IBM ECM Review

We are able to expand, add functionality and integrate with other IBM applications.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is its flexibility: the ability to expand and scale the application and to integrate it with current applications that we have for business solutions. We are able to expand, add functionality and integrate with other IBM applications and their flexibility to resolve business solutions.

How has it helped my organization?

It's given us compliance. It's given us the ability to go to cloud or to stay on-prem. It's at the forefront of technology. It always has new products that come out that give us new functionality, which give us new business capabilities. It's reliable. Sometimes you deal with smaller companies and they don't have the support, but IBM has fantastic support. They've supported us over the years. We use AVP and they've been fantastic. It's a reliable solution.

What needs improvement?

With Datacap, the development piece should definitely be improved; the usability. It's a little hard to use. To do a Datacap application, you have to go to several different places in the application to get it to do what you want it to do, as opposed to linking those things into one UI. There are Rulerunner server configurations. There are Taskmaster server configurations. There are application configurations. There is integration. For each of those things, you have to go to different places. It should be better integrated. For instance, there’s a generic flavor that you can just start with and then customize it. Even the generic flavor is difficult to customize off the shelf.

It's a little confusing when you start to add in different objects into the application, as to which object to use or what are the best objects to use. Sometimes there are too many options. That's what would be better. I heard it's better with version 9. I haven't played with 9 too much, but I heard it's better with 9.

With the cloud solution, probably our biggest issue would be the customization that we would need to go along with the cloud solution. I haven't really gotten into that yet because I haven't had approval for cloud, for Datacap. I recently attended a conference to look at using Datacap in the cloud. We haven't tried it yet. Right now, we are just evaluating whether or not we want to go into the cloud for Datacap.

With FileNet, I think there is room for improvement with the ability to use it. It gets complex on how to integrate some of the solutions into what we currently have. At the end of the day, it’s just IT.

With Datacap, what would earn it a perfect rating is definitely the ability to create applications. Creating applications in Datacap is kind of cludgy. If they had a better way of doing that, I think I would probably move it more towards a perfect rating.

We couldn't run the silent install scripts.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is great. It's actually gotten a lot better over the years, to be honest. We do have issues where, it's not the fault of IBM, but we integrate and customize things to work with the IBM products, which is sometimes hard to manage. Actually a big concern about going to the cloud is, how do we move those custom apps or custom batch scripts and things like that into the cloud as well? How do they integrate into the cloud? It's been a topic of discussion for us.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability has always been fine. That's something that's planned upfront. We've never had an issue with scalability. With cloud, it's going to be easier, of course. When you have it on-prem, and you're using physical or virtual servers, it's more of a plan-ahead thing. With cloud, it's expand as you go, which is nice. Scaling has never been an issue as long as you have good planning upfront.

How is customer service and technical support?

We usually go through our representatives and they, in turn, will use tier 2 and tier 3 technical support to help us. We get excellent service from them.

Which solutions did we use previously?

FileNet was already onboard when I started at this company. I was part of the decision process for Datacap only. We were not using something else. We were using Capture and we had to create a tool. We had to write our own application around Capture before it became Datacap. When we were scanning documents, we were creating batches and indexes based upon human input, as opposed to IC or OCR, which Datacap gives you. I was part of that decision.

How was the initial setup?

I was involved in the initial setup of Datacap, but not with ICN. It was straightforward, even though the installs didn't install the way the instructions said to install them. We were able to work around it. We just couldn't install it silently. We had to install it manually, but we have 57 servers for the total solution, so it took us a little bit more time than we cared to use to install it. I'm not sure if that's fixed with the new version.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We considered another vendor’s solution, but I forget the other vendor's name.

We chose Datacap because it integrated with our current IBM system. We can go from Datacap right into the content engine. Our data has connectors into the content engine or to image services. At the time, it just seemed to make sense, to use something that can easily integrate with what we currently had.

I think the decision-making process took around three months. I wasn't involved with the other client. I was mostly involved with just the Datacap IBM piece of it; just only as a consultant. It took about three months to make a decision. I think the process took the normal length of time; it didn't go fast and it didn't go slow in my opinion.
We already had an in-house solution; what we wanted to get away with is not having our own in-house solution.

The most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor to work with are definitely stability, the ability to integrate, scalability, security, and ease of deployment. How easy is it to integrate with what we currently have?

What other advice do I have?

Do the same route that you normally do. Do the evaluation and what works best for you. I don't really have any specific recommendations, such as saying, "Oh, it's better if you go this way or that way." Not all things are for all people.

You have to be very careful about what you choose because that's what you're going to have to live with. You want to make sure that it's configurable to what you currently have. Unless you're starting from scratch – which hardly anyone does these days – it has to integrate with what you currently have.

I haven't used other products because we chose these, but for us, the support and IBM’s ability to move the product forward has been great in my opinion. If someone were to ask me, "Can I recommend another product?", I probably couldn't, for what we use it for.

We are considering employing IBM on cloud, hybrid or Box solutions to reduce cost and to add functionality. Also, we are currently looking to expand our data centers and, as opposed to expanding physical data centers, going to cloud will give us the same ability to expand data across multiple data centers, as well as applications.

As far as new analytics or content management services that we're now able to provide for your organization, what we are implementing through Datacap is the ability to read script and signatures, to work with Docusign. We have it implemented, but not the new features of 9.0. We're also looking at implementing Box along with that.

We are doing a lot with Datacap. We are looking at unstructured data, not just scanned data - our unstructured data that comes through digital content, such as email - as well as scanning in previous documents, older documents, like contracts, that are usually written in paper. We're going to start incorporating those into Datacap, so that we can scrub them for data, do analytics on it. Datacap, for us, is becoming more of an integrated solution, not only just analytics, but also capturing and storing documents for the long term.

Regarding existing services that we're now able to provide better than before, we are just now bringing on Content Navigator. Content Navigator is going to be the forefront of pretty much everything. We use image services. We use PA. We use Datacap. Content Navigator is going to be at the forefront of that. For our image services solution, we're looking to go to the cloud. ICN will be on-prem, but it will be used for everything in the book; the cloud and what's on-prem.

We do not have any plans to include mobile, which is not to say that my clients don't. Mobile is not new to us. It's just that before, as an IBM solution, we haven't had the business push us to use mobile.

As far as how the experiences of your internal and or external customers have changed since implementing Datacap, I think it's really sparked their interest in learning, in knowing that there's more functionality out there that could be used. There’s more functionality that could be used with the application and looking at those functions. What we started to do is create services around those functions. Our clients have been very eager to start using those services. It has added something new, something it didn't have before.

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