IBM FileNet Review

Document previews and small, event-driven automations are among the valuable features

What is our primary use case?

It's used for content management. It's not for business process automation but for digital, electronic archives: documents, folders, and access to the client's native IBM content. It's an IBM content manager, especially for IBM BPM.

How has it helped my organization?

FileNet has many features which support our clients' compliance and governance requirements.

What is most valuable?

The most useful feature is its persistent storage. Also, the full-text search and attribute searching are valuable. It shows a preview of documents, and makes possible small, event-driven automation: creating documents, editing documents, deleting documents, and others.

What needs improvement?

For end-users there is a lack of administrative features. The interface of basic FileNet is not very good.

IBM is doing a lot of work to combine the abilities of its major products, BPM and FileNet, into one product, either IBM Business Automation Workflow, or Digital Business Automation. These are two major offerings from IBM. These products are very tightly integrated. I'm waiting for the moment when, in one or two years, it will be only one product which will combine the major strengths of these products. This is the right way forward, from my point of view. IBM is moving quickly in this direction.

For how long have I used the solution?

Our company has dealt with FileNet in solutions for our customers for about three or four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I haven't seen any problems. FileNet is stable software as long as it is installed correctly.

How was the initial setup?

The installation of FileNet is not very easy. It requires a very experienced administrator. But if the program installs correctly, it works. It's stable. It takes two to three days to install FileNet in high-availability mode.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Talking about the cost is difficult because IBM has offers that combine different products, and each of these offers has different types of licensing. IBM also has a policy that the actual price for a given customer may be very different from the stated book price. It's hard to say whether it's expensive or not.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I didn't do a deep comparison. Previously, I compared FileNet with some open-source enterprise content systems, especially Alfresco, but I realized that this product is for a different type of customer. FileNet is for enterprise customers, but Alfresco and other open-source BPM products are for small or medium-sized customers.

In terms of a comparison of the features, the open-source solutions are really are missing a lot.

What other advice do I have?

Create a solution combining the strengths of all of IBM's products: IBM BPM, FileNet, or IBM Case Manager, a product which sits on top of IBM FileNet technology.

We have banks as clients with 3,000 to 4,000 employees but the FileNet users number between 100 and 200.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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