Migrating files from an external source to M-Files can seem like a daunting task. And it can be! But with the right tools and methodology, you can create a process that runs as smooth as a well-oiled machine. M-Files created an importer tool that will import files into your M-Files repository. All you need to do is supply a data file in one of the following formats: .csv, .xml, or Excel spreadsheet to feed into the tool. If you choose the Excel spreadsheet, you do need to have the ODBC driver for Excel installed on your machine. Let’s discuss why this tool can be beneficial to your organization.
Many external systems today have an export feature that will export metadata in a .csv or .xml file. After exporting, you can configure the importer tool to map each piece of metadata (i.e, column) to a specific property in M-Files. Then you feed this data file into the importer tool and you will have a seamless process that requires minimal effort to maintain, and that’s the first benefit this tool can bring to your organization. The importer tool offers a simple and effective way to bring data into your system. Whether you obtain a .csv or .xml file from an external system or create it on your own, you can run it through the importer and have the data migrate into your system with ease.
Populating Value Lists
Another benefit to using the tool is populating value lists in M-Files. Instead of manually adding values to a value list one by one, you can use the tool to import a generated value list into M-Files. Not only does this save you time, but it also minimizes typos associated with manual entry. If you have a property that is capturing different cities, instead of inputting them one by one, you can generate a list (manually or from an external source) and feed this list into the importer tool. The underlying requirement is the list needs to be in an accepted format for the data file.
There are times users may need to make bulk updates to most, if not all, files for a class or organization. An example would be the retention schedule property for files. An organization may need to change requirements and update the retention schedule for a given class. One solution is to use a view to capture these files and update them in bulk from the view. But there are limitations to this approach: updating 500 files at a time and waiting for the client to catch up from updating the files on the server. If you need to update 35,000 files, a more efficient approach is to use the importer tool to update all the files at once. Not only do you save time in the update process, but you also minimize the chance of omitting files during the manual update process.
External Document Imports
Lastly, you can use the importer tool to automate the periodic import of external documents into M-Files. Some external systems may generate a weekly or monthly report that you need to import into M-Files. Instead of taking the time to manually import the report at each occurrence, you can setup an automated process to use the importer tool and import the report automatically. This allows your organization to rely on the automated process and not miss an import because a resource is out on vacation.
The M-Files importer tool offers many benefits to an organization. Each benefit varies on your use case. Whether you want to enhance your automated processes or make updates more efficiently, the importer tool will enhance your organization’s capabilities. If you have any questions on the many capabilities M-files offers, reach out to us. We’re always happy to help.