By Vanessa Miller
Many people ask me how I know M-Files is the right solution for my clients and my business? The answer is simple……. It all boils down to years of experience, and finding the right solution at the right time.
Let me start from the beginning.
My Passion for document management started back in 1998. One of my first projects I was mandated to do was while consulting for a government office. They were wanting to implement an existing document repository they had purchased years before across other areas of their business and I was tasked with the project. Before I knew it, the chaos of Y2K started to sweep across businesses and my small project was not immune to the temptation of being replaced with something that had a better date format… So my client handed me a new mandate, go out and find us something that is better than what we have. They wanted a document management and a workflow solution, oh and it needed to be implemented before the clock struck midnight on the 31 December 1999…
So what does a girl do when looking for a solution for a government office? ….Draw up a user requirements document and go out to tender, that’s what.
This is where I realized I enjoyed learning about the challenges in a business and coming up with ideas to solve those business challenges.
As part of the evaluation criteria, we wanted to test the different solutions in the market. My true passion for business solutions was born… I was able to test apples against apples and soon realized the area of document management was such a diverse market. I not only enjoyed testing the solutions, but equally enjoyed unpacking the document, content and process requirements for my client and coming up with different design frameworks for them… What made it more enjoyable was the fact that I had a knack for it too.
So the successful solution we implemented at the time was iManage… (Remember all those years back, M-Files was not even born yet).
The iManage solution was rated as one of the leaders in the ECM space and 18 years ago I truly believed it was the best ECM solution on the market. My relationship with iManage lasted many years and I became an iManage partner and saw them go through the iManage – Interwoven name changes more than once… But like many good solutions of that time, they took their foot off the R&D pedal a little and we started to see other solutions hitting the market place. In addition, we have to remember those early ECM solutions also came with a great price tag too, and their target market was the enterprise.
So about 6 years ago, my team and I agreed that we needed to start looking for another ECM solution we could bring to market. I must admit we stumbled onto the M-Files solution by accident.
One of my sales consultants had been asked by a client to find a document management solution that allowed users to store documents in folders…. He did a search and came across an article of folder vs folderless storage, where M-Files was promoting a folderless storage option. The poor soul had no idea what he had stumbled upon, but as soon as I realized what he was looking at, I knew he had hit a gem.
We got our hands on a trial version of M-Files, remember this was 6 years ago and M-Files was by no means as slick as it is now, but the solution just made sense. It was object based and allowed you to store document and content by metadata… Even back then they had the right approach from the start. It was simple to use, it was cost effective and it was a solution that would fit into the South African landscape with ease.
We had found just what we were looking for!
So began our journey into becoming partners with M-Files. At first I thought the solution would be a perfect fit for our smaller clients. But as the solution started to mature, it became very evident that M-Files was not just for the small business, but it was starting to be a major contender for the enterprise. At this point we cut ties with other ECM solutions and we totally aligned our business to M-Files and it became our sole solution in the ECM, DMS and information management space. We even implemented it internally so we could practice what we preached.
VM Consulting have invested in the M-Files solution and we believe the solution is going to be one of the biggest shakers in the ECM and EIM space in South Africa as well as the world during the next 2 years. As part of our investment into the solution, we have trained and certified M-Files specialists, administrators and support teams.
As recognition for all our hard work over the past couple of years, the team from VM Consulting were awarded the M-Files Partner Award for Outstanding Achievement in Commitment, this year in Nice, France.
As part of our journey, over the course of the past couple of months we have been awarded one of the largest M-Files customers in the world – which is also one of the largest ECM clients in South Africa. We have moved clients from SharePoint to M-Files, integrated M-Files with SAP, Pastel Evolution and a number of other SQL based solutions… Awesome custom development and self- service portals integrating directly into M- Files… Oh and let’s not forget automating processes in M-Files that send SMS notifications to customers updating them of a status of their application forms.
So as you can see, it has been one hell of a journey, but one that has been well worth the ride…. I look forward to many great adventures with M-Files and if some of the sneak peaks I have seen from their product development team are anything to go by, M-Files are seriously going to rock this world in 2017.
Our doors are open to show you the magic of M-Files. Let VM Consulting help you bring M-Files to your business and even to your clients.