IBM FileNet Review

Provides our clients with easy-to-configure and comprehensive compliance and governance


What is our primary use case?

All of our customers are using it to ingest, process, and retrieve their documents on a daily basis.

How has it helped my organization?

Automation is definitely the most important thing for large enterprises because they can't process many documents without it. Our clients are definitely planning to expand the use of automation. The more automation they get, the happier they are, because they don't want to spend too much time and have large overhead for processing their documents.

There are different stages of automation. For scanning, our clients use Datacap and, once everything is configured and fits their needs, they scan and process all their documents automatically. They don't need to do a lot of extra steps to get all their documents into the system.

After that, they need to search and retrieve those documents, which is also really nice in the way it is automated. There are different options. They can use Records Manager to create records automatically and keep them for, let's say, seven years or ten years and, after that, they can delete them, but not before that.

We have a customer that was using an obsolete system from 1990-something. They switched gradually, business-unit-by-business-unit, to FileNet P8 and that changed their way of handling everything. It changed the time it takes them to do their jobs and it also completely changed their end-user experience because of all the new technology and all of the automation. It completely changed their business process.

It definitely has reduced our clients' operating costs. It also saves our clients time.

FileNet has also definitely helped them with compliance and/or governance issues. That's another thing that is specific to IBM. They're the best in the business for compliance for all kinds of regulations, laws, state law, etc. They know how all that works. Out-of-the-box, it's really easy to configure according to whatever state they live in and the specific requirements they have. Everything is already in the product. They just need to select and configure it, but doing so is really easy and, once they set it up, they just use it. There are no issues there.

What is most valuable?

There are a lot of valuable features, but the biggest advantage is that this system is stable; it's always online, it always works. In addition, there are not too many changes or updates that cause issues. It's both the system and the environment around it that are stable. For large and enterprise customers, it's the best solution because, once it's configured and running, we don't need to touch it and constantly make changes to it. It's a low-maintenance platform.

While the system is stable, at the same time, the end-user interface, the Content Navigator, gets updated frequently so that it can match the requirements from the end-users. That way it provides new features and makes sure that everybody is happy.

To summarize, the back-end of the system always works and at the front-end you have an application that gives the best user experience. It's a great combination.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see support for different databases, like MySQL. I believe it's a good thing to have options. I don't think that there will be a lot of customers doing that, but nowadays people like to have options.

There is room for improvement in the scanning solution, Datacap. It's improving all the time. But since it's more an end-user software, the end-users are constantly improving their processes, and I believe that sometimes we're not catching up with their requirements.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with the product for seven years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability and usability go together. The backend and the front-end are separate but they work together. Still, we can handle them separately, from a technical point of view.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The whole solution is based on IBM WebSphere, which is basically a complicated website. So all the applications are running on that IBM software and you can create a cluster, more than one server which is handling all those requests. So you can scale it up to as many servers as you need, which increases the performance significantly. Also, you have redundancy in this case. If one of the servers doesn't work, the rest of the servers automatically handle the workloads.

How are customer service and technical support?

I use IBM's technical support all the time. They're extremely responsive and very helpful. They always ask all the questions. They give us all the information upfront. If we need them to join in a call, they always do so really fast. That's been my experience for the last seven years. Every time I need help from IBM, I get it immediately.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

If a customer is using legacy software that they want to move away from, the primary reasons in the decision-making process that they decide to go with FileNet are the stability and, at the same time, a really nice end-user experience. Also, out-of-the-box, they have all the government and state requirements. The whole solution gives them everything they need.

With a lot of other solutions, you get some of the features but not all of them. So you need to compromise and probably build your own end-user experience or add something on top of it. With FileNet, you get everything you need out-of-the-box.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is really easy. If you're going to use all the features out-of-the-box, you just install it and it starts working. You don't need to do anything.

We have customers that have their own end-user solutions or very specific needs, and then we have to spend a little bit more time with them, but that's because they have their own software on top of it that they like to use it. That's more an issue of end-user software and not the actual FileNet system.

Our customers integrate it with other solutions. A lot of the time it's their own software that they have developed in-house. They use FileNet to connect to other platforms such as FileNet Image Services, which is the older product. But there are no issues because FileNet has an API and they just connect to the API and use it. It's well-documented, easy to use, and they don't have any issues.

What was our ROI?

I'm more of a systems engineer so I work on the technical side. I don't see the numbers.

What other advice do I have?

The biggest lesson I have learned from using this solution is that every solution is unique. In general, out-of-the-box, it can meet up to 80 or 90 percent of the requirements, but you still need to gear it a little bit differently for different customers. Every business has its own requirements.

My advice would be to make the right choice, which is IBM. It means less trouble for the customer and less trouble for the engineer installing it.

In terms of the usability of the solution, once we configure and set up everything according to the requirements our customers have, they are really happy with what they get. That's why we spend a lot of time working with them every time there is an upgrade or whenever we implement it for the first time within an organization, to make sure that every single business unit gets all it needs. The solution is used by everybody in the company and they find the solution usable.

I would rate FileNet at ten out of ten because it's great for the customers and it's great for all the engineers involved in the process. It's great for everybody.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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