In 2017, Gartner renamed the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Magic Quadrant, now referring to this group of solutions as Content Services Platforms (CSP). More on the reasons for the change and the implications in our previous post: Content Services Platform (CSP): All You Need to Know about the Term Gartner Introduced Last Year
Here at M-Files, this year represents our eighth year featured on the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Content Services Platforms (CSP). We’ve seen our company’s growth and our vision for consistent innovation play out before our eyes on our journey through the Magic Quadrant, and what a journey it has been.
While this post is not meant to be self-aggrandizing, in many respects, the M-Files progress through the quadrant serves as validation of our place as a visionary in the information management space. M-Files’ vision for our solution and the execution on that vision play a central role in our company story. And we think that it’s a symbiotic relationship in that our story has been so forward-focused that it has played a part in helping define the vision of the industry as a whole.
Enough back-patting for now. Let’s look at the how the ECM market has shifted over the years and the hike towards the top M-Files has made through the Gartner Magic Quadrant.
2012-2013: M-Files Breaks onto the Scene
The 2012 and 2013 ECM Magic Quadrants were dominated by Niche Players, with 59% and 61% of vendors on the list, respectively, residing in that bottom left quadrant. M-Files could be found among those players, making their debut in 2012. The concentration of vendors in the Niche Players quadrant made sense since the market six years ago was more fragmented as emerging ECM solutions were busy finding their lane.
As for M-Files, our story was one of expanding our market reach outward from our home base in Finland and redefining the way the world organizes information. Specifically, the company led innovation on the idea that users should be able to find the documents and information they needed in a contextual way — based on what that thing is rather than where it lived in a myriad of repositories.
2014-2015: M-Files on the Move
In 2014 and 2015, there was some market consolidation with a few scattered acquisitions by the larger players. We also saw a few of those Niche Players from past years — including M-Files — begin to make a move towards the center line and erode the market share of the largest constituents. The market was going through a shift from large enterprise suites to more business solutions focused on delivering business value in specific use-cases. In fact, in the 2015 Gartner report, they stated:
“Product specialization — aligned to country-based business requirements — increased the fragmentation of market share as best-of-breed and regional vendors succeeded in out-competing their larger international rivals. The combined market share of the top three ECM vendors continued to decline — from approximately 46% in 2012, to 44% in 2013, and to 41% in 2014.”
In these years, M-Files moved northward representing an enhancement of their ability to execute. The company doubled down on their metadata-centric strategy, which allowed the solution serious flexibility and furthering the idea that M-Files as a solution doesn’t care where information may live but is more focused on what that information actually is — all to enable users to find the documents they need more efficiently and cut down on the amount of unstructured, dark data that plagues so many companies.
2016-2017: M-Files Recognized as a True Visionary
The 2016 and 2017 iterations of the ECM Gartner Magic Quadrant saw big changes. In 2017, Gartner rebranded it as the Content Services Platform (CSP) Magic Quadrant, moving away from the familiar ECM acronym, in response to an overall shift in the market to a more integrated toolset of content-related services. Overall, the market shifted from simply managing unstructured content to an integrated approach focused on content context and usability. In the market, the name of the game was no longer “Let’s find a solution where we can store all of our files.” It became “Let’s find a solution that’s much more than simply file storage.” End-users demanded solutions that had a variety of core functionalities — including robust information capture, workflow capabilities, improved search and especially repository integration.
M-Files moved into the Visionary quadrant in these years. In truth, the market was catching up to some core functionalities that M-Files had already been pursuing for years prior. So, it was a sensible and natural move into the Visionary quadrant. While the market was really starting to grapple with the challenge that information tended to live in multiple repositories, M-Files had already begun solving that problem by presenting a product that was repository-neutral and an integration of multiple repositories like network folders, SharePoint, ERP and CRM. This was all an extension of the what it is vs. where it is philosophy that underpinned their strategy.
In addition, M-Files introduced the intelligent metadata layer (IML) at the beginning of 2016 to deliver a simple, unified user experience for modern information management, where users can browse data in all connected systems and repositories with the same user interface — something that other ECM solutions are unable to offer. Not only that, but M-Files made good on their promise to deliver an amazing experience, regardless of device, allowing users to access, capture and manage data wherever they may be on their mobile devices.
From top to bottom, as an organization, we here at M-Files have a culture of embracing innovation and living out our path as a visionary in our space. We continue to listen to the needs of the market and respond with solutions that solve problems — big problems — with the way information is managed on the enterprise-level, and 2018 has been no different, with the release of the subscription-based M-Files Online, the first information management system that enables organizations to flexibly combine cloud and on-premises deployments with a single user license without having to lock into one model.
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