M-Files Project Management

ECM for Project Management - quality-compliance-control-system

M-Files ECM solutions go far beyond just simple document management. The unique metadata-driven architecture lets you organize content based on "what" it is rather than "where" it is stored, rather than using traditional manually maintained folder structure. You can leverage this innovative architecture to manage not only documents, but also any other types of "objects," such as projects, cases, customers, employees and more -- literally any other information "object" that is important to your industry and business.


When implementing a project management system, it's typical to plan the structure and roles beforehand. Sometimes this isn’t possible, such as when an unforeseen need arises, and that’s where role-based permissions and metadata-driven systems really excel. It's as easy as defining simple rules for content visibility, task deadlines and ownership.

Enterprise content management (ECM) platforms are versatile and can be leveraged for a variety of different purposes beyond just document management. From customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise asset management (EAM), to contract lifecycle management (CLM), enterprise content management systems are utilized to manage many core business functions.

In practice, this could mean that internal agreement has been reached on certain policies, such as who owns the responsibility to ensure permits are signed and by what date, who will make sure that HVAC drawings are archived, who should have access to budget spreadsheets, etc. Implementing the rules and procedures associated with policies such as these requires just a few mouse clicks. The beauty of M-Files is that it's possible to easily change and adapt as new requirements or unforeseen circumstances arise. For instance, in a single operation access to CAD drawings associated with a particular design can be granted to a new subcontractor, and M-Files will automatically update the access permissions to all associated content.


There are often numerous roles in a project organization, and different roles generally need to access the same information differently. At the same time, everyone on the project team should be able to readily retrieve the most recent versions of documents that they have been granted permission to access.

The M-Files metadata-based approach helps to solve this challenge because content creators don't have to know how the content they create will be searched for and used. Instead they just need to describe what the information is and what it's related to.

Consider the following example: a project manager receives an invoice in February 2013 from a subcontractor about an elevator installation in Project A associated with Building B that is in Phase C. Using a traditional folder-based approach, should this invoice be stored in the folder for the subcontractor, or the various folders for Project A, Building B, Phase C, or February 2013 Invoices? In M-Files, one simply describes, or tags, the document with these properties and the system makes the document visible wherever it is needed, generating dynamic "virtual folders" based on any or all of these properties. In addition, it's possible to list a variety of content from different projects in a single view, for example all invoices from a certain subcontractor this year, or all documents associated with Building B.


One common issue when using a web-based project repository is that it is a separate information silo where content gets duplicated, assuming that users remember to use it. Very often the most current version sits on someone’s C drive, or in Outlook. With M-Files, users save files to the repository directly from any application to a "virtual-local" drive, known as the M drive, regardless of whether they are online or offline. Since the M-Files uses the instantly familiar Windows Explorer interface, users already know how to use it, but now they have ready access to a rich collection of built-in document management capabilities, including fast search (both on metadata and "full text" file contents), version control, access permissions, check-put/check-in, digital signatures, audit trails and more. And all of this is based on a unique new approach to managing information by what it is versus where it is stored that is inherently more intuitive and precise than traditional folder-based approaches.


M-Files comes with built-in functionality to build employee or team-specific electronic task lists that can be enforced with digital signatures when needed. These assignments can be related to documents or any other information object, such as a project, case or customer. For instance, it's possible to require that all drawings of a certain type go through an approval workflow before being published for broader use, or periodic calibration tasks for select tools or equipment can be scheduled and assigned to certain individuals or groups.


Employees’ training and qualifications are easy to manage with M-Files. For example, it's possible to quickly determine who is certified to perform a certain task, or who is available for another task. In addition, evidence of qualifications (i.e. training certificates) is readily managed with M-Files, with automatic notifications to alert project managers when employees' qualification are about to expire. While these capabilities are useful in a variety of industries and businesses, they are also common requirements for a professional quality management system capable of ensuring compliance with standards such as ISO 9001.


+Improved efficiency that comes from consolidating documentation from multiple subcontractors in a single central repository

+Improved quality and shorter cycle times with built-in version control and audit trail features that ensure that only controlled changes are allowed, and that all parties use the same, correct version of information.

+Smooth coordination of subcontractors and the documents and other information for which they are responsible by enabling easy classification and tagging in the initial phases of a project. The result is all information is efficiently organized and tagged by functional location, manufacturer, etc., and accessible to the entire project team throughout the project. Typically, in large projects subcontractors deliver all documentation on CD at the end of the project requiring a large time-consuming effort to import everything manually, while also decreasing efficiency since all important project documentation may not be readily available in the implementation phase of the project.

+Consistent and widespread daily use of the system is encouraged with the familiar Windows Explorer interface that supports any application with common File Save and Open commands encourages.

+More efficient resource and assignment management in a single tool with the ability to assess and report on progress and outstanding tasks via specialized calendar and GANTT views.

+Flexible deployment options, including cloud, on-premise or a hybrid combination of both.