IBM ECM Review
We can give the business lines access to a single place that stores all of our documents

Valuable Features

Case Manager’s most valuable feature is its ability to store all of our documents in a single place that we can give the business lines access to. By business lines, I mean accounting, credit, finance, risks, sales; all of our partners and customers are working together. For example, for the legal department, we generate all the contracts. We need a place to store those, and also give people the ability to go back and search prior versions and legacy contracts, things like that. We're also looking at using the workflow tool. It's a new implementation that we're working on. We're really excited about the workflow capabilities that are built into it.

We're using this in conjunction with Emptoris Contract Manager; the authoring and management, full lifecycle, of a contract as well as the company repository that we can give the business lines access to.

We're looking at including mobile because we've got sales people and in, maybe, 130 countries. You’d want to give them the tools so that they can effectively do their job.

So far, usability has been pretty straightforward; it's good.

Improvements to My Organization

We're in the proof of concept stage right now. We haven't rolled it out yet. I think it's premature to make any remarks about organizational improvements.

Room for Improvement

I would probably like simpler admin screens, a simpler way to administer the product. ACCE and some of the other UI is not very intuitive for new users. If you think of the TurboTax workflow, something simpler like that would be awesome.

Overall, the Admin screens for Case Manager (accessed via the ACCE and other interfaces) are not intuitive for a novice user. I am fairly technical and catch on quickly, however the ACCE (and other) interfaces leave me wondering where to start, and what to do next, etc.

“Case Manager” is defined as the following:

  • FileNet P8
  • WebSphere for Content Platform Engine (CPE), ICN, ICF, and ICM operations
  • CPE V5.2x
  • ICF
  • ICM
  • ICN
  • CSS
  • FileNet Integration for MS Office (FIMO)
  • Emptoris-FileNet Connector

Our setup is as follows: When a contract is executed in Emptoris, the connector pushes a copy over to Case Manager. We are also using the bulk upload facility in Emptoris, which also pushes a copy over to Case Manager.

My job is to get Case Manager (those items listed above) and Emptoris setup – adding contract classes, mapping metadata (properties), setting up security, etc. I do not setup the servers, network, firewalls, or other infrastructure. That is handled by our IT staff.

We also want to setup and use the workflow capabilities.

What I would like to see with any technology is a wrapper (or wizard) that asks: “What do you want to do?” and has several button options to choose from, like:

  • Setup or Modify a workflow
  • Add or Modify a user
  • Add or Modify a contract class
  • etc.

When you make a selection, it then walks you through all the programs, and based on what you select, presents the appropriate questions you can answer yes/no, choose from dropdown, select ratio button, etc. Then, the system can provision all of the necessary stuff in the background.

This should apply to all areas – Emptoris-Filenet Connector, Case Manager, Workflows, ACCE, etc.

Use of Solution

I have been using it for several months.

Stability Issues

So far, it's been very robust. We really haven't had any issues with it. It runs in a hardened data center.

Scalability Issues

There shouldn't be any scalability issues, based on the databases it sits upon.

Customer Service and Technical Support

I have used technical support a little bit. It's been going well.

Previous Solutions

We’re currently using SharePoint and direction came down from above that we needed to go to a new system and so they looked around. This is the one they chose, probably because of the feature functionality.

Comparing Case Manager to SharePoint is an apples-to-oranges comparison. We used some of the built-in features in SharePoint to generate contracts but it's not a contract management system like Emptoris is.

I wasn't part of the discussion to decide to go with the IBM solution. I was hired to run this for the business after they made the decision. I don't believe they considered building a solution in-house.

I'm in the legal department. We've got 120 attorneys and they're generating contracts in 130 countries. Just to get your arms around the management of all that is a pretty significant task. We started with Emptoris and then Case Manager kind of came along with it. Now we're looking at Case Manager and all the ways we can use that.

Initial Setup

Initial setup is both straightforward and complex. If you're just thinking about Case Manager, it's probably not too complex. When you add Emptoris to it, it becomes very complex. There are a lot of moving parts. There's a lot of software. There are a lot of servers, ports, firewalls. It's a pretty extensive product. It just takes some time.

Other Solutions Considered

We're also looking at Box Solutions, for collaboration with external partners.
When selecting a vendor to work with, I look for a company that is reliable, responsive and easy to work with.

Other Advice

Look at all the different integrations and all the different products that it talks to. Look for a holistic solution, when you're integrating with Box and other front ends and back ends and so on. It's a lot easier to get something from one vendor than to try to cobble together different systems.

If this project goes successfully and everybody's happy, I would give this product a perfect rating.

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

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