When companies make the transition from paper file management to digital storage, most believe their file problems will be solved. After all, you only need to create a few top folders with appropriate headings and establish well-organized subfolders, right? Wrong. In most cases, the longer your business goes without an effective enterprise content management (ECM) software program, the more complex your file folders will become and the more likely it is you'll suffer data loss. The flaws of traditional file folder systems go beyond simple structure and organization, though.
Most Information is Unstructured Data
On average, most companies have only a tiny fraction of their files and other data organized and properly stored on the company network. Most businesses have informational assets in file folders and loosely structured systems that are created and managed by an individual, with little control over who can access what information, as well as when and where.
This lack of structure impacts a wide variety of files stored by an organization. With a high volume of contracts, reports, operational spreadsheets, presentations and even video and image files created by many in your organization, the potential for data to become lost or compromised is high in most environments.
Issues Created by Unstructured Data
In most cases, unstructured data is accumulated randomly on hard drives and across the server in various shared folders. There is rarely an overarching framework in place, which can create a number of problem for companies that lack an enterprise content management software program.
The primary problem with an unstructured data environment is the lack of information and file structure control. Most employees hit save on a document, select a destination and click "OK." From there, little thought is ever given to that file again until someone needs it and often cannot find it.
In this situation, each individual user is faced with trying to remember the names of files, vital contents and where on the network it is saved. Even assuming an individual had the memory required to conquer this issue, they are likely to have problems finding a document at some point in time.
With no mechanism or strategies in place to control naming protocols for files and the creation of new folders or subfolders, documents will become misnamed, misfiled, duplicated without authorization and older versions will be mistaken for updated versions. It's not a matter of if, but when.
Benefits of Enterprise Content Management Software
Programs such as M-Files are among the preferred enterprise content management software programs in use today. One of the primary reasons for the popularity of M-Files is the variety of industries and even specialized roles it is built to work with. Whether you're saving standard documents (contracts, spreadsheets, generic Word files, etc.) or managing enterprise content, there are numerous benefits to platforms like M-Files:
- Find Documents Instantly: Your hard drive isn't easily searched if you don't know the name, creator or location of a particular file. M-Files makes it easy by removing the hurdle of having to remember where a document is saved because data is stored based upon the content itself, not just a file name.
- One Version: Files saved in M-Files are organized and stored as the most up-to-date version, and no duplicates are allowed. This means that everyone can find the file they need, and rest easy knowing it's the most recent version available.
- Share and Collaborate: Employees for most companies are always on the go. Businesses with multiple sites need to be able to share files back and forth easily without losing information or attaching data to emails. With a single right click of the mouse, you can send a file to coworkers using M-Files and collaborate with ease.
- Secure Documents: Not all of the files on your company network are meant for the eyes of every employee. M-Files allows you to secure all of your files and set permissions automatically that control who can access which files, and whether or not they can make changes.
These are just some of the reasons for using M-Files enterprise content management software. As alluded to above, there are benefits suiting various types of content and individual business roles. The more you learn about M-Files, the more valuable you'll discover it can be for your company.