Remote Document Management – ECM for a Virtual Workforce

Today, various businesses are taking steps to build a virtual workforce, especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. However, what does this say for remote document management specifically?

Remote Document Management – What to Consider

Document management is a mainstay in business, even as more organizations evolve to doing so through more digital-centric avenues. While working remotely may be nothing new per se, doing so at an organizational level (and for an extended period of time) certainly is.

As much of the population continues to work remotely, many professionals are speculating if this crisis marks the beginning to a new normal in remote operating procedures. M-Files, one of the global leaders in intelligent content management, seems to think so, and detailed multiple aspects of what this endeavor should entail in their 2020 benchmark report (which we’ll cover here).

Various considerations need to be made when asking the million dollar question – Are companies really prepared to deploy a mobile workforce, and manage the more dynamics aspects of doing so? When actually finding and deploying a digital document management system, here are some key questions to ask yourself.


Smartbridge is an M-Files Partner

What is your experience with accessing documents remotely?

In a recent survey conducted by M-Files, 81% of employees say they need to find and access corporate documents while working remotely. Within that same group, only 38% of employees said these documents were easy to locate. This indicates that the vast majority of these workers likely spend countless hours searching for the document they need, and may even encounter the following challenges:

  • The document (when found) may not be the updated version.

  • Due to a remote setting, contacting a team member to obtain the correct version will likely not be quick and easy.

  • Hours spent searching for the document could be detrimental if a hard deadline is present.

As M-Files states in their report – “Work is increasingly becoming something that you do, rather than a place you go.” The modern worker demands efficiency in accessing company information, especially in periods of extended remote work. Companies can obtain massive efficiency gains by enabling staff to work with critical information from anywhere, and on any device.

What can you do with the tools you currently have?

Many workers today use more than one device to access documents (and work with in general). Having a simple and secure way to access files from each of those devices, and without having to save a local copy of each one, can significantly speed up general job duties. Beyond just accessing these documents, people need to be able to work normally as they would if they were in the office, with the same user friendly experience across any device. This also applies to mobile accessibility, since less than half of remote workers can’t access or edit documents on their smartphones.

In the same M-Files survey, 43% of workers reported that they cannot even access business critical documents while working remotely. Further, only 57% of employees said if they did have access, they didn’t have the ability to easily share and/or collaborate on said documents. Given these percentages, addressing this functionality gap is key to the success of mobile document management, which can be accomplished through an intelligent document management platform like M-Files.

How do you review, approve and sign documents?

From service agreements, internal documents and invoices, document workflows are always linked to the ability to review, approve and sign documents. Often, employees need to manually print, sign, re-upload and send documents, which is extremely problematic for remote workers.

The M-Files survey conducted an astounding 65% of workers said they experience significant challenges when reviewing, approving and signing documents when working remotely. Further, 20% of workers reported they lack the capability to approve or sign remote documents at all.

It seems this should be an integral part of digital transformation within the enterprise content management space. In the shift to an increasingly remote workforce, it has become increasingly apparent to enable mobile workers with optimal technologies to achieve business critical tasks. Although sufficient technology exists to make that a reality, progress is a bit slow, and the time to enable is now.

M-Files is the leader in remote document management solutions

M-Files provides a next-generation intelligent information management platform that improves business performance by helping people find and use information more effectively. Unlike traditional ECM systems, M-Files unifies systems, data and content across the organization without disturbing existing systems and processes, which is significant for a remote workforce.

As an M-Files partner, we recognize their 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.

Looking for more on M-Files?

Explore more insights and expertise at

There’s more to explore at!

Sign up to be notified when we publish articles, news, videos and more!