IBM FileNet Review

Provides flexibility with ingesting content, storing content, metadata, and security.

What is most valuable?

FileNet gives a lot of flexibility to the different problems we run into within our environment. It gives us flexibilities for ingest in multiple different ways of different products in order to store the content in FileNet P8, as well as flexibility of where we want to store it; the flexibility of creating metadata associated with your documents. It helps in the metadata, as well the security aspects as well. The flexibility is really the biggest advantage, I feel.

How has it helped my organization?

It helps put structure around unstructured content. Having the structure there makes it easier for people to find their content, in many different ways, whether it's in a mortgage space or some sort of other space. It gives us the ability to unify all the content and makes it easier to find.

What needs improvement?

Over the years, it's actually improved quite a bit. I do like what they are putting into the product itself. Previously, your process engines and all these different components were outside of the actual FileNet Content Manager product and now more of that is coming internal to it; that makes it easier to deploy. I like the fact that it's easier to deploy; upgrades are much easier.

From an improvement perspective, one of the things we often have challenges with is, within the FileNet product, changing properties or just general configurations within the product to support a business. That's been one of our biggest challenges, to automate that and make that an automated deployment, rather than somebody having to go in all of the time and click on the button to make that configuration. More automation in that area would probably be one area I would like to see.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've worked with the FileNet product for over eight years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I feel it's very stable. I've never had any real challenges with it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It gives us flexibility to expand it and grow it and scale it really simply.

How are customer service and technical support?

I've always had a great experience with technical support. I've used them enough that I know most of the tech support people by name. The good feeling is, yes, they recognize you as well and they understand your experience and where you are coming from. They are easy to work with, to get on the phone. Having that phone conversation usually speeds up the resolution time quite a bit.

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

We were previously using an earlier version of FileNet.

We were looking for the next generation, where we were. We had used FileNet Image Services, and we still use FileNet Image Services, but we were trying to move on, grow and get into newer technologies. That's part of the decision to do that as our strategy to move forward.

How was the initial setup?

The product itself, I wouldn't say it was complex to set up. It was to integrate it within our environment’s current systems. Not every environment was ready to go or integrate into a FileNet product like that when we first implemented it. Eventually, we worked with IBM, we found the right solutions, had to make some product changes at the time and it worked out just fine.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We reviewed different vendors that we had worked with. Our organization is quite large, so we had multiple, different types of products where we are. Everything was analyzed, and we came to the decision to move on with FileNet. I think it has to do with the supportability. With our organization being large and IBM being large, they are able to support the types of volumes and types of challenges that we have. That played a lot into it, along with the fact that we do have some other IBM products already. That worked out well.

The most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor to work with is having that ability to contact them easily and communicate our challenges because you always have to have that open dialogue and collaborate and understand our challenges so they can suggest improvements for us. There might be something we have to change as a client of IBM but we have to have that collaboration in there so that we can get that done.

It was probably a year-long decision-making process, to fully go through it, because of the size of our environment. One of the key factors to actually move forward was the fact that IBM was able to change some of their connectors that work with our environment. If that wouldn't have happened, it might have been a different decision. Knowing that they were able to make some adjustments to the product; that helped.

In the content management space, we probably did not think too much about building a solution in house. That’s not something that we would typically do in our environment. If there is a product that does it, we tend to lean towards the product.

What other advice do I have?

You have to look at the requirements you have for your business. Then, based on those requirements, look at your options. Look at the different vendors and different products and make sure you are making the right decision for your requirements in your organization, because the skillset of your organization is key, too. You have to have the support within your organization to have support for the product, whether it's the FileNet solution or some other solution.

My rating reflects the fact that there is always room for improvement. The product is very good; its stable; its served us very well for 8+ years, but there is always room for improvement. The technologies and the industry changes; having that flexibility. As long as the product keeps improving, it will continue to be a great product. I’m not sure I would give anything a perfect rating because there is always room for improvement. As far as what might earn it a perfect rating, I would almost have to use Watson to think into the future to tell me what I don't already know.

We've been looking at ways to analyze content that’s at rest or been sitting on file shares, SharePoint sites and different areas within the bank that people might not be aware of or don't really know how to classify it, and using different IBM tools in order to do that.

As far as existing services that we are now able to provide better than before, in general, it’s the find-ability for our content; exposing more of our web services to different applications that we support with our environment; give them that flexibility so they can actually find the content.

Regarding usability, I hesitate to describe it as simplistic, but it is simplistic, yet it can be complex if you need it to be. You can keep it simple if you need to keep it simple but yet, if you need a little bit more complexity in your business requirements, it's there and it's available.

For internal customers, I think the experience has changed a lot. FileNet has made it much simpler for our clients to get to their content. They understand that it's one place, now they know how to find it and it's more repetitive, rather than trying to search this way here and another way somewhere else. It's improved from a time perspective for clients, with our basically internal associates, to find content. It’s a great time saver.

We are not considering using or employing IBM on cloud, hybrid or box solutions at this time.

We do not have any plans to include mobile at this time.

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