IBM BPM Review

Provides agility in modifying processes, but it's still challenging for non-tech users

What is our primary use case?

Our customers use it as a workflow management platform for processes. We have a wide range of customers in terms of the types of processes. We've worked with a couple of the very large accounting firms on, for example, tax calculations for commercial clients. Think of it as TurboTax, but for commercial customers.

We also have onboarding use cases - every BPM product out there just supports onboarding. We have several of those types of use cases as well.

How has it helped my organization?

The vision of what BPM can bring to our clients to be able to manage workflow quickly, efficiently, and to get visibility, that's what the IBM suite provides us.

Agility is the key. It gives our customers a faster way to be able to implement processes, get ownership of task, visibility into a process. The ability to modify that process, optimize that process over time, is probably the biggest benefit that they get from the software.

What is most valuable?

It gives us, as a partner, a lot of options for building on additional capabilities that we see customers asking for time and time again. It's a very open model for adding in toolkits or functionality on top of the overall BPM platform.

What needs improvement?

BPM has always had this challenge: It had this promise to enable non-technical users, business people. That is an area where we, as a business partner, and other business partners, continue to build new tools that sit on top of BPM, to push that level of engagement further and further out to the business side. That's an area that still needs to be improved.

Also, we would like to see integration with artificial intelligence, machine learning-type of technical capabilities. Right now, there are a lot Watson libraries out there. Building those integrations more, out-of-the-box, from IBM would be a good direction.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is a consistently stable product. IBM BPM has come a long way from its original Lombardi days, to coming into IBM and the rewriting of the overall framework, to the way the UIs work. Where it is today, it's quite an enterprise-level product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We use it across the board for what IBM labels smaller clients, commercial clients, all the way to enterprise clients. It's like any software package. Scalability is built into it, but it doesn't always come automatically. There is a lot of expertise that we use in performance-tuning it. There are times when, if you have a tremendous number of API calls, there's some tweaking that should happen to optimize that. But it's all configurable. There are things that you can tune to make it enterprise-capable, based on your use case.

How is customer service and technical support?

Tech support is an area that could be improved. What we've seen over the years is that they had better support in the past than they do now. They're a little slower to respond; that could be based on the resources that are available to IBM.

How was the initial setup?

Setup is a little more complex. But with the support of platforms on cloud, we love that, our customers love it. This becomes so much easier. We provision an environment and now we start building business processes or the application immediately. We don't worry about configuration.

Installation for on-prem used to be a one-time activity for engagement. And we may not even mentor a customer on that, because all they really care about is building processes. With the cloud, it becomes just a push of a button to provision it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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