This means that searches are made according to combinations of “document type”, “properties” and “content”. Such searches are created and saved so they can be used again and again. These “Saved Searches” are called “Dynamic Views”.
One important “metadata” element, is the document “class” or “type”. Document types are user-definable to closely match the users’ business model. Hence documents are classified as “Report” or “Invoice” or “Reminder” and other properties are such fields as “Customer Name” or “Due Date” and so on. And, remember that the complete content of all documents is also indexed!
M-Files saves all content in a database, which is either Microsoft SQL Server or the included Firebird. Either way, all content is indexed (even PDF documents). Furthermore, content is stored together with its “metadata”, which is a fancy way of saying “properties”.
Total multi-language support
M-Files is available in 17 languages and the list keeps on growing.
What is really amazing is that the metadata (or properties) are also multi-language enabled. This means that while one person may be looking for all documents sorted by “Industry Type”, another can look for documents sorted by “Wirtschaftszweig”. Switching from one language to another is a 1 minute thing and happens at the client level; 2 users in the same room can be working on 2 different language editions.
It’s easy, just save and tag
Assume you have a proposal dated June 1, 2012 that is related to customer ABC Corporation, and the project named Website Renewal. In a traditional file system, you would need to choose whether to store the file in the customer, project or proposals folder. In M-Files, you can access the same file through multiple Dynamic Views such as, Documents by Customer- ABC Corporation, Proposals by Month – June 2012, or Documents by Projects – Website Renewal.
M-Files is fundamentally a metadata-driven system where documents and other data entities are classified with metadata instead of traditional folders. Navigation in M-Files is based on dynamics views that are based on metadata. Object permissions in M-Files can be based on metadata in such way that, for instance, document class and the customer the document is related to together define the visibility of the file. Workflows are strongly metadata-driven, too.
Administrators can easily manage the metadata structure using a centralized console with a simple graphical user interface, no programming or scripting is required. With the system administrator console, it’s easy to define new object types, classes, property definitions, workflows, and more. All common data types are supported, such as text, numbers, Boolean, dates, times, lists, and more.
Beyond simple content indexing
M-Files metadata properties can also be filtered and driven based on the other properties: For example, after selecting a country, the list of cities can be automatically filtered, and once a city is picked, the list of ZIP codes can be automatically filtered.
Additionally, metadata properties can have automatic values, from simple auto-numbering to concatenated automatic values. For instance, document naming conventions can be enforced by automatically naming certain document types with a combination of type, date and generated numbers. Automatic validation rules are supported, too (e.g., project number must contain 4 digits).
It’s also possible to populate M-Files metadata properties with values directly from your CRM or ERP system. For example, a Customer metadata property can be defined as a pop-down list populated from your CRM; when a new customer is added in the CRM, the list in M-Files automatically updates.