IBM FileNet Review

Reduced manual work significantly, from days to an hour for some tasks


What is our primary use case?

We are using it as a repository. We have multiple input sources where we receive files and, as of now, we are using it as a kind of a "dumping yard." We are not using it for end-to-end workflows and processes as well. We are just using it to get the files and keep them.

It's deployed on-prem only.

How has it helped my organization?

When it comes to automation, it has been really helpful for us. We used to do multiple things manually, like storing files store on our local PCs. Now, everything is stored inside of FileNet. It has really helped to smooth our business processes.

In terms of work effort, it has certainly reduced the amount of manual work by 40 to 50 percent. Some of the end-to-end, SLA processes used to take somewhere around two to three days and now they have been reduced to about an hour.

Compliance comes by default with product itself. Everything is captured in the product. Any kind of context, accessibility — everything is captured there. It has really smoothed out our audit process.

What is most valuable?

FileNet is very user-friendly. I went to Middle East about a year ago and one of the sales guys there gave me a demo with the latest version of the UI. I would love to get into it. If I had to rate the usability on a scale of one to ten I would rate it as a seven or eight for sure. We have business users using and it is quite friendly for them. From a usability perspective, we haven't had any kind of negative feedback. That's quite positive.

It is a very full-fledged ECM product. Starting from data security, workflow management, etc. It has everything, but we are using it just for content management.

What needs improvement?

Technically, the product is pretty good. In the area of AI and whatever new technologies are coming, I would like to see it able to capture NLP in an advanced search. It would also be good if it could capture images and segregate them in categories within a span of seconds.

For how long have I used the solution?

It has been almost five years since I started using FileNet.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the product is quite good. This is the only product I can think of which is very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In terms of scalability they are modeling it in such a way that, at any point in time, if you are thinking of increasing the user base or increasing the load, it comes in packages. That can be really helpful in an organization like a bank where the user base fluctuates quite a bit. We don't have many problems when scaling it up.

How are customer service and technical support?

Whenever we have any kind of technical problem or glitch, we use a PMR (problem management report) and it goes to IBM support. They are quite helpful and they are meeting their SLAs. I wouldn't say it has been excellent, but I would rate support at seven out of ten.

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

I have used multiple ECM products such as Documentum, OpenText Content Suite, Newgen's OmniDocs, Alfresco, and Laserfiche as well. Among those, I have the most experience with Documentum. I started my career in ECM using it and then, being part of the ECM team in multiple companies, I had to look into other products as well.

Both FileNet and Documentum are very good. It all depends on your requirements. For ECM, IBM has multiple products. Based on your requirements they can suggest which layer you should buy. IBM has Content Manager, Case Manager, and FileNet. For example, if you're in insurance or a bank, it would be more case-based. In that case, you could customize FileNet to make it case-centric, but you could use it out-of-the-box as well.

We went with FileNet because of the customization. We can do whatever we need to on to FileNet. It's very easy to customize. You can mold it based on your requirements. Whoever is a good developer can mold it to meet the requirements instead of going with how it comes out-of-the-box.

How was the initial setup?

As compared to other products, the setup is a little time-consuming, maybe because of the weight of the product, of the deployable components. For someone with experience in the field, they should find it very easy because everything is inside the product. While it did not happen in my project, in someone else's, while deploying, they found some glitches here and there and some services that would not come up. That made it a little complicated for them. But my experience is that it's pretty straightforward.

For us, it took somewhere between 15 to 30 minutes. It depends on how customized it is.

What other advice do I have?

If you want to integrate it with multiple other solutions you can do it quite easily. It exposes its services and it exposes APIs so you can integrate it with other applications have on the floor. These days, whatever products we have, we can do multiple things on the platform itself with some simple configuration.

We are still thinking about merging IBM BPM with FileNet. In terms of automation, we have two BPM products. We capture the file transfers, outbound and inbound. We capture forms with pharmacy data from customers, the pharmacy branches. They collect it and scan it and then it is processed under BPM. We keep a version of the document in FileNet. So far, there has been a very small ROI with the project. There is ROI but if the project can be explored further, it will have better ROI.

In terms of market capture, FileNet is significant in North America. It is coming along in the Middle East, but in North America, I would say it is the leader.

Overall, I would rate it eight out of ten. It's a flexible, very much scalable product and it's very user-friendly.

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