IBM FileNet Review

People can find documentation in a secure location and use it for archiving. I would like to see pricing improved.


What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature of FileNet is that it's a secure location for us to store our documentation, where we can put some rigor around it so people can find it and use it for an archiving type system.

How has it helped my organization?

Before, we would have things on server stores, hard drives, SharePoint. It allows us to have a central place that everyone knows that it's the official copy of something that they can go and access. FileNet has given both internal and external customers a way to access central data that they might not have had access to before. It allows access out in the field to documents that, before, they would have to get a paper copy of, sometimes.

That makes us more efficient, and saves us time and space.

What needs improvement?

We have Content Navigator and it seems like we still need to do a level of our own coding for plug-ins and so on. I'd like to see something a little bit more out of box, where there are plug-ins that we can get to do some of what we need to do, instead of having to build it ourselves, to make it simpler. Faster time to market is important and we're not really there.

I still think it's kind of expensive. I didn't notice that the cloud offerings were going to be any cheaper. Expense is probably another area with room for improvement.

Also, when I attend conferences, activities are shown that sound very easy. "Oh, look at this bright, shiny thing." But then, when you really start digging, it takes a lot more work to implement the bright, shiny thing. It's a nicer on a PowerPoint.

We have a lot of content stored on server shared drives, and because there is often no naming or filing standards, or metadata, users find it difficult to locate documents. Also, users tend not to go back and delete items per our records retention policy (which can be decades depending on the document), and content can continue to clog up servers. It is helpful to setup automation of records retention.

Users also keep documents on their computer drives making it difficult to share. We also have a lot of legacy documentation in file drawers that could be digital for easier sharing.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have an enterprise license. We've been able to scale it up to large groups, as well as very small independent areas.

How are customer service and technical support?

I don't actually put in tickets; my dev team does. Sometimes they've been a little frustrated with response times, especially for production systems. It’s hit and miss.

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

I was consulted during the decision process as well to invest in FileNet.

We were starting to acquire a lot of little, home-built document management systems. It didn't make sense to build something when we could buy a package that already had a lot of capabilities. We had already built, I think, three or four little scanning applications. It just didn't make sense to keep building. We had a hodge podge of stuff.

How was the initial setup?

We acquired FileNet back when it was owned by FileNet, and it was much more complex then. You had to hire them to come in and do all the installation. Now, we can do our own installation. That’s because of the steps IBM has taken. Before, you had to hire them, you had to hire FileNet to come do it; you couldn't do it yourself.

Usability all depends on how it is set-up. FileNet itself is good, but it relies on just how complex does the business want to get.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We had an external consultant group that was coming in to do a significant amount of work for us. They were bringing in new technologies and they were the deciders of bringing in FileNet.

Nonetheless, when I select a vendor to work with, cost is very important and a level of expertise in a similar type of industry is helpful, peer experiences. If they've worked with a company that is similar to ours, it seems like there is faster ramp-up time for them.

What other advice do I have?

Really understand your use case and capabilities that you're going to need, especially because we start out thinking it's just document management or content management, but then there's always all this other stuff. Does the product or product line have the ability to expand to the other stuff that the business wants?

I think Box has potential for us because of our interaction with external consultants, but not at this time.

As far as any pre-existing services that we're now able to provide better than we did before, we’re now able to provide better centralized access by using FileNet; that's where we're at, at this point and time.

We have plans to include mobile. We have folks out in the field, so we want them to have access to electronic documentation via a tablet or other mobile device.

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