IBM ECM Review

It being built on an IBM WebSphere platform allows us to scale it. Requires a lot of work from the infrastructure and administration standpoint.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are the enterprise scaling capabilities. It's built on an IBM WebSphere platform and this allows us to scale it. We recently did a banker acquisition, and were able to easily scale the solution. It also performs records management, which some of the other lower-cost ECM solutions don't do. So, it does come with a cost, but those are still the positives of it.

How has it helped my organization?

It can store a large amount of content and make it accessible both through APIs and the out-of-box UI. This allows us to segregate content into different repositories, but then provide enterprise access restrictions based on line of business, or roles, or other criteria. This is probably the biggest benefit.

What needs improvement?

I would like administration to be easier and the product simplified. More importantly, it is sometimes overly complex, and requires a lot of work from the infrastructure and administration standpoint; a lot of hands-on patches. It can be time-consuming. So, simplification of patching and maintenance would be an improvement.

For how long have I used the solution?

Approximately 12 years, with version upgrades

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is good. Sometimes it's a little difficult to achieve; it's a complex solution. Where it's at now, the product wasn't built entirely from scratch. So, there are a lot of legacy components that have been somewhat modernized. But the overall product is still there and it adds a lot of complexity that causes issues at times.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is very scalable. We have actually taken advantage of that as a result of an acquisition where we went from about two million customers to three million customers. We then acquired additional thousands of employees who also needed access to the repository, so we were able to scale that and test it within a matter of months.

How is customer service and technical support?

The initial time to answer is quick. But sometimes it can be challenging, even though we've already done some leg work on the issue. Once we provide that information, we sometimes get to the actual root cause and resolution. More often than that, we end up requiring some escalation to get the item resolved. Sometimes, it's the complexity of our own environment. Only sometimes is it challenging, requiring escalation through our channels.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We were using a competing product previously, when we received an unexpectedly massive bill. Within a couple of weeks, we switched vendors to an IBM ECM platform and we've been on it for about 12 years now.

How was the initial setup?

I'm more of a development type, but I was involved with some of the infrastructure sizing and requirements definition. I also worked with the infrastructure team once they validated the platform and transferred of applications onto it.

The setup was complex. We did have IBM involved via our solution partners. They were actually IBM consultants at that time. We've had the solution maybe 12 years now, through various versions. Still, they were with us in that initial setup. We were coming from a competing product rather quickly, so they helped us build that platform. But we've gone through several versions and the platform is changed significantly between them.

What about the implementation team?

Initial implementation was with in-house team and IBM Global Services.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated the platform that we were on. We were on a product that we had only owned for maybe two years. So, we had already done the evaluations and at that point, it was a quick move to IBM, which was one of the final two that we were considering.

I think that partnership is primary when selecting a vendor, in general, and working with us on where we're going. Additionally, having a product strategy that continues to evolve in licensing. As a bank, reducing expenses is a constant every year. Controlling expenses and helping us with controlling licensing and flexible licensing models is what I look for.

What other advice do I have?

Now, particularly, there are some somewhat lower-cost solutions. But they are also solutions that are more modern and built on more modern technologies, so I would probably look at those first; they are lower cost. Also, look at the requirements. If you don't necessarily need records management capabilities, then there are some other solutions that we continue to evaluate ourselves. We are looking constantly at licensing costs when it comes to renewing with IBM.

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