Combining Office 365 and M-Files

Achieve a single content hub without data migration.

Introduction

Microsoft Office 365, which became generally available in the summer of 2011, is undoubtedly one of the most popular SaaS applications, used by businesses of all sizes and in all industries, all around the world.

The popularity of Office 365 is well-confirmed by the following statistics:

  1. 1 in 5 corporate employees now use an Office 365 cloud service.
  2. Office 365 is the most widely used cloud service by user count.
  3. Office 365 has really become de facto software for businesses.

There are 155 million monthly active business users of Office 365. A Novel Aspect report states that spreadsheets, email, and presentations drive just about all business environments. “Microsoft’s dominance at the top of the 20 most-desired software skills is fuelled by the ongoing popularity of Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint in the Microsoft Office suite of products.

The products are mentioned collectively in 35.4% of job listings.

Microsoft Office 365 aims to empower employees and optimize their operation. Other key objectives are engaging customers more effectively and transforming the products and services.

What Holds Organisations Back From Taking Full Advantage Of Office 365?

Moving over to Office 365 is, however, not always so straightforward. As with any change of processes and ways of working, there are questions businesses need to ask, such as:

How do we effectively use the entire Office 365 suite?

How can we benefit from the capabilities of apps that differ from those on-premises? For example, how do we leverage SharePoint Online communication and hub sites that aren’t available on-premises?

How do we best manage collaboration with external users?

Like with any software, user adoption is the key to reaching the desired objectives and benefits. And this is one of the key challenge’s businesses face when implementing Office 365.

55% of businesses say that the biggest ongoing issue for Office 365 is persuading users to manage and share content in office 365 and not elsewhere.

Overcoming this issue would allow businesses to take the full benefit of Office 365.

Introducing Office 365 to employees in a way where they embrace change can be challenging.

Employees tend to keep working the way they have always been working.

To efficiently manage all information both structured and unstructured, businesses need solutions that can provide a view to all information, regardless of its origin or format.

The current reality in businesses is that they still store information in at least four disconnected data repositories. Additionally, a lot of information resides outside those repositories.

Managing unstructured data is especially challenging. It is often estimated that as much as 90% of all data is unstructured. The integration of structured data stored in business systems like ERP and CRM, and related unstructured data stored in documents and different files is critical for digitizing the operations and workflows.

Unless Office documents are stored with metadata to provide information about those documents, it is all unstructured content. Many documents still get stored in legacy network folders without metadata or a means of knowing what they contain.

According to AIIM, 46% of an organization’s sensitive documents are contained in office documents.

However, sensitive information needs to be managed properly.

Trusting The Cloud

Often, businesses view the cloud as a less reliable option than their own datacentres. Furthermore, Office 365 is physically hosted in Microsoft datacentres. This, in some cases, causes companies to opt for hybrid deployments to benefit from cloud collaboration capabilities while keeping control over the on-premises deployment.

Why is Office 365 a winner?

Regardless of the challenge’s companies face in getting their employees to embrace all the benefits of Office 365, it is still a package that keeps on winning new customers… And rightly so.

The large user base is an excellent foundation for further investment and attention from Microsoft towards the development of Office 365. This will help businesses to maximize their return on investment.

Furthermore, Office 365 is an excellent tool for collaboration. Daily tools like Teams and Yammer help employees work together in a casual, easy way. There are now 500,000 businesses using Microsoft Teams, including 91% of the Fortune 100 (10). At Ignite 2018, Microsoft said that Teams usage has grown faster than any other Microsoft Application, ever.

The Teams platform allows businesses to collaborate and maintain healthy conversation across the organization.

Meanwhile, the SharePoint environment offers a platform for projects and teams to collaborate on specific documents, as it allows individuals within a team to work on the same document and then share those documents seamlessly through the cloud.

Mobility is another aspect that helps Office 365 gain more ground. Employees can access Office 365 remotely with different devices, allowing them to work and collaborate as if they were in the office.

Maximise Your Investment In Office 365

Choosing to be a “Microsoft shop” and adopting Office 365 is an investment — an investment you will want to capitalize on to its fullest extent.

In M-Files, user and access rights are role-based and managed with metadata. Information viewability and editability are based on automatic permissions. Documents are shown in multiple sites and channels based on their metadata — by customer, by case, by document type, etc. — and the view can look different for different users.

M-Files can automate archiving with automatic metadata suggestions. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and content analytics-based technologies will run in the background and the user will only see relevant suggestions. This way, archival is faster and human errors are minimized.

There is no need for heavy migration projects as all information is available regardless of where it is stored. You can find, access and manage documents in all connected systems and repositories from day one. Migrate relevant, business-critical information gradually when needed.

M-Files metadata can also be used to automate document workflows and business processes. The workflows will automatically suggest what needs to be done next so that users need not worry about approvals, version control, or archival of material.

M-Files allows users to view all content stored in different Teams and SharePoint sites, or in Outlook in a single view — no need to worry where information is stored, as it is automatically updated in the single view, and in its original storage location.

Accelerate Office 365 Usage

M-Files makes Office 365 the single point of access to all enterprise data. You can access all related content from other applications, systems, and repositories from the familiar Office 365 view.

With M-Files, you can improve your office 365 return on investment:

  • Quick implementation by providing immediate access to the data employees need without a massive data migration investment.
  • Automate the tagging of metadata with AI and content analytics Provide a cloud-ready platform that easily connects your cloud-based collaboration with on-premises implementations Simplify daily work, as all related content from other systems and repositories is available in the same, familiar view
  • Enable new use cases with ready-made solution templates Extend and automate document management with workflows and processes.

Bridge The Gap Between Structured & Unstructured Information

M-Files provides connectors to familiar business applications, such as ERP and CRM.

The platform connects to Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, SAP, and SQL Server, for example.

The information stored in these structured databases related to documents and other unstructured content can be integrated into one view, allowing you a 360-degree view of your business.

Boost Digital Transformation

Digitalization is a driver for change.

Automating business processes is a key step in progressing from the digital workplace to digital business.

To move towards digital business and more automated processes, you must utilize a data-driven approach. You’ll need to combine structured and unstructured data sources and access all content via a single UI across all device access points — desktop, web, or a mobile device.

Adding artificial intelligence to identify business-critical records from clutter, and to automate workflows will help comply with regulations. And finally, solution templates will help automate more business processes.

Utilise The Full Potential Of The Microsoft Platform

M-Files is fully integrated with Microsoft platforms from infrastructure and identity management to user interfaces and integrations.

Work Easily With Office Applications, Add Metadata And Processes To Your Everyday Work

The deep integration of Office tools and M-Files makes it easy to access and edit documents.

You can save documents to M-Files directly from your Office applications — Word, Excel and PowerPoint. And, vice versa, you can find, access and edit your Office documents directly from the M-Files user interface.

M-Files additionally offers real-time co-authoring using Microsoft Office applications on M-Files desktop or M-Files web. You can collaborate with colleagues and simultaneously edit or work on the same document. The document is saved automatically, and all users see changes in real time. The document can be stored in M-Files, with inherited security controls.

Enhancements To Outlook

M-Files allows you to save Outlook messages and file attachments directly to M-Files with one click, adding metadata so that the information is easily accessible. You can also use the Outlook user interface to access data stored in M-Files, making Outlook your primary daily tool for document management.

You can connect email and file attachments with other documents and business data, adding the benefit of intelligent information management to Outlook content and file attachments.

Build On Your Azure Investment

M-Files cloud implementations run in the secure Azure Cloud. You benefit from quick time to production and the endless scalability of Azure cloud, as well as the geographically distributed data centres that provide fast service in all continents.

When you choose M-Files, you can choose your preferred implementation — either in the cloud, on premises, or as a hybrid solution. The choice is always yours, so you can benefit from the ease of collaboration in the cloud, and if necessary, keep selected records on premises.

M-Files utilizes single sign-on with Azure AD. Microsoft Azure AD provides the basis for a people-centric IT solution that empowers users and allows them to work on the device of their choice with consistent access to corporate resources.

M-Files lets you provision users via Azure AD so that you can centralize identity management between M-Files and Office 365. File visibility is based on access rights of the employee. The Azure AD-based provisioning also allows you to leverage advanced security features in Azure AD, such as multi-factor authentication.

You can automate access control with metadata-driven permissions to improve user management and access control.

How do we effectively use the entire Office 365 suite?

M-Files allows you to connect all your separate Teams and SharePoint sites, as well as Outlook content into one single view.

How can we benefit from the capabilities of apps that differ from those on-premises? For example, how do we leverage SharePoint Online communication and hub sites that aren’t available on-premises?

M-Files effectively connects your cloud and on-premises repositories, providing one integrated view to all content.

How do we best manage collaboration with external users?

M-Files provides an easy way to allow access to partners or customers. When necessary, you can add external users to your directory.

Or, when collaborating less frequently, you can utilize the M-Files External Link functionality that allows you to share a link to a selected file to anyone without access to M-Files.

Summary

M-Files lets you boost the use of Office 365. It renders everyday work easier by integrating data silos and transforming Office 365 into a single point of access to all enterprise data. The added automation of metadata, workflows and business processes helps you digitalize your business and improve compliance.

  • Connect all Repositories
  • Manage files located in any other system within SharePoint
  • Operate daily information management within a single view
  • Easily edit documents with a full Microsoft Online integration
  • Improve compliance
  • Improve governance
  • Manage document versions & keep audit trails easily

For more information on how we can help your organisation please email:
peter@documentmanagementsoftware.com.au or visit
www.documentmanagementsoftware.com.au


Peter Ellyard

Having spent over 20 years immersed in the document management software industry I have found that by offering a simple to use, highly effective electronic document management solution (knowledge management software) we increase productivity dramatically. Typically by an hour per person, per day! This is not rocket science, just a simple way to streamline your day to day information needs.