IBM BPM Review

Offers lots of space, quite stable, and perfect for large enterprises


What is most valuable?

 It is perferct if you have to develop complex apps without much coding (only java script). It is also good if you don't have much IT resurces in your company and woudl like to involve business analysts in process of developing apps. My opinion is that no it stuff can do about 50% of all developers work.

What needs improvement?

If you have a company that doesn't like to have everything ready out of the box and likes the capability of customizing a solution, you'll probably have a problem with this solution. You will need to do customizations on process portal, on your BPM applications ...

If you want to use IBM BPM, you will have to invest a lot of money for licenses and you need to learn that there are limitations in developing applications. You cannot create anything you want. You need to follow all the rules that IBM BPM requires.

For example: you cannot implement modern programming techniques (OOP), microservise architecture. You have services, you have a graphical tool for creating solutions, however, you cannot use this part of the code in other apps freely if you don't use toolkits and it can be sometimes very tricky. 

There are some things that the solution needs to improve upon from a developer's perspective. Software developers that use the eclipse process designer in older versions of BPM have had issues. The eclipse process designer and web process designer are quite different. With a web process designer, they cannot use IntelliSense during the coding in JavaScript. They cannot use some functionalities that weere in previous versions.

From the client's perspective, there are problems with licensing. It is complex especially when you need to do upgrade from old to new version. You will  need to use VPC instead of PVU per core and it is confusing. 

In case we are talking about cloud pack for automation it is good idea and it shoud be the future of automation of business processes but it is not ready yet. There are some functionalities that are missing ( for exampe sql services).I epxect that it will be solved soon.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for more than ten years. I started with the very old versions, with BPEL processes and then swich to BPMN.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is extremely stable. IBM is a reliable product. There aren't issues with bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution can scale well. It's already quite sizeable and it's designed for larger organizations.

How are customer service and technical support?

We actually give technical support to our clients directly.

I do have some technical support experience with some of IBM's technical support team, especially in relation to the setup, installation, and upgrade. I needed their help during installation and the response was okay. I'd say that I am satisfied with the level of support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I am using also Camunda. It is an open-source BPM and I can make a parallel between these two tools. Therefore, if you want to create new apps and you have experiance software developers and have resources, and you don't wish to pay licences then it will be better for you to create a business process apps using open-source.  If you woudl like to create your services and your UI in some external tools, like Java. .NET, Angular, .. it is possible in camunda and it is not easy to achive in IBM BPM. On other hand if you don't have IT resources and you woud like to create apps faster then use IBM BPM.

How was the initial setup?

The solution is complex to set up. However, you expect this going in. It is a huge application. It is running on a WebSphere Application Server. The WebSphere Application Server is an application server, and therefore, you need to set up this application server first and then to set up the BPM solution. After that, you need to create profiles and so on. There are multiple and sizable parts to the implementation that have some very problematic steps. On top of that, if some error is happening with these steps, we will have a problem. 

On the other hand, you really have a huge and powerful tool at the end. Therefore, you cannot expect the tool will have a simple setup or simple installation and to have all this functionality that you get with IBM BPM, especially with IBM Business Automation Workflow that you ultimately have.

Basically, for first installation and customization of one small dev, test and prod environment  you will not need more than a week.

If you have old version of BPM and olready finished some appps, and you need to upgrade it, then it is a bit more complex, due to the fact that you will probably have problems with the application if these applications are developed in an older version of BPM. Instead of only upgrading software, you will need to convert the application and sometimes it could need some time.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

IBM BPM is not for every company. This is a solution is for a company that has at least 500 people and more employees. I don't expect a company with only 100 people to invest a half-million dollars into the licensing and the same in the services. A company like that should look into other open-source options.

What other advice do I have?

We're just customers. We are not partners. We don't have any business relationship with IBM.

I started with the very old versions, with only BPEL processes. It was also BPM, however, I was using BPEL processes

Right now, for the latest client, we are using the business automation workflow 19.0.0.3.

Our clients are mostly in the banking industry, and therefore we don't really deal with the cloud versions.

IBM is preparing some new tools specific only for the banking industry and for the cloud. I don't much about it but I'm sure that it will be presented soon.

Basically, if you company is large, has problem with IT resources, need to rapidly change business processes and to fast create new apps IBM BPM will do your job.

I'd rate the solution eight out of ten. They can still improve their software. They have some parts missing and I'm expecting that these parts will be upgraded in the future. It is not a full 10 now, as there are somethings that they need to improve on.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Integrator
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