.

  • M-Files vs. Box 

Box works best in the cloud.  It’s best for companies that need secure, scalable content-sharing and collaboration in the cloud. M-Files especially delivers high value to highly regulated industries. 

M-Files customer support and ease of buying

When it comes to M-Files pricing, you can always request a quote or more information by filling out the contact form. You can also try it for 30 days completely free. When it comes to customer reviews and the overall value of M-Files, even about cost, the comments are universally very positive.

M-Files’ customer support is here to help you with all of the technical issues regarding M-Files installation. They provide training services and consulting services as well, so M-Files can be implemented into your organization smoothly.

A comprehensive FAQ page offers very detailed explanations for both beginners and more advanced users.

The Verdict 

Ultimately, this product allows users to ingest content from disparate systems. It uses the metadata that it contains, builds metadata that is missing, and then makes a searchable source of truth for content within the enterprise. 

If the goal is to manage and track documents and information, we recommend trying an M-Files Demo. 

As far as content management tools go, M-Files offers the most reliable core features and intuitive user interface. 

Many companies agree and have gone so far as to award M-Files as a “Visionary.” Gartner ® named M-Files as “Visionary” for three consecutive years. 

M-Files is also recognized as Leaders in the field (Nucleus Research has named M-Files a leader for seven years in a row). 

TEAM IM and M-Files share a mission of devotion to a single source of truth, even though tech and data challenges are ubiquitous. 

M-Files offers solutions available to help propel organizations into a more competent and capable company. 

People also ask:

Can I host data on multiple servers with M-Files?

It is up to you. The M-Files system can be easily set up to run on a single server, dedicated database, application, search servers, or multiple servers. Also, you can have multiple document vaults on a single server or separate servers.

Is it possible to link M-Files with SAP?

M-Files can integrate easily with your existing SAP implementation. A connector interface allows M-Files administrators to import SAP data objects (vendors or products) to M-Files objects, using the standard Connections to external database sources in M-Files.

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