Some Comparisons to Sharepoint
I was wondering how FileHold compares to SharePoint in this regard? To learn more I connected with Russ Beinder the CTO, of FileHold Software to examine FileHold's capabilities and uncover how it compares to and differs from SharePoint in certain capacities. I was able to get a very good idea of how FileHold could solve both my project documents and records management needs on the information sensitive engagements I lead. Many of the FileHold features would have made life easier on past government projects that ended successfully...but necessitated the building of home-grown software and systems to track and retrieve documents that eventually were archived and became records properly.
Question: Russ; at a high level how do you differentiate FileHold DMS from SharePoint?
Russ: FileHold has been built as a DMS from the ground up meeting a wide range of DMS needs. SharePoint is more of an open book – it can store files and categorize files, but more must be done to turn SharePoint into a full-features DMS. SharePoint gives you a powerful tool set that lets you build/configure what you need to make file management work. With FileHold, that's already part of the system – eliminates that effort and time (configuration time) thus saving significant resources, time, and cost. FileHold is built for the purpose of document management with low effort required to configure and maintain the system.
When you are working with thousands of files, document management is really not too complex. When you are working with hundreds of thousands or millions of documents then it is different and FileHold works very efficiently in these scenarios.
FileHold keeps the total cost of ownership low. One of the ways it does this is to include a comprehensive upgrade tool that make it easy for all of our customers to stay on the current version. This lowers our support costs and ultimately what we charge to customers. We want the FileHold user community to upgrade and take advantage of new features every time we issue a major release. This makes life easier for all parties involved in its usage and upgrade process. An upgrade to SharePoint is a very complex and expensive task so that is why you see so many SharePoint users on older versions. With FileHold upgrades happen every 6-9 months and is part of the maintenance process covered by our FileCare program. No customer is left with that painful upgrade to get from a version that is five years old because no upgrades happened in between out of “fear of the unknown outcome.”
With FileHold the maintenance efforts are is very low and to a high degree the process is automated. We have a built-in Health checker that is a part of the software and helps pinpoint parts of the system, typically 3rd party components, that are not operating correctly. Think “check engine light” that warns you and allows you to fix an issue early on rather than finding that out when the system fails completely.
Question: I assume both products address Microsoft centric customers, does FileHold offer features like integration with Office or Active Directory integration in the same way as SharePoint.
Russ: Yes, FileHold is very similar. The typical suite of Microsoft Office applications such as; Word, Excel and email are included with our Office integration client. With FileHold you can seamlessly work with Office file types, including dragging and dropping into FileHold just as you would with SharePoint.
FileHold user rights can be tightly controlled through our integration with Microsoft Active Directory to provide “single sign on” capabilities.
Question: Does FileHold have built in features such as document scanning or mark ups and annotation that might have to be added from 3rd party components in SharePoint?
Russ: Yes, those are standard features. We have partnered with a company that provides a very nice front end system that handles the document scanning element. It ships with FileHold at no extra expense. It works right out of the box. The same is true with document viewing and annotations. A web based and desktop viewer is included with every registered user license purchased. The viewer supports a variety of file formats and offers the option to add annotations to documents. FileHold comes with many value-added features that are part of the system you are already getting. SharePoint requires you to pay extra for many add on elements that complete a true DMS. With FileHold, most of your needs to make the system work in every instance are covered with our partnerships and out of the box features you get from day one.
Question: Do you have any examples of customer types that have considered both products and chosen FileHold?
Russ: Without naming names, a large medical equipment manufacturing organization was evaluating FileHold but getting pressure from their IT organization to implement SharePoint. After one and a half years they abandoned SharePoint and went back to FileHold because SharePoint wasn't meeting their needs properly and implementation was still incomplete. FileHold was implemented and put into production in a matter of days at a much lower cost.
Another example that comes to mind is a customer who is a second tier automotive parts manufacturer. They had SharePoint installed for a many years. The customer had 1.5 million documents in their system; invoices, PO's, etc. Their document system had become almost unusable – performance was very poor. They finally made a decision to move to FileHold. With FileHold, as the document volume increases, we easily scale and continue to work where a custom SharePoint installation may not. FileHold can scale much easier and cheaper than a typical SharePoint environment.
Question: You advertise that FileHold can be installed as a web part in SharePoint – if a customer wanted both how do you envision the system working?
Russ: A Web part is a SharePoint term like a plug-in or mobile App. FileHold has created a SharePoint web part that puts FileHold into the customer’s SharePoint based portal. At its core, SharePoint operates as an intranet tool. In a SharePoint screen the user can click on FileHold within SharePoint and it gives them FileHold functionality. It appears to be part of the SharePoint user interface. If a team is setup with a SharePoint environment, they can check docs out of FileHold and into SharePoint. FileHold can integrate with SharePoint search by supporting the OpenSearch specification. The user while at the SharePoint search bar and type the term being searched for thus initiating the configured FileHold search capabilities. Consider it this way... if SharePoint is the corporate portal, then FileHold can be your document storage mechanism. The team can be using the SharePoint portal and check documents out of FileHold to work on.
Question: Can you comment on the general direction FileHold is going relative to both on premise and cloud hosted solutions?
Russ: For a long time customer preference has been for an on premise hosted solution this is mainly due to the customer feeling more comfortable having total control of their documents on their own servers – there are still many customers who feel this way. Over the last 3 years the number of on premise installations is reducing and our customers are considering a Cloud installation. Functionality and support is exactly the same either way. FileHold has worked to make the cloud an easy implementation process. The FileHold architecture and design is web-based in nature so it can easily be installed on premise, in the public cloud or bare metal in a data center – it will look the same to the end users.
Some clients still want complete onsite control some want no control and others combinations of both. FileHold can handle any request because we are extremely flexible in the manner FileHold is deployed. FileHold technicians can help customers who have been using FileHold on premise and want to move to the cloud – it is an easy and seamlessly migration. FileHold works with these customers to make sure it happens easily and seamlessly.
FileHold is a rapid deployment tool that can be installed on site or in the cloud. It is feature rich, enterprise grade but still affordable. For small project a simple version of FileHold Express for 5 users would suffice. For multiple projects an Enterprise version can be installed that will support many projects. FileHold has Construction and Engineering companies who use FileHold in exactly this way. Separate cabinets are set up for each project and user rights are assigned so that project so that specific workers do not see information about other projects but managers have the ability to look at documents from multiple projects.
I also learned about a unique and interesting feature FileHold has called “Courier” a secure way of transmitting documents to anyone who has an email address. Project managers are constantly sending out bid documents, contracts and project review plans. Courier provides a complete audit trail of the receipt and review of those documents – this would be a very valuable, time and money saving tool for Project Managers to stay on top of their communications. To learn more about FileHold go to www.filehold.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org .