First steps to staging your Workflow

Workflow is about staging and controlling work.  A company does not have to be large to use workflow to make the most of it.  In fact every company can benefit from using effective workflow.

Do you ever ask yourself these question:

Sample of Workflow States in M-Files

Sample of Workflow States in M-Files

Which documents is due for review?

Where is the list of customers to follow up today?

Are these all the items that I need to action today?

What is the next action to take with this item?

M-Files (Easy Content Management Solution) provides many tools and techniques to drive workflow based on documents and the information associated with it (metadata).  The workflow can be simple, or very complex. In future posts I will focus on some of the practical aspects of it.

First step to staging your workflow:

Today I’d like to take a look at where it all begins. The first step.  If every document class in your M-Files vault is not assigned to a workflow, then you need to continue reading.

The question we are going to ask is: will the business ever need to archive this document? Every item in the vault, especially documents have a life cycle. Sometimes policy, and sometimes statutory requirements define how long it should be kept.

If you file a document without assigning it to a workflow, you will have to manually go through filters to find the documents to be archived.  If every document is a assigned at least one workflow then you will be able to use workflow to automatically age, archive and delete documents later.

The principle is: ensure that all document classes are assigned to a workflow.  You do not have to define all the rules from the start. That can be done later.  Just set-up a simple one step workflow called archive as a minimum. From there you can define actions that can kick start the life cycle of the document automatically.

How to set-up workflow in M-Files:

Workflow rules are all configured in the administration module:

  • Step 1.  Create the workflow
  • Step 2.  Create the first state
  • Step 3.  In the properties of each document class, set the default workflow for each class.


If you have documents that is already in the vault without a workflow one will have to manually assign the documents to the newly created workflow else the automatic rules will not apply

You do not have to set all the archiving rules immediately this can be done later, and the rules will be applied by the system in the background.  More about that next time.

Expert Tips brought to you by le Roux Cilliers, Solutions Director of Laminin Solutions UK

lc-blog-profile (ID 33557)I’ve had the privilege to work in large global companies across the world and run a local small business. I’ve experienced the complexity of big business and the lack of resources and money of small business. I’ve been frustrated by the bureaucracy of large corporations to implement change and fascinated by the agility in a SMB. These experiences have tuned my understanding of information management across businesses of a variety of sizes and industries.

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