Success in Partnerships:
Intelligent Information
Management with M-Files

The M-Files 2019 Global Partner Conference in Dublin, Ireland, was a noteworthy conference for Smartbridge, with several general session mentions, obtaining the “Rookie of the Year” award, and inclusion of a key client demonstrating their use of intelligent information management with M-Files.

A Partnership for Success

Smartbridge recently wrapped up its attendance at the M-Files 2019 Global Partner Conference in Dublin, Ireland. It was an eventful and informative conference, with several exciting announcements about product enhancements and refinements to the overall messaging.

Smartbridge became an M-Files partner in July 2018, after recognizing M-Files’ leading approach to helping enterprises manage their content in a metadata-driven and flexible way, allowing them to capitalize on the value trapped within disparate content repositories. This was Smartbridge’s first participation in an M-Files partner conference, and it was a great first experience.

Smartbridge is an M-Files Partner

The show itself was well-orchestrated and of extremely high quality. The content was delivered by a broad cross-section of M-Files leadership, with tracks focused on sales, product/technical, and marketing. During the opening keynote, Scott Erickson (SVP of Worldwide Channel Sales), Justin Kim (CFO), and Miika Mäkitalo (CEO) gave the state of the information management industry overall, how M-Files is continuing to invest in its product, and how this is being seen by the analyst community.

As part of recognizing some of its partners for major achievements, Smartbridge was awarded “Rookie of the Year”, for securing the largest new M-Files license subscription in North America in 2018. This was a pleasant surprise, and sets a high bar for Smartbridge in 2019.

intelligent information management with M-Files

Intelligent Enterprise Content Management with M-Files

The runaway highlight of the opening keynote was a presentation and demonstration by Tracy Terrell, Chief Information Officer at our client TEAM Industrial Services. Beyond providing an overall tutorial on the complex energy industry, and how TEAM helps maintain energy providers’ complex set of equipment, pipelines, valves, and refineries, Tracy reviewed the challenges TEAM’s field technicians face with documentation generated during project execution.

The principal among these challenges is to ensure correct procedures are available and easily accessible to technicians, as they perform their inherently dangerous repair and maintenance activities. Smartbridge is currently assisting TEAM with the creation of a digital job package through M-Files solutions, as well as document controls around safety, quality, and technical procedures.

To further expand the audience’s mind, Tracy donned TEAM coveralls and a hardhat equipped with Microsoft HoloLens goggles, to demonstrate how augmented reality could be employed to make a technician’s job easier and safer by retrieving M-Files-housed content through the HoloLens user interface.

By invoking the Remote Assist capability, I was able to provide Tracy with expert-technician guidance from afar (the back of the room) using the immersive AR environment available through the HoloLens. Throughout the rest of the conference, attendees commented on the powerful message of Tracy’s demonstration. The courage to perform a complicated live demo, with the solution connecting to a live M-Files vault residing in TEAM’s Microsoft Azure tenant in North America, was truly remarkable.

intelligent information management with M-Files
intelligent information management with M-Files

The Future of M-Files

The rest of the conference contained several key themes that reinforce Smartbridge’s commitment to its technology partnership with M-Files:

  • Continued investment and innovation in R&D:

    M-Files has recently increased its R&D spend by around 20% annually, but has committed to more than doubling this increase for 2019 (42% increase year-over-year). Further, M-Files is embracing the DevOps approach to product development, including continuous integration and delivery by leveraging product compilation via grid computing and automated testing in parallel. This means faster delivery of new features, and higher quality releases overall. While the product will evolve faster, M-Files is making available several different upgrade cadences to allow customers to adopt new features on their schedule.

  • Evolving product vision:

    Previously, M-Files had focused on its metadata orientation, thinking about WHAT the content is versus WHERE it resides. M-Files then advanced its messaging and product to support a repository neutral proposition, with the introduction of its Intelligent Metadata Layer connectors to external repositories.

    (Sidebar: the 2019 product roadmap includes support for G-Suite and Office Online co-authoring, and new IML connectors for Google Drive, Exchange, iManage, Laserfiche, OpenText and Box). 

    The latest layer to M-Files product positioning focuses on becoming front-end neutral. By embedding the M-Files user interface into the applications people are already using (e.g., Salesforce, Outlook, ESRI ArcGIS, SharePoint Online, NetSuite, Teams, etc.), users now can reap the benefits of M-Files’ strengths (metadata orientation and being repository neutral) in a context-sensitive way to access relevant content more easily. In the future, users may not even know they are using the power of M-Files.

  • Deeper focus on AI and automation:

    With M-Files’ acquisition of Apprento in mid-2017, they committed to improving the way business professionals manage and interact with their content. A major thrust in 2019 is to enhance and capitalize on the intelligent services that have already been developed in the product: Information Extractor, Smart Classifier, Smart Subjects, and Smart Media. By taking these features and applying automation, M-Files is looking to increase the time-to-value for new customers, minimize (or potentially eliminate) the effort of tagging documents, maximize the information extracted from content in M-Files or other repositories (including images and videos), and use AI and machine learning to improve the platform’s ability to perform tasks better.

  • M-Files focus and investments are being recognized by analysts:

    M-Files announced that they had placed in the top-right of the Leader quadrant in the 2019 Nucleus Research Technology Value Matrix for Enterprise Content Management (ECM). Barbara Peck, analyst for Nucleus Research stated, “With its vision of a metadata-driven, repository neutral and AI-powered platform, M-Files offers distinction in the marketplace. New innovations such as M-Files Smart Search, an intelligent cloud service for multi-repository search available later this year, demonstrate a visionary roadmap for the company. Nucleus expects that M-Files, with its core strengths of functionality and usability, will continue to set the standards for content management in the near future.”

Leading the Metadata Driven Content Space

Overall, the M-Files 2019 Global Partner Conference offered insights into M-Files’ product development innovations, feature enhancements, and ways they continue to support and grow the program to benefit channel partners like Smartbridge.

We are excited to partner with a software company who continues to invest in its product to further its market differentiation, and the conference did a great job of showcasing these innovations and examples of how customers are capitalizing on the M-Files platform.

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