Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2016 and Office 365 offer basic document management capabilities. M-Files is an overall solution specifically designed for document and enterprise information management.
Key differences between the properties of M-Files and SharePoint Document Library are specified below. For document management, M-Files gives you significant benefits that you cannot achieve with SharePoint.
1. Navigation in M-Files is Truly Metadata-driven
Users can add metadata to documents in SharePoint but in addition they need to store the files in traditional hierarchy of site collections, sites, pages, and document libraries. This means that SharePoint does not really eliminate the key issues of traditional folder-based systems: user doesn’t necessarily know to which document library the file should be saved and it is not possible to conveniently view the same document in multiple sites or create a view that lists documents from multiple document libraries.
The classification of documents in M-Files is all about specifying metadata property values. The documents are listed in all relevant views in the system based on metadata and without the need to duplicate files to multiple repositories
2. M-Files Offers a Native Windows Desktop Client
SharePoint can be accessed via browser only. M-Files offers also a Web UI but M-Files also offers a native Windows Desktop client that makes daily work with documents more convenient. The user experience of M-Files is similar to using your local C drive. Recently opened files can be quickly reopened from cache and certain operations can be performed on the client side in order to offload server load.
Full integration of M-Files into Windows also ensures compatibility with all Windows applications.
3. M-Files Supports Metadata-driven Permissions
Specifying and especially maintaining access control policies in SharePoint can be cumbersome. There is no way to enforce permission policies based on the content properties (i.e. metadata). Additionally, using over 5,000 access control lists within a SharePoint farm often causes performance issues.
M-Files offers comprehensive feature set to automate and enforce document permissions based on metadata. Access control settings can be based on the metadata value, or combination of two or more values. Hence, it is easy to implement policies that allow viewing employees own HR documentation only. The permissions can be also inherited from parent metadata objects too so that adding a new person to project properties can add permissions to all related documents automatically.
4. M-Files Supports Scanning
M-Files offers automatic text recognition (OCR) and a professional capture solution with zonal OCR and automatic document categorization. Documents can be scanned directly into M-Files with a desktop scanner or network scanner.
5. M-Files Offers Rich Compliance Features
M-Files supports electronic and digital signatures. M-Files also fulfills the technical requirements for FDA 21 CFR Part 11 and many other regulations. Additionally, M-Files offers the following features out-of-the-box:
PDF/A-1b document conversions for long-term archiving
Automatic metadata and automatic naming conventions
Support for large internal and external value lists and data sources (support for lists with millions of values)
Interdependent metadata (for example, contact persons can be filtered by the selected customer)
6. M-Files Offers Metadata-driven Replication Features
M-Files supports replication of all or select content of a vault to another M-Files repository in the cloud or behind your firewall. Replication is metadata-driven and enables specification of dynamic replication rules. Typical use cases for replication with M-Files are:
Replication of data between two or more sites, such as a corporate entity and its subsidiaries, or a business with distributed sales offices or retail outlets.
Publishing of select content from a corporate on-premises repository to a cloud-based project vault accessible by external partners, vendors or clients.
Moving content and information from an active repository to an archive repository for long-term retention.
Collecting information from multiple distributed repositories to one centralized enterprise repository.
7. M-files Is Compatible With All Applications
SharePoint is truly compatible with MS Office products only. M-Files is fully compatible with all Windows applications and even supports special functionality of AutoCAD products (such as resolving XREF references).
8. M-Files is integrated seamlessly with SharePoint
Documents in M-Files can be directly linked to SharePoint with M-Files web part for SharePoint.