Weighing the Solutions: M-Files vs SharePoint

TEAM IM
Mar 30, 2022 5:14:42 PM

The way we work has changed over the last few years. Remote work and hybrid remote/in-office workforces are increasingly the new norm— and that means that a reliance on manual processes for your business operations are increasingly ineffective.

Of course, paper was already on the way out for many organizations before the global pandemic reinforced the need for a more agile and efficient means of carrying out business operations. 

This means that you are probably relying on digital content more than ever, which means you need a high-quality content management system to keep your operations efficient with room for scalability and growth. But how do you choose?

While there are a lot of Enterprise Information Management solution choices on the market, for many organizations, the decision of content management platforms comes down to M-Files vs SharePoint. 

The Importance of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Platforms 

Without a viable Enterprise Content Management platform, your organization will suffer. This is a fact.

Data silos, workflow mishaps, miscommunications, different teams working with different information, difficulty tracking version control, compliance issues, and more can all result from a lack of a corporate content platform.

There are a staggering number of effective programs and apps that assist with different aspects of operations for a wide array of industries. The problem that arises is that each program can have different protocols for preserving data and information.

An effective Enterprise Content Management platform leverages open APIs to unify your organization’s disparate data streams. This prevents important information from getting caught in a data silo and ensures every part of your team from the top on down is working with up-to-date, accurate information.

A strong ECM will also provide a means by which you can standardize workflows and ensure a consistent lifecycle for the documents and other important file types that are utilized across departments. 

And with standardized and codified workflows, the door opens for business process automation— taking time consuming, often repetitive work and getting it done in a fraction of the time so that your teams can focus on higher level tasks that require the actual skills you hired them to use.

In short, by incorporating a high quality ECM (sometimes called an Intelligent Information Management platform), your organization:

  • Reduces mistakes while preparing documents because correct, legally compliant verbiage can be stored as part of customizable document templates
  • Practically eliminates the time required for delivery and approval of hard copies of important content
  • Preserves version history and strengthens version control to ensure that everyone is working with the correct information and tracking changes to preserve accountability
  • Improves the efficiency of your workforce and allows them to focus less on time-consuming, repetitive tasks, which improves morale and processing time across departments on essential data
  • Drastically reduces storage requirements and environmental impact of high volume paper usage

As stated earlier, the choice of information and intelligence management software often comes down to a M-Files vs SharePoint debate. Both platforms offer excellent functionalities and integrate well with leading business process applications. But your organization is unlike any other, so which is right for you?

The Strength of SharePoint

The biggest strength of licensing SharePoint for your organization is that it is a part of Microsoft’s suite of business applications. It is designed with Office365 integration at its core. From a user standpoint, that layer of familiarity with the basics of the platform can be very comforting.

That does mean that you may need to re-save some content from non-Microsoft programs to make them optimally discoverable. Even when metadata property and values have been added, SharePoint requires files to be stored and cataloged according to the best practices and naming conventions you would find with other Microsoft products.

SharePoint’s ability to collaborate with 3rd party platforms is strong. Its dashboard can be used to, for example, generate a purchase order, get that order to the right parties for approval, notify the purchaser of the approval, and help expedite the processing of the completed purchase documentation.

SharePoint also excels as a collaborative platform across your organization. Its functionality with mobile devices makes it simple to get answers from other team members and pull up the information you need at a moment’s notice.

The no-code functions for apps and websites make development much simpler for both your experienced software engineers and team members from other areas of your organization with little to no experience.

Licensing SharePoint comes with a monthly subscription fee. No matter how many functions are relevant to your current operations or future growth, you will pay the same monthly rate as a company that uses fewer or more of SharePoint’s features. 

All in all, Sharepoint is a strong ECM platform. It has a wide array of capabilities, from compliance features to seamless integration with the full suite of Office365 applications, among others. But it isn’t the only possible answer to your ECM needs.

The Power of M-Files

M-Files is an extremely customizable, agile, metadata driven platform. The user interface is designed to adapt to the behaviors and needs of each user while the federated search functions have been developed to search across systems to eliminate data silos and give you all the pertinent information that you need.

This is accomplished through the focus on metadata. M-Files utilizes metadata to search through your files based on the contents of your content instead of types of document classification.

This also makes M-Files an excellent, intelligent Content Platform.  As M-Files does not have a location-based file storage structure, and is metadata driven, it interfaces easily with a vast number of business-focused programs and applications— including Salesforce and even SharePoint.

This means that no matter what your legacy document management system has been, M-Files can likely work with that system, even as you transition away from it with no migration needed. 

Data Entry and Automation

From the worker’s perspective, M-Files capabilities around data entry and automation are probably the greatest strength of the platform. That’s because M-Files utilizes features like optical character recognition services to help ease the burden on your team.

This means that, even if you are working with a pdf or scan of a purchase order or invoice, M-Files can recognize relevant information fields and bring them into your processing software. 

Implementing M-Files gives you the perfect reason to re-evaluate and document your workflows. That process can highlight bottlenecks and other problem areas that may have gone under the radar. 

With that examination of workflows, you can find areas in your processes that are right for automation. One of the oldest cliches is “That’s how we’ve always done things,” which is the most dangerous phrase in business. M-Files helps you throw that phrase out the door by facilitating a transition into codified and automated workflows.

That workflow optimization has also led to M-Files’ 360 View. This lets your team customize their experience with M-Files. Each individual user can optimize their experience based on the needs of their position without creating a sub-optimal experience for any other user in any other department.

Pricing Structure

While SharePoint has a set subscription fee, M-Files operates on a quote structure. This means that you don’t pay for the features you don’t need. But what if growth and success means the features you need change?

That’s where the adaptability and customization of M-Files is a huge strength. As your needs change, you can work with the experts at TEAM IM to reshape your M-Files to find a scalable, affordable solution.

Adding new features or removing those that have become obsolete to your needs won’t necessarily change your licensing costs. But no matter what, you get a great ROI on your M-Files because you will utilize every feature you pay for.

The Choice is Yours

Both SharePoint and M-Files are fantastic platforms for your ECM needs. Both offer a wide range of features that can help improve your team’s efficiency. They both interface well with all the best business operations software. So your choice in the great M-Files vs Sharepoint debate comes down to one thing: what do you need?

The problem is that sometimes it can be difficult to figure out exactly what your needs are. If you aren’t already tech-savvy, you may not be sure what ECM platform is right for you. TEAM can help with that.

With decades of experience and robust partnerships with SharePoint and M-Files, we can help you assess your needs to find the right ECM solution for you. And our team of experts will be there to help with training and support right down the line. 

The important thing to focus on isn’t M-Files vs SharePoint. What is essential is your needs and getting them met at the best price possible. And that’s what TEAM helps you do. Are you ready to take your information management to the next level? Contact us today.

About TEAM IM

TEAM IM is an experienced solution company that advises, develops, implements, supports, and manages enterprise grade process, information and content management systems. For more than twenty years, TEAM has acted as a trusted advisor to our clients through our offices in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the United States.  Our mission is to assist our client to get the most out of their investments in technology. Whether our clients are large government agencies or corporations, construction firms, accounting firms, heavy industry, or smaller organizations, we strive to deliver demonstrable business benefits and generate real return on investment for our clients.

Our products and services offer solutions to transform your business by automating and modernizing your operations.  We work hand-in-hand with our clients to understand their goals and create and execute multi-year, continuous improvement plans.  Our mission is to support and manage every solution we deliver, so we take care to design long term, future proof, maintainable solutions.  We work with best-in-class technology partners that we have carefully selected to ensure we can execute our plan and achieve our clients continuous improvement goals.  

Our products and solutions encompass Advisory Services, Implementation Services and Managed Support Services.  We specialize in Business Process Automation and Optimization, Content Platforms and Content Services and we are also a leader in Mobile App/Field Services software development and Digital Workplaces.  We have industry-specific solutions for the Construction and Accounting Services sectors, and cross-industry solutions for Accounts Payable, Contract Management, App Modernization, Field Services and File Sharing.

At TEAM IM we are passionate about delivering outstanding outcomes for you, our clients.

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