M-Files Pitches Partner Opportunities Of Its Latest ECM Release

M-Files Corp. says the latest release of its enterprise content management system, including the software's new search capabilities and other enhancements, expands service opportunities for its 550-plus channel partners.

And M-Files is developing packaged applications that run with its core ECM software, such as the recently introduced contract lifecycle management app, with more to follow in 2017, that also will create opportunities for partners.

"There's really a lot of ways to create services-focused revenue, along with the software revenue," said Scott Erickson, channel sales vice president at the Dallas-based company, in an interview with CRN.

[Related: Dell-EMC To Unload Enterprise Content Division To Canadian Firm For $1.6B]

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M-Files competes in the ECM - or document management - software arena against such companies as IBM, OpenText (which is acquiring Dell-EMC's Documentum), Hyland and Oracle.

M-Files offers its ECM system for on-premises, cloud or hybrid deployments. The company recently began shipping M-Files 2015.3 with the ability to conduct searches for content across multiple M-Files vaults, as well as new "search facets" tools for easier refinement of searches.

The new release also offers usability improvements, metadata card configurability enhancements, and the ability to add hand-written signatures to PDF documents from the M-Files mobile app for iOS and Android devices.

"We're really trying to change the landscape in terms of how companies use enterprise content management," Erickson said.

Gartner tagged M-Files as a "visionary" in an ECM magic quadrant report this year and it raised $36 million in Series B financing earlier in 2016. The company has been growing at a 50 percent annual rate and Erickson said the channel, which accounts for about half of the company's sales and about two-thirds of all sales deals, is a big part of its growth.

The company's partner roster includes traditional IT VARs and resellers that specialize in ECM, application resellers with expertise in such areas as CRM, managed service providers, systems integrators, and office equipment dealers that provide document management solutions.

"They run a very strong partner program," said Steve Maxwell, solutions services manager for Upstream Print Solutions, a Melbourne, Australia-based document and content management solutions provider that has partnered with M-Files since 2011.

Upstream Print Solutions originally signed on with M-Files when it went looking for an ECM system that was more flexible and scalable than software it was working with at the time. The company provides ECM consulting services, uncovering customers' document management problems and developing tailored solutions around the M-Files software.

Maxwell said M-Files is committed to its products and providing partners with whatever they need to be succeed – he noted that even in Australia he has access to the vendor's marketing teams. And he said that while Upstream has developed vertical industry apps that run on M-Files, he said his company would likely take advantage of the add-ons the vendor is developing. "We think it's a good strategy," he said.

Most M-Files partners are in North America and Europe with the company expanding its channel reach into Asia-Pacific and Latin America. The vendor is also recruiting partners with expertise in specific vertical industries.

Partners develop a range of services around the M-Files software, including implementation and integration with other applications, migrating content and documents, developing reporting capabilities, and providing workflow and business process management consulting services. Some partners are building recurring revenue streams around M-Files software, Erickson said.

The company's three-tiered partner program provides margins ranging between 20 and 50 points, market development funds and other marketing assistance, deal registration, a partner portal, technical training and a self-contained demonstration kit for partners' sales presentations.