Why should you use M-Files over SharePoint Online for your Document Management needs?

Microsoft offers basic document management capabilities with their SharePoint Online offering. A lot of businesses are using Microsoft’s SharePoint to satisfy their document management needs. Whilst SharePoint has its benefits over a legacy network folder system, it still has its shortcomings, especially when compared to a solution specifically designed for document and record management such as M-Files.

So, what are the benefits of using M-Files over SharePoint?


1. M-Files organises by what a document is vs where it belongs.

While SharePoint does allow for the tagging of some metadata, documents in SharePoint are still organised in a hierarchy of folders/pages/sites. This means that SharePoint does not really eliminate the key issues of traditional folder-based systems. Users don’t often know which document library the file should be saved in or where to find it. With SharePoint, it is not possible to conveniently view the same document in multiple sites/folders, or create a single view that lists documents from multiple document libraries.

M-Files leverages metadata to easily classify documents. This results in a user classifying a document with what the document is (a contract, or a policy for example) along with some other metadata tags, and M-Files will automatically save the document in the right location.


2. One single version, available the way you want it

While SharePoint does allow for the tagging of some metadata, documents in SharePoint are still organised in a hierarchy of folders/pages/sites. This means that SharePoint does not really eliminate the key issues of traditional folder-based systems. Users don’t often know which document library the file should be saved in or where to find it. With SharePoint, it is not possible to conveniently view the same document in multiple sites/folders, or create a single view that lists documents from multiple document libraries.

M-Files leverages metadata to easily classify documents. This results in a user classifying a document with what the document is (a contract, or a policy for example) along with some other metadata tags, and M-Files will automatically save the document in the right location.

One document, available the way you want it

3. Simple, yet powerful permission settings based on a document’s context and metadata

Specifying and maintaining access control policies in SharePoint is cumbersome. There is no way to enforce permission policies based on the metadata and as such, needs to be done on an overarching folder/library/site basis. This can lead to numerous security groups, and a large number of these often causes performance issues.

M-Files offers a comprehensive feature set to automate and enforce document permissions based on metadata. Access control settings can be based on the metadata value, the type of document it is, or a combination of the two. It is easy to implement policies that allow specific personalised permission settings. For example, an HR document can be viewed by the HR department & the user the document relates to. This level of control is not available in SharePoint Online.


4. Access all information repositories in one single location

M-Files can connect to all your repositories at once, making them all fully searchable within a single location; M-Files. You can access files from repositories such as DropBox, Google Drive, Network Folders, etc. form within M-Files.

Metadata can also be added to documents that sit in separate repositories, allowing for them to be sorted and managed by M-Files, giving users the benefits of M-Files metadata functionality on documents stored elsewhere.


5. Added benefits of a desktop and mobile applications

SharePoint can be accessed via browser only. M-Files also offers fully functional Web UI, but also provides a native Windows Desktop client that makes daily work with documents more convenient.

M-Files Desktop application allows for additional benefits over a web platform such as caching of documents, allowing quicker and easier opening of documents. Certain operations can also be performed on the desktop client, reducing the load on the server.

SharePoint is generally only compatible with other Microsoft products, such as Word and Excel. M-Files desktop application allows for full compatibility with all Windows applications, allows inbuilt preview abilities for common file types and even has additional special functionality with AutoCAD products. 

M-Files also has a mobile application, giving users an optimal way to access their information on a mobile device. The web, desktop and mobile applications combined with M-Files offline availability feature truly allow for a user to have full access to their information anywhere, at any time on any device.


6. OCR: Convert your scanned documents into fully editable and searchable digital files

Another benefit of M-Files is the ability to leverage Optical Character Recognition (OCR) features to convert scanned documents into fully editable and searchable digital files.

OCR functionality can also be configured to search designated locations of a document and bring printed text into M-Files as pre-filled metadata.


7. M-Files Offers Rich Compliance Features

M-Files supports electronic and digital signatures. M-Files meets many compliance standards, including ISO:9001.

All changes made to a document/record are instantly available in its history, detailing who made the change and when. This gives full accountability and auditability to all documents within M-Files.


8. M-Files and SharePoint: Better together

While M-Files does have benefits over SharePoint for document management, SharePoint is not without its benefits. SharePoint is widely used for collaborating and sharing information, when combined with M-Files, with its powerful processes and compliance, your information management can truly come alive.

M-Files out the box comes integrated with Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint and a SharePoint integration also exists which can allow for M-Files to be accessed and used within SharePoint itself, giving users the ability to leverage M-Files benefits within SharePoint.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you and your business thrive with M-Files, and the M-Files SharePoint Integration.


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