m-files_logo_2010.jpg Earlier on in the summer, Motive Systems (news, site) said that it was taking its document management software to the cloud and that it would have the process completed by the end of August. That process is now finished and M-Files Vault, a system that is specifically targeted at the SMB market is now available.

M-Files Vault has not just appeared over night. Speaking to CMSWire in July, CEO Greg Miliken said that the M-Files Vault would be unveiled in slow steps over the summer and that the full product would provide software that works out of a Windows Explorer interface and could be scaled up for large enterprises, but one that would be most effective for companies up to 100 seats.

Development has focused on providing document management capabilities for users that would not be overly familiar with this kind of software and comes with secure access permissions, version tracking, check-in/check-out, automated workflow, support for emails.

The reasoning behind the launch of another cloud-based document management system is that according to Miliken, less that 20% of SMBs are using any form of document management solution, with many companies including large enterprises still relying on network drives to store business critical information.

Simple Document Management

And one of the principal reasons that many companies are not using document management is because of the difficulties experienced trying to use it -- hence the Windows explorer interface in M-Vault. But it’s more than just the interface that will be familiar to users.

Because Windows apps are directly connected to the cloud, users access applications by just using the standard Open and Save file commands with versions tagged with metadata rather than saving to a folder.

However this is more than a glorified means of saving documents. Cloud Vault also comes with extensive document management abilities. Features include:

  • Scan and Save: Any file from any Windows application can be saved directly to the cloud as can any file that has been scanned including searchable PDF files.
  • All File Types supported: Working like a standard hard drive, Cloud Vault can support any file type Windows can and can save any file directly into the Vault.
  • No folders: Saving and locating files based on tags alone.
  • Automatic Version History: Cloud Vault automatically maintains version history every time a document is changed; maintaining an auditable trail of changes from the time a document is created to its final released version.
  • Secure Access Permissions: Permissions set per document and according to who needs to see them or change them.
  • Undeleting: Undelete function for files that have been deleted accidentally.
  • Check-in / Check-out: Simple Check-in/ Check-out to ensure changes are not overwritten.

SaaS Document Management Competition

If the features of Cloud Vault are accessible and easy to use, most of them are also readily available with other systems. But it is not this that Motive is really pushing, it is the price and the ease-of-use that it is hoping will garner most attention from the SMB market.

And on this score it will have to be very competitive as there are already many established players out there who are also looking for some of the action here.

LinearCube (news, site ) is a relatively new company focused on bringing document management solutions to the small to mid size organization, such as legal, professional services and accounting. The company has two lines of business, one of which is a SaaS document management software package.

KnowledgeTree (news, site) has its Live version, a SaaS DMS also targeting the SMB market and is completely built on open source technologies, while Westbrook Technologies (news, site) has their FortisBlue thin client that captures, archives, searches, annotates, retrieves and safeguards paper and electronic documents.

SpringCM (news, site) has been playing in this market too with its on-demand document management and workflow software, which also offers advanced business process management (BPM) capabilities.

So while Cloud Vault is a comprehensive and robust cloud-based document management software, there are others. However, times being what they are with a pricing of US$ 19.95 user/month or US$ 199.95 user/year combined with its functionality, Cloud Vault should be a real contender for SMB attention.