IBM FileNet Review

Does not require a lot of custom coding.


What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature of FileNet is its out-of-the-box functionality; not a lot of custom coding that has to happen for the solution to work.

How has it helped my organization?

We have access to all the documents that we need. We have all kinds of documents. We have access to all of those documents from anywhere within the organization. With Navigator, it is essentially browser-based access.

What needs improvement?

They are already working on the areas with room improvement. It's being accomplished now. There's FileNet Enterprise Manager, affectionately known as FEM, which has functionality that is not completely in ACE yet. I know they're working on getting all of the functionality from that tool into the ACE tool. There are certain functions that we still go back into FEM to accomplish. They've been working on it. Each one of the releases, they include more of the functionality. That's the roadmap: to get rid of the FEM and have all the functionality in ACE.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stable. We have had no outages. We've had planned outages, as far as upgrading. That's another benefit; we've found upgrades to be quite simple, quite easy. Even now, with the latest versions, we can do that without taking the system completely down. That's partly because of WebSphere, which allows us to upgrade on the fly. That is important to us.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There are no scalability limits. The scalability is everything that we've needed.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have used technical support. During the initial launch, there were a few issues, I guess, with the multi-value fields, but they were resolved fairly quickly.

Technical support was not excellent, but very good.

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

We were previously using other ECM systems in the corporation. There still are, but there's a standardization going on towards the FileNet, the P8.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup is somewhat complex, especially if you've had no exposure to it previously, but it wasn't a terrible task. It was doable.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There was Documentum, and we still have a limited Documentum installation. There really weren't many others in the running.

One of the reasons we eventually chose the IBM solution was the peer reviews, as well as from Gartner, industry reviews; peer reviews from other, not necessarily banking customers, but other customers in our area. They have FileNet P8 installations and have had good experience with that.

We encountered these reviews by word-of-mouth, associations, networking with these other companies; that proved very beneficial to us. A good recommendation from somebody that's already using the product is worth a lot.

The decision-making process lasted a number of months, not years. One of the factors that expedited that process were the good reviews or good experiences by others that proved to be helpful to us.

In general, the most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor to work with are reliability and the customer service being able to respond to our requests. That's important. Then, we don't like to be on the leading edge of technology, but certainly have the capability to stay current with changes, the technology. We've seen that with the HTML5 viewer that was incorporated into Navigator. We went to that immediately, as soon as it was available.

What other advice do I have?

Try it out. Test it out. Put it on the top of your list. It should be at the top of your consideration list.

The ease-of-use is important, and for us, we didn't have to customize a whole lot, or anything, really. We just had to configure, and that's always real important.
It is very intuitive. I don't find any of it hard to use. Our experience in rolling it out to our customers is that it's very intuitive. They didn't have a hard time finding what they needed to do their job, and finding it much quicker than previously, too.

Employing IBM on cloud is tough for us because of all of the security and regulatory requirements around the banking or financial industry. We're looking at it but we're not making the jump. We’re looking at it for various reasons. Part of it is not having to deal with the on-premise headaches, I'll call them.

We haven't deployed much of the analytics, but it does open the door for us to be able to provide new analytics services for my organization.

There are existing services we're able to provide better now than we were before, especially in the display of the documents. We're using the virtual viewer in Navigator, which was a big plus for us. No longer do we have to worry about which Java version is deployed here and there, and throughout the West. The HTML5 viewer has been a plus for us.

As far as how the experiences of our internal and/or external customers changed since implementing FileNet, there was somewhat of a learning curve from the old way that they displayed or got at their information, got at the documents, to the new way, but it was a short curve. It was pretty intuitive. Doing the search and then displaying the document is pretty simple.

At a recent conference, I sat through a session with mobile. We don't have the right use case yet, but there's interest in that.

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