UPDATED 11:45 EST / AUGUST 23 2017


M-Files acquires Apprento to handle natural-language queries of enterprise content

Document management firm M-Files Corp. Tuesday said it has acquired Apprento Inc., a New Brunswick-based developer of a natural language query engine that works on unstructured text, for an undisclosed amount.

Apprento said its analytical engine understands both the semantics and the concepts within content and communication streams, enabling it to filter through large volumes of data to deliver intelligent summaries in context. It also monitors interactions among contacts and files to enable organizations to find documents based on similarity as well as to know when documents have been shared outside the company. M-Files said it plans to integrate the Apprento technology directly into its information management platform.

Finland-based M-Files said it takes a different approach to enterprise content management by indexing systems and data across an organization without impacting existing systems or requiring data migration. It uses an intelligent metadata layer that describes information in various repositories such as Microsoft SharePoint, email stores and shared folders. The company said its approach is repository-neutral, meaning that data can be accessed anywhere and abstracted to a level where natural language processing can be applied.

“Information can be heavily siloed,” said Greg Milliken, M-Files’ senior vice president of marketing. “The emphasis [in information management]  is moving away from simply optimizing a use case to integrating across different systems in the organization.”

The integration of Apprento’s technology will bring an additional level of understanding to document management, according to Milliken. “We’re not only talking about auto classification, but literally interpreting the natural language within the document,” he said.“That gives you all kinds of insight into how that information could be prioritized, processed or elevated in search results.”

Document management is a mature market that has been around for decades, but the advent of big data and unstructured text management has given it new life. So have regulatory requirements, such as the looming General Data Protection Regulation in Europe, which has organizations scrambling to better understand the text-based information they already have.

M-Files recently forged a partnership with ABBYY Software Ltd. incorporate that company’s intelligent capture, optical character recognition and natural language processing technology into its product. Founded in 2001, M-Files has raised over $44 million in venture capital.

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