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Forget Going Paperless. Go Folderless.

4 Oct, 2010 By: Editorial Staff imageSource

Forget Going Paperless. Go Folderless.

It’s been said that documents and the information they contain are the most important asset of a business, after its people. And yet, less than 20 percent of small to medium-sized businesses are still relying on the classic Windows file/folder management system to manage their business-critical documents.

For a moment, let’s ask ourselves how we got here. Digital file folders are a legacy of manual filing, not just in the iconic appearance on the desktop, but in the entire logical system of grouped hierarchies of documents. This made sense when technology companies were introducing office workers to computer-based automation. But it’s logic that is obsolete given today’s computer processing capability — and one that has been proven counter-productive to business. Nonetheless, the paradigm of folder hierarchies is still hard-wired into all of today’s “modern” operating system software.

Why FoldersNo Longer MakeSense
The fundamental disadvantage of collecting documents in folders is that it forces users to choose a single organization scheme at the onset, which may or may not be how one wants to group the files later, and may make little sense to another user in the same workgroup. Worse, although Windows folders impart structure, there is no meaningful discipline built into the system to keep files organized, and the result, sooner or later, is usually chaos. It is a structure you must take time to navigate, but whose logic over time makes less and less practical sense. Pretty soon, users are wasting time looking for documents, losing documents, deleting the wrong documents, inventing crazy naming schemes, and working on the wrong version of documents.

Going FolderlessMakes it Easier toFind What YouWant
M-Files document management software, developed by Motive Systems, lets users escape the limitations of hierarchical folders. M-Files’ new logic for storing and accessing files is driven by metadata — descriptive properties for high-speed, precise searches — rather than file paths. 

Using tags, different employees can place the same company document in different categories, depending on what’s most convenient or efficient at a given time, using a feature called dynamic views. Meanwhile, the file management capabilities built into M-Files offer document handling and search capabilities that far exceed those found in the Windows operating system. M-Files not only categorizes all your current hard drive or server files into a fast access database scheme, it also maintains foolproof organization for every new document you produce, regardless of application. 

M-Files Doesn’tRequire You to Change the Way You Work
M-Files’ user interface is essentially Windows Explorer and works the same way, no matter what application you’re using — the idea being that users already know how to use it, so there is nothing new to learn; you just tag with metadata rather than saving to a folder. With M-Files, you assign files common-sense categories or project numbers of your choice when saving files, rather than a long train of subfolders. The M-Files interface integrates into file controls you usually use – the Open and Save dialogue boxes and Windows Explorer, but gives you precise document management and search capabilities Windows does not, along with check-in/check-out protections, and automatic version control.

Taking M-Files Into the Cloud
Motive Systems has just launched a hosted version of M-Files called Cloud Vault, where the M-Files server is already set up in the cloud, so in effect, all Windows apps are directly connected to the cloud. There is no server set up, and it’s all available for a low monthly fee — ideal for non-technical users who want to always have the documents they need at hand, and to be certain that any member of a workgroup is using the latest version of an important document.

Integrating M-Files with Your Service Offerings
Motive Systems recently launched a comprehensive channel program aimed at value-added resellers (VARs) and managed service providers (MSPs) that focus on business solutions for small to medium-sized businesses. The program enables resellers to effectively market and service M-Files in conjunction with their existing product portfolio, often as a highly complementary offering to current software and hardware solutions they resell.

To learn more about M-Files, visit us on the web at www.m-files.com.

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