IBM FileNet Review

Content Engine compresses files, reducing the storage profile

What is our primary use case?

One of the primary use cases is for documentation processing, including image processing and all the content. It is also used for archiving and document management.

For example, in the mobile telecom or financial industries, there are requirements to retain a customer's documents, depending on regulations, for five and sometimes ten years. In this instance, FileNet is used for archiving all of the documentation.

We are using it for documentation automation projects, especially for content management such as customer contract management and some vendor contract management.

How has it helped my organization?

It has reduced operating costs, especially postage and courier costs and the cost of printing hard copies.

It has also helped with compliance issues. Instead of archiving hard copies, where there are regulations regarding the conditions in which they are stored, which means there are energy costs for climate control, FileNet saves on those energy costs. There are also savings on the cost of renting warehouses for the hard copies. Keeping everything digital means there are a lot of savings.

What is most valuable?

One of the most valuable features is FileNet's ability to capture things from the stack, from e-mail, to scanning of Excel and Word. FileNet can also convert many types of files to PDFs very easily.

Also, when the Content Engine processes files, it can reduce the size by up to ten times by compressing them. It has a very low storage profile. This is very important because storage is something that adds to the cost. In this way, it can reduce costs.

It is also possible to search any customer's documentation. If you want to find historical documents, you can find them very easily.

With the application layer you can install it with Windows Application Server to create web logic. 

You can also use clusters.

When requests come from users, you can extend it horizontally or vertically. You can put a lot of application servers in a vertical arrangement, so it's very flexible.

It's very simple to integrate it with other solutions. The business process management layer makes it very easy.

It's really user-friendly. Everything can be managed via a web application, a web console. And for non-technical users, it's mostly web-based now, so it's not so hard for them to use. Especially in the mobile industry, most workers are not technical. They are sales-based and are not familiar with a lot of technical features. But they find it very easy to use.

Finally, behind FileNet is IBM, which is a big company.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using FileNet for 12 or 13 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stable because FileNet is mostly compatible with Unix, Solaris, and also IBM Unix (AIX). It's also compatible with Windows but the Unix system is really robust. When I was working with FileNet for a telecom company, it never went down. The uptime was five-nines.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scaling is easy. You can scale vertically because in front of the application server there is load balancing. You can put a lot of application servers behind the load balancing. It's very easy. We were using Oracle Database and we could scale the database very easily as well. You can upgrade and scale up without any downtime. That is very important.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very easy. You first implement the database and after that the application. You can even install it on a remote site. It's that easy.

However, the configuration does take a long time. Every company needs its own configuration design. It depends on how many applications are connecting to FileNet. It can take a long time, depending on the application count.

The installation itself only takes one or two days, but the configuration can take a long time. The first time we configured it, it took over 20 days.

What was our ROI?

First of all, the automation means there is no more dependency on hard copies. Storing those documents was dependent on the environmental conditions, and if they weren't right, the documents could break down. And they had to be sent via post or courier.

By using FileNet, especially with bigger contracts, it doesn't take ten days or two weeks to receive and store the documents. Instead, when the documents are emailed it takes under one second and it arrives to customer service. Once they open the email, they can activate the customer's product immediately. The customer doesn't have to wait two weeks and it means the company can earn money for the product sooner. It helps with time to market.

Overall, ROI depends on the particular project. Every project is different.

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

Licensing costs depend on the size of the storage.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I also know SharePoint and Documentum. When I looked into them, Documentum was harder to use than FileNet and more expensive. Implementing and integrating Documentum was much harder than with FileNet. I'm not sure how it stacks up now. SharePoint was not robust or sustainable, in my opinion. FileNet is much better than SharePoint in those areas. 

What other advice do I have?

In terms of the biggest lessons I've learned from using the product, when we installed the first time, I didn't know anything about document management. But with time, I learned that the most important thing is choosing the best infrastructure.

My advice would be to use a specialist in documentation management to implement the solution. That's not just true for FileNet, it's true for other solutions as well.

I would rate FileNet at eight out of ten. No product is perfect. You will always find some bugs.

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.
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