IBM BPM Review

A business process management solution with a lot of capabilities and potential

What is our primary use case?

I'm a consultant. We are working for a consulting company, and we initiate solutions in IBM BPM at the moment, mostly for banks.

What is most valuable?

Overall, I'm satisfied with the product. It has a lot of capabilities and potential. 

What needs improvement?

This is technology, and there's always room for improvement. It would be better to have a single solution. Trying to have an overview in terms of this solution brings together the concepts of BPM processes, customer journeys, and an automation part for KPIs. All of this working together and coming up with a single solution with privacy is more commercial than anything else.

Because when you try and initiate things, we see that it's two different applications. But there's an effort to combine all of these applications and have an overview of internal processes. I believe they are making investments in this part, but they are probably delayed a bit.

Adding a control app or something easier in terms of maintaining the versioning will help. Make it easier to manage the patches so you can just do it and move on to the next one. Every time we tried to meet to do some upgrade of a version of the solution, it was a lot of work. Even minor upgrades always required a significant amount of work in intensities and trials.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

From our side and our core customers, we didn't get any complaints.

How are customer service and technical support?

Depending on the geographical area you're in, depending on the relevance of your customer, and if it's a big customer, the support goes very well. We don't have many complaints. If it's a smaller client in a smaller country, sometimes the support is delayed a bit, and we get some pushing from their side to make sure that we have a proper response.

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

We also have projects in our systems and projects with Comunda, and we are doing some parallelly. We also have some experience in using the BPMO methods and Software AG. It's not great, but for small things, it does the trick in terms of the licenses model. Sometimes depending on the situation, it becomes much more interesting for some of our clients.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is kind of a pain when compared with other solutions like Comunda, which is more or less like plug-and-play and quite easy. The solution is quite quick in terms of IBM, and it's a bit more complex. Especially if you're talking about having a more enterprise environment, it becomes a bit complex. You have to configure a lot of additional components from that infrastructure to make sure it's running okay, and sometimes it becomes a bit complex.

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

It's expensive. All software is always extremely high. The manufacturing cost that we have compared to the selling cost, it's not like you're building a house or building a car. But putting that aside, considering that it's expensive, it's a lot of money. If you compare it with some of the other alternatives in the market, it's a similar price. For instance, if you compare it with Pegasystems, it's a similar price.

If you're talking about smaller companies or smaller clients, probably they're going for something more simple like Comunda or something else because it's much cheaper. Even the support becomes much cheaper than getting a full IBM BPM solution. 

If you're a very big company or a bank or don't want any headaches, you would probably prefer IBM. You know the old saying that no one has ever been fired for buying IBM. It's one of those things, and that rule still applies. 

What other advice do I have?

I would advise potential users to get proper training and figure out the most suitable version that they need. Because in terms of internal versions and support, they need to be careful. Like all software, the latest versions always include some bugs. Older versions lack some support. You need to be careful about that. 

Have a proper solution architect that knows enough about the BPM system's ins and outs to make sure that you have proper internal support in terms of projects. Apart from that, try to build a close relationship with the vendor.

People who come from different technology backgrounds have some difficulty getting used to working with IBM products. If you compare it with other products, it's probably not as easygoing or as simple to implement as the rest. But after you get used to it, it works.

On a scale from one to ten, I would give IBM BPM an eight.

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
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