IBM Business Automation Workflow Review

It gives us the ability to create toolkits and use them across many different applications


What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is to underwrite workflow.

We are using the IBM Automation Platform for Digital Business to do paperless movement of underwriting files. So far, it has been good. We haven't done as many things as they are talking about with AI at the IBM conference, and I'm excited to try some of those things out.

We are using ODM, BPM, ECM, and BAW from the IBM portfolio.

How has it helped my organization?

We use automation to process documents, bringing the email directly into the process workflow for underwriting. We plan to expand our use of automation in our organization. We want to be able to read the forms for ACORD documents, or different other type of underwriting intake, automatically and not need to have any human processing interaction.

It helps in a lot of ways. We have moved it from just underwriting workflows to expanding it to document process automation. We have also used it as a service. The process engine itself is a service instead of just a UI, so there are a couple of other groups in our company who have been using it to facilitate their workflow process instead of just writing their own process solution or buying another one.

The solution has helped with decision-making in our organization. E.g., the processing department and some of our underwriting divisions are able to quickly create views, then their processors can very quickly decide what type of work we will do today. This can be controlled by management instead of by email.

What is most valuable?

It gives us the ability to create toolkits and use them across many different applications. It allows us to write things one time, instead of having to write a diary for every single different application. We can write at once and reuse it.

The workflow of BAW's automation is handled inside of BPM, so we can see what state it is at and how things are processing through.

What needs improvement?

I am not that excited about the move to using BPM on the web. I like the thick client, because it seems a bit faster. However, I haven't put a timer to it.

Previously, we wrote our own case management solutions, because they weren't there yet. Therefore, I am excited to see what we can do with the new case management tools inside of BAW. However, we haven't used them yet.

We would like to use machine learning to drive rules in ODM. The complexity of the rules that we can write for it is not quite what we want yet.

Technically, it does everything I want it to do. However, the development UI is sometimes a little slow.

The speed of response could use improvement.

For how long have I used the solution?

Our first PoC was four years ago.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is fine. I have not seen any examples of an unstable BAW.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is wonderful. We have had no trouble with that at all.

How are customer service and technical support?

We don't have any big issues with technical support. It is never fast enough nor quick enough. You never get to the smart guys fast enough, but that is just normal. I guess I'm satisfied with it.

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

Our previous solution, AquaLogic BPM, got to end of life and was bought by Oracle. Then, they changed a bunch of things in it, and we didn't like it

How was the initial setup?

The straightforwardness of the initial setup was the one of the reasons that we ended up purchasing IBM BPM.

What about the implementation team?

On our first proof of concept, we did use a consultant.

What was our ROI?

It has increased productivity on the development side. We have been able to move applications from thought to production quicker.

The solution saves time in development, as well as with time to deploy.

It has been able to reduce operating costs.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at Oracle, Appian, and Pega.

The reason that we went with IBM was because they offered more of a developer-centric model instead of a configuration-centric model.

What other advice do I have?

Don't choose a product until you've actually tried to build a simple workflow by yourself.

Our business users have fairly good usability. The Salient team wrote the SparkUI components, that we use, which allow us to really create a better user experience.

We found that a lot of our processes were very similar, then we were able to generalize them in a way that we didn't expect.

The integration process is fair and normal.

I did the tech track for the first session, then the business level track for the second. The thing that I learned in the tech track was they talked about these things called emitters: this idea of data admission. So, I'm excited to try to use the dashboards that they were talking about. 

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