IBM FileNet Review

With Case Manager, nothing is left where it won't be found down the road. Usability could be better.

What is most valuable?

We use the Case Manager component of FileNet, itself. It helps with the business process, mainly; incoming documents; and then collaboration of the underwriters or adjusters. Besides that, we consolidate all documents within FileNet, so nothing is going to be left on a file share or somewhere that is not going to be found down the road. It's very important for the company to have something like that in place, to control every asset of the documents within the enterprise.

How has it helped my organization?

Documents used to be everywhere; anybody's desktop or shared file systems. Now, everything is in one location and people can share or view the same document at the same time, without waiting for each other to finish a folder, paper or document, to go ahead and work on them again. Basically, that's it. You can have many people using the same document at the same time, sharing it without any problem; annotating on them, if need be; having it all in one place; and being easily accessible.

What needs improvement?

I would rate it higher if they improved the usability, because as a product, it went through iterations and things like that. If it was supposed to be a perfect product, Content Navigator would have been developed earlier, so that people would have been using the system much, much better. We still have lots of customers that are used to using XT; migrating them from one environment to another always causes issues. Training them again on the new product for the same backend, for the same solution, that always creates some issues. It's the response from the customers, mainly; the end users. When there's a change, there is always resentment. You have to deal with all of those things.

It would have been better if things were what they are today five years ago or seven years ago. The product could have matured quicker.

Because it's a content management solution, they could start providing an analytics component on it. They already have the content, so they could start adding components. Usually, they rely on third-party or external products to do those things. If they start doing the analytics, that would make it easier for me, instead of implementing other products, but I guess that's the trend now. You have to go with that. It's something that we don't currently have that I would like.

The way I see it, IBM is going more towards cloud-based solutions; more towards Box being a content management solution for the cloud. Even with the delay, how that's going to fit with the Case Manager, I don't know. I don't know what the future is going to be for content management.

They could have done things differently or better. No product is perfect 100% of the time.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable. We have no major issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's an enterprise solution. Everybody, from coast to coast, is using it. It's not only departmental or one geographical area. It's enterprise, coast to coast, and it’s being used.

What other advice do I have?

My advice wouldn’t be positive because, as I see it, everything is going cloud-based. Everything is going in a direction where content management is becoming like the database products used to be 10 years ago; they are in the back room and nobody knows about them anymore. They do their job, day in and day out, but they are in the dark now. That's the trend I'm seeing with the content management. They're going to go in the back room and nobody's going to be dealing with them. They will just sit there and do their job; collect the content and then do nothing else. That's where it's going.

Just because it's not sexy doesn't mean it's not good. Everything runs on the databases but they just sit there; nobody cares about them anymore. The same thing goes for content management. That's my impression. That's my gut feeling about what's going to happen.

We're looking into the IBM Box solution, for cloud collaboration with external vendors, external users and external suppliers. That would make it easier for them to come in, send documents or upload documents, without having to go through emails, which is currently the case. It makes the work process easier, document management easier.

As far as new analytics or content management services that we are now able to provide our organization, we are doing some proof of concepts but nothing in production yet; mainly content analytics, not streams or anything that's coming in from other sources. We're doing analytics on the content that we already have. We're looking into the sentiment part of the documents that are coming in, to see if it’s something people are going to be using, or to escalate it to be looked into right away, or it's something that anyone can view anytime they want; there's no urgency on it.

Regarding existing services that we're able to provide better than before, it's easier to respond to documents that are coming in or are requested; coming in from brokers, for example. It's easier to work on them. It's faster to work on them. Turnaround time used to be two or three days; now, it's minutes or less than an hour.

Mobile is probably going to be part of the Box solution coming in but nothing has been decided yet.

As far as usability, it's user-friendly. Now that we're using Content Navigator, it's easier to use and easier to present it to the users. Training-wise, it's much easier because you teach them on one application so everybody knows how to use the next application that's going to come on as a solution. That's a plus.

The most important criteria for me in selecting a vendor to work with is how accessible they are; how support is available, especially IT or technical support; and if we're doing development, how fast they're going to respond for problems that we encounter. Those are the things that are important.

Since we implemented FileNet, the users are happy with the experience. The users are using it on a daily basis, especially when they don't deal with paper. Whenever they need, it’s there and they don't have to worry about paper. It helps them in their daily work and job.

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