Enterprise content management software company M-Files has acquired Apprento, a Canadian developer of artificial intelligence and natural language technology that M-Files plans to add to its core platform to simplify information management and related processes.
The acquisition follows a recently announced OEM partnership with ABBYY, another provider of language-based and artificial intelligence technologies.
The acquisition also comes just a week after M-Files' launch of its HR document management application, an expansion of the vendor's product line into a specific line-of-business area.
"Business leaders, industry analysts and others who follow our industry all agree that traditional approaches and solutions for managing information are inadequate and that a new and more intelligent approach is required," said M-Files CEO Miika Mäkitalo in a statement.
Mäkitalo said the Apprento acquisition and ABBYY partnership would help M-Files bring "human-like intelligence" to the problem of managing the massive and growing volume of unstructured content "within disconnected systems and repositories in the typical enterprise."
M-Files will use the Apprento technology, specifically its Apprento Business Context Engine, to automate more of the metadata management processes in the M-Files platform, said Mika Javanainen, M-Files' product management vice president, in an interview with CRN.
That engine employs natural language processing to understand semantics and concepts in content and communications systems. With such technology the M-Files system can, for example, better identify the customer in a contract for metadata purposes.
Under the OEM deal with ABBYY, that company's technology has been built into the next release of the M-Files software to help it understand the content in business documents to help with workflows and document filing. That release of M-Files is due out later this year, Javanainen said.
M-Files is likewise building the Apprento technology into the M-Files platform, according to the company.
The new AI capabilities will provide a competitive advantage for solution providers that work with the M-Files technology, said Kurt Meemken, software solutions manager at Marco Technologies, an M-Files platinum partner and No. 94 on the CRN Solution Provider 500.
"They already have a leading-edge solution, but they are always looking for new and better ways to do information management," he said. The new AI capabilities offer a way for Marco to set itself apart in the crowded and competitive enterprise content management space, he added.
While M-Files' document management system has been on the market for years, the new M-Files HR product expands the vendor's offerings with an application for specifically automating the management of employee-related documents and records. The software includes workflow, search, e-signature, security, document retention and destruction, version control and mobile access capabilities, Javanainen said.
The new application, available now, runs on the M-Files platform and ties HR-specific processes, such as employee hiring, onboarding, training and performance reviews, into its core document processing functionality.
In cloud computing in general, and in enterprise content management specifically, solution providers are moving into services and business process consulting. Javanainen said the new M-Files HR application provides opportunities for partners to do just that. "It's a better starting point for many partners," he said.
"Whenever we're doing a deployment, we're looking for a quick win," Marco's Meemken said, noting that with M-Files HR, partners can help customers streamline their business processes. "I do see that as a huge advantage."