IBM FileNet Review

The technology is stable but the unappealing UI makes people reluctant to use it


What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case was to have our complete documentation digitized and provide secure access to it for all employees in our organization. Along with that, we were to develop a workflow for check-in and check-out of the documents.

We are currently using FileNet but for a limited purpose. We have just one workflow configured in it. It's only used for document scanning and retrieval.

How has it helped my organization?

FileNet has not improved any of our organization's processes or functions. Our aim in 2013/14 was the same. We wanted to have complete automation, a paperless-office scenario. But that aim has not been fulfilled. 

What needs improvement?

The basic and fundamental point about FileNet is that the interface is very bad. It's just not appealing so people are reluctant to use it. Nowadays, when you go to any web application or mobile application, the interface is very appealing and very intuitive. These aspects are not available in FileNet. People are very reluctant to use that kind of application, one which has a very plain UI.

It should also provide different APIs to interface with multiple applications. There are some connection services for SAP but we have found the extent of such connections is not usable for our needs. We want a side-by-side type of a scenario where we can open an SAP transaction on one half of a screen and on the other half we should get a document from FileNet. That functionality is not in the version we have right now.

In addition, it needs a very smooth storage and retrieval process. 

Along with that, the workflow should be very simple to configure. Currently, we are capturing most of the information in Excel and then interface Excel with FileNet. That should not be how IBM FileNet works. They should improve on how the workflows can be automated with minimum effort on the programming side.

For how long have I used the solution?

FileNet has been deployed in our environment since 2013. We started using it but we faced a lot of a problems and have not upgraded since P8 and onward.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The product is very stable. We don't have much of a problem as far as the stability of the technology and the product go.

How was the initial setup?

We awarded the contract to another party and they outsourced it to somebody else. So it wasn't that easy for us to implement FileNet. It took a lot of time for us to implement and install. 

The plan was that once everything would be digitized and we had a paperless-office scenario implemented, we would have high-availability, to have complete redundancy of the applications. Whenever one application would fail, another would take care of it automatically without the end-users knowing about it. But that wasn't set up properly. We then managed with Microsoft Cluster between the two nodes. That also wasn't that successful. So there were issues.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are now looking at another DMS which will have a better look and feel and be easier to operate.

What other advice do I have?

We are an Indian company and the skillset available in India for FileNet is very small. We wanted to to resolve some technical issues and we faced a lot of problems from Indian tech people in supporting us. IBM needs to increase the expertise of FileNet in India wherever possible. They should open training centers or schools in India where people can get exposure to FileNet.

We have SAP ERP for our business applications. We have mail and messaging from Microsoft. We have different productivity applications developed for our own environment, for our own business and business cases. Specifically regarding RPA, we have not developed anything as of yet.

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