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M-Files acquires Hubshare to gain access to content-sharing portal

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M-Files today announced it has acquired Hubshare as part of an effort to make it easier to share files and data stored in its enterprise content management (ECM) platform. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Hubshare presents end users with a portal through which they can access data and files without requiring IT teams to move everything into one central repository, said M-Files CEO Antti Nivala.

M-Files plans to continue to offer Hubshare as a standalone platform while simultaneously working to tighten integration between Hubshare and the ECM platform provided by M-Files, Nivala added.

In general, most Hubshare users have been people working for different organizations who needed an easier way to collaborate and share files, documents, and other classes of data, noted Nivala. As the number of digital business transformation initiatives involving multiple organizations continues to expand, the need to seamlessly share information will only increase in the months ahead, Nivala said.

In effect, Hubshare is evolving into the front-end portal through which customers can centrally access multiple backend platforms for storing data via a portal that keeps track of which users are authorized to access specific files and documents, Nivala said.

M-Files earlier this year raised an additional $80 million in funding. Ultimately, the company’s goal is to apply AI to metadata independently of the ECM platform it was captured from. Armed with AI capabilities, it should become simpler to optimize workflows spanning multiple ECM platforms.

Despite the rise of massive data lakes in the cloud, Nivala said there will never be a single source of truth in any enterprise. Data will continue to be created and managed within the context of a wide range of application silos that will each continue to have their own set of master data. “There are going to be a number of master locations for data,” he said.

The challenge IT organizations face is finding a way to affordably make all that data accessible to end users inside and outside of an organization in a way that doesn’t compromise security and, just as importantly, can be audited from a compliance perspective, Nivala added.

Most IT organizations don’t have a great track record when it comes to centralizing data management. However, there are now more users than ever that need to directly access data that was created outside of an application environment they have express permission to use. As such, the need for a portal that makes it easier to navigate data residing in multiple master data repositories is rising. Data is now being stored independently of the application first employed to create it. In fact, many organizations will soon find themselves judged based on how easy they are to work with while, paradoxically, being required to make sure that content stays secure. As critical as security might be, productivity is still the most critical of all metrics applied to any workflow.

Of course, competition among providers of ECM platforms is already fierce. These platforms are racing to embed AI capabilities that will make it simpler to access and integrate a wide range of content. It’s not clear to what degree those capabilities might dissuade organizations from launching massive data warehouse projects as it becomes simpler for both end users and third-party applications to access content wherever it happens to reside. Regardless of approach, however, the one thing that is apparent is that legacy approaches to managing content will no longer suffice in an era where the value of data rises in direct proportion to how often and widely it’s employed.

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