IBM FileNet Review

Check-in and check-out capabilities enable document security, but pre-configured use cases would be helpful

What is our primary use case?

We have some projects now with a university in Bogota, here in Colombia. We developed a correspondence process and some administration processes with invoices. We also have a government project where the main process is around the lifecycle of documents. We use FileNet to automate correspondence processes when our clients receive documents.

There a lot of legal requirements in Colombia and companies need to automate their processes around these requirements. We incorporate FileNet in the middle of the process and we collaborate to make our clients' processes more efficient.

We offer FileNet to our clients with IBM's RPA capabilities and help to automate processes.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is when we combine FileNet with Datacap. We have a lot of client data here. We use IBM Datacap's capabilities to capture data and then we use FileNet's capabilities for filing, to create an archive of documents. 

We also use the check-in and check-out capabilities a lot to enable correct document security for users. 

In addition, we use a lot of workflow for document processing for our clients.

Finally, we use FileNet's ability to expose information via APIs and interoperate with other systems.

What needs improvement?

IBM has a lot of documentation but the kind of information in a lot of the documents can be confusing to our clients. It would be easier if they used video tutorials. Right now, the information is too hard to understand, and there is a lot of it. If they used videos I think FinalNet would be easy to use for an end-user.

The technical information is hard to understand at times, especially on the installation of the product. And that's particularly true when you have to install FileNet with high-availability.

In addition, there are a lot of use cases for FileNet as a platform. There are other tools on the market with demos or models, ready-to-use use cases that can be configured. With FileNet, all projects we have to be developed step-by-step. IBM should develop some use cases or pre-configured models, across use cases. That would help us speed up implementation a lot.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using FileNet for about five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

FileNet is stable because the web application server is a very powerful tool. The problem is that people don't always correctly configure this tool. If the people doing the configuration are not the right people, the client has problems. But the web application server is very stable when configured correctly.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is good. IBM is one of the platforms that we can upgrade. They have different versions and new versions and upgrades happen without a lot of issues. As a developer or partner, we can take advantage of the flexibility of the scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

There are three levels of support. The first one is local support which relies on our experience as a partner. At the second level, we use IBM support for our clients. Sometimes, an issue we have is when our client has an older version for a given component. IBM has told us that some of these versions are no longer supported and an upgrade is required. After that, they can give support. But if we are on the correct version or release, the support is good.

What was our ROI?

In terms of ROI on the automation processes, FileNet is so expensive in Colombia. So return on investment takes time.

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

A lot of companies here need solutions like FinalNet. Its capabilities are very good. However, when it comes to pricing, IBM needs to make an effort to improve the cost. That's the main issue regarding use of FinalNet in Columbia.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

In our company, we have three different tools for documents services. One of them is FileNet, another is Laserfiche, and there is a third one. But our company has an agreement with IBM where there is flexibility on pricing.

One of the main differences between IBM and its competitors is the pricing. In this market, IBM is the most expensive platform. But IBM has a lot of components in one package. We can use this advantage to offer just one package with all these components. With the competitors, we may need to combine technologies. Sometimes customers feel that having a lot of different vendors for one solution makes things hard to maintain. With IBM, we have just one platform with multiple components, making it a very good solution in terms of maintenance.

Support is also important after the initial implementation. That's one of the differences between IBM and its competitors

What other advice do I have?

You need to be patient when you first use FileNet because the information is hard to understand. People often learn a lot when they go over the licensing agreement because it gives them all the possibilities of the platform. You also need technical expertise to use the platform. In addition, it's important to use support after implementation. Keep updated on the versions of the product and try to use all its capabilities. Don't try to customize the product code because that may lead you into difficulties.

I would rate FileNet, overall, at seven out of ten. It's not just about the platform. It's also the skills of the people around the platform. That is the most important thing you have. The platform is good but it's the people who know the platform who can be hard to find.

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