We have been using it for awhile for the content management purposes of some of the bank's co-functionality.
We have not seen many issues lately, thus, so far, so good in terms of performance.
Download the Enterprise Content Management Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: September 2022
IBM Content Foundation on Cloud
IBM Content Foundation on Cloud allows organizations to deliver extensive enterprise content management capabilities to their users very quickly. IBM Content Foundation is powered by the FileNet content and process platform and IBM Content Navigator user experience. This cloud offering can be leveraged for a variety of use cases including collaborative document management, imaging solutions, social content management, archiving, and more. It also offers a platform for developing Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions in the cloud.
IBM Case Manager on Cloud
IBM Case Manager on Cloud is a solution platform that engages people with business content, provides contextual insight through real-time analytics, and enhances teamwork through collaboration tools and flexible workflow. Enables Business and IT to work together to create solutions across the enterprise that enables an organization to make smarter decisions for better business outcomes, while balancing the need for security and compliance in a world of heightened risk.
KeyBank, Standard Chartered Bank, Union Bank, Sistema Tecnol‹gico de Monterrey, Illinois Department of Human Services, UnitedHealth Group
We have been using it for awhile for the content management purposes of some of the bank's co-functionality.
We have not seen many issues lately, thus, so far, so good in terms of performance.
The content management is all about you as you can make the same content for minimal purpose solutions applications.
The vertical scalability, as we can use it across some of our applications. However, there is a lot that we must to do as a bank and we have not used some of the features yet.
I would like to see seamless application integration.
Stability is quite good.
I have not tested scalability out, but I believe it is good.
Not to my knowledge. Probably my technical people are using them.
I recently joined the bank, therefore I was not involved in the initial setup.
Reach out to local IBM partners.
We evaluated IBM and a couple other vendors as well.
Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: Local support.
Our primary use case is for policy-holder documents. We're using Enterprise Content Manager 8.5 and we're serving up our documents to our agents so that they can service our customers.
We also have applications that are internal, for different financial and personal products lines, for internal workers. We're serving up their documents so that they can do their jobs.
It has been performing really well. We're enjoying the suite of products that we have.
It has definitely improved the way our organization functions. It has made a lot of our in-person interactions with paper a lot more seemless; we don't have to have as many touch-points. It has improved the electronic routing of information.
The scalability, that we're able to display our documents to so many people.
I think it's already getting away from Java applets. A lot of our users struggle with keeping up to date with Java versioning, so a lot of the functions they're doing, like printing, emailing, and even some of the viewing, they're struggling with.
It seems to be stable enough. We have not had any issues to date.
I have not used technical support for this solution.
We've always been an IBM shop in the ECM space.
We have a very strict vendor selection process. We have vendor management come in. A lot of it has to do with the security and the stability of the company, and where we see it going.
I was involved in the initial setup of IBM Content Navigator, that was my first project coming into ECM, replacing Webby with Content Navigator. It was pretty straightforward.
I would rate it a nine out of 10. There is always room for a little bit of improvement, but it's functioning very well.
I would recommend not going with ECM 8 and going with FileNet instead. It seems like that is the future of the lower-volume repository. It seems like they are moving away from ECM 8.5 so I think we're going to have some challenges coming up, getting off of that technology.
The most valuable features are the enterprise scaling capabilities. It's built on an IBM WebSphere platform and this allows us to scale it. We recently did a banker acquisition, and were able to easily scale the solution. It also performs records management, which some of the other lower-cost ECM solutions don't do. So, it does come with a cost, but those are still the positives of it.
It can store a large amount of content and make it accessible both through APIs and the out-of-box UI. This allows us to segregate content into different repositories, but then provide enterprise access restrictions based on line of business, or roles, or other criteria. This is probably the biggest benefit.
I would like administration to be easier and the product simplified. More importantly, it is sometimes overly complex, and requires a lot of work from the infrastructure and administration standpoint; a lot of hands-on patches. It can be time-consuming. So, simplification of patching and maintenance would be an improvement.
Approximately 12 years, with version upgrades
Stability is good. Sometimes it's a little difficult to achieve; it's a complex solution. Where it's at now, the product wasn't built entirely from scratch. So, there are a lot of legacy components that have been somewhat modernized. But the overall product is still there and it adds a lot of complexity that causes issues at times.
It is very scalable. We have actually taken advantage of that as a result of an acquisition where we went from about two million customers to three million customers. We then acquired additional thousands of employees who also needed access to the repository, so we were able to scale that and test it within a matter of months.
The initial time to answer is quick. But sometimes it can be challenging, even though we've already done some leg work on the issue. Once we provide that information, we sometimes get to the actual root cause and resolution. More often than that, we end up requiring some escalation to get the item resolved. Sometimes, it's the complexity of our own environment. Only sometimes is it challenging, requiring escalation through our channels.
We were using a competing product previously, when we received an unexpectedly massive bill. Within a couple of weeks, we switched vendors to an IBM ECM platform and we've been on it for about 12 years now.
I'm more of a development type, but I was involved with some of the infrastructure sizing and requirements definition. I also worked with the infrastructure team once they validated the platform and transferred of applications onto it.
The setup was complex. We did have IBM involved via our solution partners. They were actually IBM consultants at that time. We've had the solution maybe 12 years now, through various versions. Still, they were with us in that initial setup. We were coming from a competing product rather quickly, so they helped us build that platform. But we've gone through several versions and the platform is changed significantly between them.
Initial implementation was with in-house team and IBM Global Services.
We evaluated the platform that we were on. We were on a product that we had only owned for maybe two years. So, we had already done the evaluations and at that point, it was a quick move to IBM, which was one of the final two that we were considering.
I think that partnership is primary when selecting a vendor, in general, and working with us on where we're going. Additionally, having a product strategy that continues to evolve in licensing. As a bank, reducing expenses is a constant every year. Controlling expenses and helping us with controlling licensing and flexible licensing models is what I look for.
Now, particularly, there are some somewhat lower-cost solutions. But they are also solutions that are more modern and built on more modern technologies, so I would probably look at those first; they are lower cost. Also, look at the requirements. If you don't necessarily need records management capabilities, then there are some other solutions that we continue to evaluate ourselves. We are looking constantly at licensing costs when it comes to renewing with IBM.
We found that this solution was very easy to use for our customers. So, the interface of this solution was the best one for us.
It's a good solution for ECM control. We have evaluated a lot of other solutions and found that this was the best solution to provide to our customers.
The stability is very good. We didn't have any problems in this regards. Our customers are very happy with the stability.
It works with a few users up to hundreds or thousands of users. We didn't have any scalability issues.
This is a good and stable solution. It is a solution that you can trust and is, indeed, the best solution that we found out there.
We try to search for vendors that provide good support for our development and also, we look for out for those vendors that have great cases and other clients, that we can compare with our case.
IBM Enterprise Content Management suite(ICN2.0.3 for Filenet CM 5.2.1) is an enterprise-ready robust collaboration solution for knowledge workers that would meet the broad needs of the entire enterprise(Eg document-records management,search,scanning(datacap). cloud ready etc), compared to the other competitors offerings in the market.
It has helped business areas to centralize storage,usage,search,dispositon of digital content and assets from multiple sources without a lot of training and helped IT to consolidate multiple vendor tools without a lot of customization but certainly with some tweaking-multiple upgrades with assistance from IBM . Our future plans for ECM users is to allow them digitize,store and collaborate easily on one platform.
The IBM Content Navigator product (IBM's new UI and Collaboration) is much stable with fewer bugs but this should not be a surprise as IBM has been shipping poorly QAd/Tested products for many years expecting their customers to provide feedback and improve unlike their competitors and its not even funny.Better QA and product release cycles would be appreciated.
IBM really needs to provide a single ECM management dashboard or platform to manage the ECM components as currently its an sys-administration nightmare especially with one ICN UI platform strategy for all ECM products.
Product licensing can be more easy on customers as there is not a single size that fits all and business area requirements and IT landscapes change every 2 -3 years due to M&A and adoption of new technologies like hybrid cloud.We abandoned our Case manager solution as it was so complex and cost-prohibitive for us .
2007(XT) and the 2014(ICN)
Initial versions of the IBM Content Navigator product 2.0.1 had many bugs that were addressed in successive releases (ICN2.0.2--2.0.3--and now 3.0.0).IBM addressed the bugs and assisted with our deployment to production.Many enhancement requests have also been implemented in the recent major releases.
We adopted the FileNet-XT around the years 2007 for a small business area unit then consolidated and implemented for the entire enterprise in 2014 ECM-ICN.
Initial IBM content navigator releases needed many upgrades to stablize to meet user acceptable performance benchmarks on Browsers and MS-Office ECM client.
The solution is highly scalable and many add on tools can be added at a cost to meet demanding business requirements like records management,datacap-scanning,box-cloud integration etc .The stability issues were exposed as soon as all our legacy data was imported/migrated into the tool .
IBM technical support along with engineering teams have always come to assistance to fix bugs,performance tuning and address enhancement requests .Direct involvement of IBM and a good VAR partner is key to a successful implementation.NEVER attempt implementation of IBM products in-house without an experienced VAR/Integration partner.Technical Support:
The technical support engineers are helpful in terms of identifying the problems and involving engineering teams as needed which will be very often in a new implementation.
We already had multiple tools in our corporate ECM landscape (IBM XT,Sharepoint,WorksiteMP-iManage etc), that we intended to consolidate into one single enterprise platform.
Being Gov. we are a very slow ship to steer by IT with lots of red-tape but we chose IBM after a lengthy RFP process.
The setup was complex because we made some architectural choices of not going with the recommended very expensive WebSphere ND architecture.Product Installations are easy but performance tuning to meet enterprise performance workloads and benchmarks will required direct involvement and assistance from IBM.
IT management team should have resource and training plan budgeted to support this complex platform and business users can loose confidence/adoption momentum really fast if IT doesn't have a team to rollout project of such scale and complexity.Plan the legacy data migration and retention as a separate project task from tool implementation.
We've worked with two different IBM VARs .When possible always go with fixed bid instead of t&m on IBM projects .
TBD and in-tangible so far .We are still stabilizing the solution and are in the process of upgrading to the latest and greatest what IBM has to offer and bringing many more users into the system and rolling out additional ECM tools Eg Datacap,IER,Box Cloud Integration.
Listen to the customers and you should not be vendor-specific or vendor-biased(not uncommon with silos and vendor loyalties and camps) when making decisions. You should capture your requirements correctly and be clear about the financial cost, which includes upfront licensing and maintenance, over a span of the first three years. If you are clear about the top requirements that are absolutely necessary, then a year or two down the line, it is less painful to go and revisit those decisions and make amends.
We looked at all vendors in the Gartner's/Forrestor articles such as the Documentum, SharePoint,Hybase and IBM .
We had a small XT implementation of IBM . ICN/FCM met the maximum checkboxes as an integrated enterprise features ready integrated platform. We preferred this solution rather than getting into customization and trying to make all the moving parts work together to meet the enterprise business needs across the business areas.
The most important decision for enterprises to choose a ECM platform should be a clear IT vision(ECM roadmap 2-3-5 year) and requirements(business area expectations and maturity to accept-adopt change).Then the decision point would be to go with a major-industry-expensive tool(Documentum-D6 or Filenet5.2.x $$$Millions) or cheap/open-source platforms(Al-Fresco,iManage,Nuxeo etc $Thousands) criteria while selecting a vendor .
Also many smaller and cheaper market vendors have great product roadmaps,swissknife functionalities and are very proactive and responsive to the customer's needs and with rapidly changing IT and then there's the new hybrid cloud SaaS offerings (Google Docs or Office 365...) so is it even worth investing Millions into an on-premise ECM tool in 2017 with a 3-5+ year ROI ..
It's actually helped us standardize our content ingestion piece. We receive anywhere from 10,000 to 12,000 documents a day. It's helped us standardize that process across six different business units. We've seen a reduction of error rates. We've seen much easier training on the new platform.
We haven't implemented the Case Manager piece yet, but we feel that's going to give us some tremendous benefits in re-engineering business processes, and making the system work more like the business processes.
The usability from our standpoint has been very, very good. With the new version of Datacap that we're on now, what had took nine months to train somebody, now takes just a couple weeks. Datacap is pretty intuitive, the way we have it set up. People are productive within the first day or two that they're there on site.
It provides a very simplified process. It's a lot more flexible than the system we had before. It allows us, again, to create those business processes on the platforms that more closely represent the actual business processes. It's got a lot of capabilities to be extended. We've glued into our infrastructure. Our ecosystem can talk to many other systems. A lot of things that had been manual in the past are now automated.
We are not yet considering employing IBM on cloud, hybrid or box solutions.
We haven't yet leveraged any new analytics or content management services. Because I went to a recent World of Watson conference, my eyes were opened to a whole lot of content analytics that we wanted to do as soon as I got back.
There are probably a lot of operational efficiencies, as I’ve mentioned. I think it's going to make us more acquisition ready. We'll be able to hide a lot of complexity as we acquire new systems. We can glue them into the ECM platform very, very easily; keep a very standardized process across business units. That'll help us acquire companies much more rapidly and, more importantly, absorb them into Western and Southern.
We have plans to eventually include mobile as well, in a couple of different ways: our interaction with our end customers, our policyholders, our contract holders, probably some exchange of information with agents. I don't know, yet, how we're going to fully roll that out.
We've had Datacap in place about eighteen months. It's been very successful in the business unit that's using that. We're still working on the Case Manager piece. The first workflow should go live after the first of the year. We expect a very similar experience with our customers there.
I haven't really found anything that I would like to see improved. They're continuing to improve it; things such as improved optical character recognition, hand writing recognition. I think as they continue to tweak those engines on the Datacap side, that'll get better. I’m looking for more improvement in that, and that’s mostly because the environment itself is very difficult. A hand-written form is extremely difficult to interpret. Sometimes, it's even difficult for humans to interpret it. I think we get about 80-90% readability for hand-written numbers, and 30-40% for hand-written letters. That's the nature of the OCR business. I’m looking for them to improve that, if they can.
It didn't implement as easy as we had hoped. We had some partner issues. Ease of implementation would be really great and make it perfect.
Data Capture has been implemented and providing value for more than 2 years. Our first Case Manager workflow solution should be implemented in the next couple months
Finding external talent for Data Capture and Case Manager has been extremely difficult.
It is rock solid.
When we did our purchase three years ago, we asked them to size it so it would double. They said that would not be a problem.
We purchased IBM Forms in September 2016 and paid a significant amount of money for some custom widget work to IBM to integrate IBM Forms with the Case Manager platform. In mid-December 2016, IBM announced they were discontinuing IBM Forms. In spite of assurances that "they would make us whole", this has yet to become a reality. Moving to IBM Forms Experience Builder is going to result in a lot of throw away work and wasted money. This is significant point of contention.Technical Support:
I have used technical support many times. They're very good; very, very good.
I was involved in the decision process to invest in the ECM solution. I knew we needed to invest in a solution like it because we had a legacy system that just turned 20 years old this past June; it's called the OIT from DocFinity. It served us well over the many years, but we needed something that was a little more flexible for us to design our business processes around.
It is a very complex platform. There's a pretty steep learning curve for it, but it is extremely powerful.
We actually did a big project to do a product selection, and ended up selecting IBM's ECM suite. We looked at Documentum from EMC. We looked at a hybrid Microsoft solution. We looked at some things from Lexmark, which had an offering. We looked at Hyland. ECM was the better choice of all four of those.
The decision-making process took about six months. I think it proceeded on track. We have a fairly robust decision-making process, so we just followed the process: RFIs, demos, and then an on-site bake off. ECM won out.
When selecting a vendor to work with, we put a lot of stock in customer references. We'll shrink it down to a shortlist, based on their reputation in the industry, based on our personal experience. We've got multiple mainframes, so we've been an IBM customer for many, many years. We'll look at vendor reputation, ability to deliver, and the actual platform itself or the product itself that they're trying to deliver. Then we go through as many customer references as we can find.
We did not consider building an in-house solution ourselves.
Look at my presentation, Lessons Learned from Implementing an ECM Stack, which I gave at a recent WoW conference.
A couple of other things: Make sure you have sufficient people in place. Make sure that you understand how complex and what the support requirement is. Make sure you understand that you can't just turn off the legacy systems or put them in sunset mode, because they're running the business. It takes a while to get things migrated to the new platform. You need to staff accordingly. You need to have some guiding principles, because the new platform that you're putting in probably has additional features that your old one didn't.
You don't want to just take the old system and pour it into the new system. You want to re-engineer business processes, as appropriate, and make sure that you've got the right tool for the right need. That's probably the two biggest pieces of advice.
I think overall, now that it's in place, it is a very powerful, complete platform.
We use Advanced Case Management to automate the claims and the underwriting processes. We also use a lot of bulk condition tools where we get unstructured content from various sources. We just kind of pump them through IBM tools into the FileNet depository. That adds a lot of value to the process and it also enhances our servicing capabilities to the end customers.
It is mostly the management of the unstructured content, and defined automated work flows to streamline the processes; those kinds of things.
I’d like to see more analytics and mobility features; I think that is where we're going towards.
There are a lot of things that can be improved. It's a big list; mostly, making FileNet compatible with a lot of the enterprise solutions we have around. I think that's the primary objective right now.
There are definitely challenges. It's not an easy solution. We have multiple applications, content in the millions coming into the system. We are working towards this. We are maturing. It will take some time. Our goal is to move towards a stable solution.
That's where we are working on it. I know FileNet has published articles on scalability and so on, and hopefully we will be able to use. There are a lot of complexities around scalability. It's not just application; it's infrastructure, back end solutions, and some of those things. We are working to make a cohesive scalable solution for the enterprise.
We do use the PMR mechanism to resolve all our issues. That's helping. Sometimes, there are some delays but I think overall, it's a good process.
Initial setup isn’t complex; it's pretty straightforward.
It's good. It takes time to mature. I think that it is only a matter of time to make it scalable or optimal; it takes time. That’s the only reason I have not rated it higher. Other than that, it's a good, robust solution.
We are not yet considering employing IBM cloud, hybrid or box solutions. That’s definitely a compliance issue. There are a lot of things that we are currently working on. Definitely, at some point, we might.
As far as any new analytics or content management services that we're now able to provide for your organization, there are a lot of different strings within the company that work on that. I’m unable to comment on that, but it's mostly on the ECM side. But there are ways we can look at synergies between ECM and analytics. That's where I think the focus of IBM World of Watson was. I think that was one takeaway for me for the future.
There are definitely existing services that we're now able to provide better than before. I think that's the purpose of having Advanced Case Management. We were using an old technology and with the move to FileNet, we now have new capabilities, new features, and a new roadmap. That's definitely an advantage for us.
We do not yet have plans to include mobile, but definitely sometime in the future. There are a variety of use cases which we might use more of in the future.
Content Manager OnDemand for z/OS ingests stuff from the JES spool automatically, quickly and easily. All you do is put the output where you want it and code what you need. We use the destination for our report name, and it goes in, stored automatically.
It's an archive for reports. We can access our reports immediately after they're run. We went paperless; you don't have to print then, but you can print a page or pages as needed.
We’d like for it to be able to ingest reports that were created on the distributed side and get them into the same repository, where you have one repository for all reports. We run CMOD on Z and that might already be there; it's just not a feature that we have used. We don't have that right now. One part of that is, these new distributed applications often come with their own archival type system. It would be nice to be consolidated.
We've used CMOD or its predecessor for 25 years. We've been a CMOD customer for a long time, 10 years or more, since CMOD became CMOD. We were an old RDARS customer before that. We've had it for a long time. We do provide our statements to customers by CMOD.
We've used CMOD or its predecessor for 25 years, so that's pretty stable. You can't get more stable than that. We do not experience down time or anything.
It’s on Z, so it's scalable by design.
Technical support is very good. It's not a widely used project, the CMOD on Z, so whenever we call, we usually get the same guy.
It a natural progression from RDARS to Content Manager OnDemand, which was running on Z on CICS. It was just a natural progression.
We ended up using IBM services to migrate from the old on-demand version two, which was strictly mainframe CICS based, to the Content Manager on Demand, which had the web front end interfaces. It took several months, but it went well.
Pricing is not a problem for CMOD; it's pretty reasonable.
We did not consider anyone else at that time; just an upgrade. We did not consider building a solution ourselves, in house.
Any advice I might give depends on where your reports come from.
I'm sure there's always room for improvement in things, but we've used it for so long and are so comfortable with it, we're happy. I would give it a perfect rating if it had a little more ease of use with getting the distributed combined into one repository.
The most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor to work with are good support; a strong vendor that's been around a while, that's steady; and, in this world, cost has to be a factor.
As far as how our internal or external customer experiences have changed after implementing CMOD, in the beginning of our first instance of internet banking, we just had a text-based statement, the data that our service provider gave to the customer. We sent them a file and they provided it when the customer asked. Now, we send them a link, they pick the date, they come back and get the statement; it looks just like what would be mailed.
Usability is very good. We've been using it for a long time and it works.
We are not yet considering employing IBM on cloud, hybrid or Box solutions. We are still in the discovery phases. I attended a session at a recent conference about movement to the cloud. I said, with being a bank, we are not quite there. We do not have a good cloud strategy, yet. We are not looking to move anything to the cloud. That would be an advantage to have the same product on multiple platforms.
There aren’t any new analytics or content management services that we're now able to provide for your organization, yet, but we are looking at analytics on CMOD.
We do not have any plans to include mobile at this time.
I like the granularity that Datacap offers. I've worked with other capture solutions before, including FileNet Capture, Kofax and Captiva, to some extent. I haven't seen such a granular capture product. Because of that, we can achieve any level of customization. We can meet all business requirements, and that's great.
The second advantage of Datacap is the flexibility that it offers. There are a lot of actions. If I want to, I choose something like, for example, in OCR, there are multiple libraries I can use. I can even import third-party libraries. I can build my own libraries, and include it in. That's great. I like that part of Datacap.
We just started. We went live four months ago. We are really not using any advanced features of Datacap. Nonetheless, in terms of benefits, we definitely see better monitoring and better recording of statistics. Now, we can better manage our processes. Initially, with older captures, the reporting was a pain, but now we have very good reporting; that's one advantage. The second advantage is in terms of performance. We have some very good performance; no complaints at all in terms of performance. We are doing OCR-ing and high-speed indexing. We have considerably large volumes and Datacap is handling it pretty well.
Something that I want to be improved is the customization abilities and the ability to turn on and turn off features, disable them. I know it's a product and it offers a lot of features. If we don't need them, there should be a way to disable them.
I had a discussion with the Datacap group at a recent conference and I gave a couple of suggestions. One thing that we would definitely want to see is including some enhancements in Datacap that would reduce our solution development, our solution delivery time. I have mentioned so many benefits of Datacap versus the other capture solutions, other capture products. However, when you talk about solution development time, Datacap's solution development time is sometimes a multiple of other solutions’ development time, even for simple capture processes, because nothing is out of the box. Nothing is ready to use. For everything, you have to build a solution and for a lot of things that are very common, you have to customize too. Even if we are not customizing anything, even if we are not building our own actions and so on, the general solution building also takes time. I talked to Tom Stewart too at a recent conference. He said there are plans to build some compiled rule sets, which would reduce the development time, but I think IBM should give a priority to that.
My rating reflects the positives and a few negatives. As far as the negatives, as I’ve mentioned, solution development time is number one. Another is developing solo solutions is very, very difficult. Datacap has Datacap Studio, TM Web, multiple configuration files and then the application configuration. There are multiple applications and you have to switch between applications. There isn’t a uniform, integrated studio, where you go and build your solutions. That's one of the reasons.
The learning curve with Datacap is very high. It is very difficult to find really good Datacap professionals in the market. It's such a complicated product with which to build solutions for developers.
It's very stable. It hasn't gone down even a single time since we went live in May. That's definitely great.
The scalability of Datacap is amazing; we really like it. On the fly, we added servers. The application was in production, we were experiencing slowness and one night we said, let's add a couple of more servers. We just started them and started using them without interrupting the business; the next morning, business continued as usual.
Tech support has made us neither happy nor sad. The challenge with tech support is that it seems like every time we report something, they come up with a bunch of questions such as, What Datacap version are you using? What kind of application are you using? Is it customized? And so on. They have all of that information. That’s one issue.
Another issue is that they downgrade our priority. We say it's a priority 2 and then they downgrade it. They ask, how is it affecting you? For us, we feel the heat. We know why it is a priority 2, but they downgrade.
Then, most of the time the first answer that we receive turns out to not be possible. In many cases, we have to give them references of other customer's PMRs. We tell them something like, No, you did this for XYZ. Why are you saying to us, No, you can't do this enhancement? Then they come back a couple of days later and say, OK, yeah that's possible; we'll do it for you too. This is a real issue.
Also, there are enhancements and they say, this is an enhancement and it will be released in some future release. I understand their challenges; they can't tell us when it will be released, but we are waiting and waiting and waiting.
They are simple enhancements in terms of products. For example, the product offers certain features which we don't want to use. Our business process doesn't warrant them. We want to disable those, but there is no out-of-the-box way of disabling those through configuration or another way. We asked IBM and then they said, okay we'll do that enhancement but we are just waiting for it. Until then, we will ask the users, we will train the users, do not touch that part of the screen. That's a challenge. Every now and then, we see some adventurous user clicking some buttons and entering that part of it and filling some batches.
Basically, we were using other capture products. We had everything; FileNet Capture, Kofax and Captiva. However, we chose IBM Datacap as our enterprise capture standard. That's because IBM is heading in that direction and the industry is heading in that direction.
Initial setup was very, very straight forward. That's also one of the advantages of Datacap; installation and setup is extremely easy.
We really didn't consider other vendors. It was pretty much, go with IBM. We had already finalized on IBM FileNet P8. Datacap was a natural choice. There was a little bit of consideration of Kofax, but that’s it. IBM Datacap was a natural choice. One reason for that was licencing cost as well. Kofax licensing cost is huge; it's very expensive.
As I’ve mentioned, solution development time with Kofax is very low compared to Datacap. However, the flexibility that Datacap offers, Kofax doesn't offer. Kofax rates a little bit better in terms of UI and so on; very user friendly; end-user friendly. Kofax is a stable solution too. It is scalable as well.
The Kofax solution needs customization. As long as the business requirements are straightforward, you can build solutions very fast with Kofax. However, if there are complicated requirements, then Kofax really becomes a challenge.
The decision-making process was 3-4 years ago. It didn't take long. Datacap was a natural choice for us. We had already finalized IBM FileNet P8 and didn’t have multiple options.
We did not consider building a solution in house. It doesn't make any sense.
When selecting a vendor to work with, my most important criteria are reliability and their ability to deliver product solutions on time. Those are the most important things.
To a colleague looking at Datacap and other, similar solutions, I would explain these positives and negatives and then I would let them make the decision. However, from my personal experience, it's working out well with IBM Datacap. We have not had any failures; we have our own success stories.
We have plans to employ IBM cloud solutions, but that's still under discussion because we are a healthcare company. There are some legal challenges and compliance challenges going with cloud solutions, but that's under discussion. We are you considering it because that's the way everyone is going; saving costs is one thing. Basically, centralizing everything and saving costs are the major drivers.
As far as new analytics or content management services that we're now able to provide for my organization, we also have Watson and another team is working on that. They're using it big time for healthcare. We have a lot of patient-related information that initially we weren't able to make sense of it. Now with Watson, they just started building it. That project just started. We are very hopeful that we will be able to provide better care with the help of Watson.
Regarding existing services that we're now able to provide better than we were previously, as I’ve mentioned, we just started. Previously, we were on the FileNet Images Service platform. Everything was desktop based, thicker client applications. Now, we are with FileNet P8 and thin client; definitely rolling out applications and using them becomes a lot easier. Customers are happy with that.
Change is never easy, so initially we had some internal and external customer experience hurdles due to the implementation of Datacap. We have multiple projects. Our first project went live in May. That particular one, that line of business, was using a heavily customized FileNet capture solution. Moving on to Datacap, they wanted to have everything like to like, but the Datacap desktop UI is not that easy to customize. We didn't have all those features that the heavily customized FileNet capture solution offered and they didn't like it. However, over a period of time we built it and we made it even better than that. They've seen improvement in their service transactions per hour. That's good. Now they're liking it.
We have plans to include mobile, however that's just in the pipeline. That's a future roadmap. We have plans to include mobile. We are even considering going paperless with Docusign.
Datacap usability is good. However, there are definitely a lot of areas with room for improvement, in terms of Datacap desktop or the ICN UI for indexing. That's a data entry application. Data entry people don't want to use their mouse. They have to finish data entry within a certain amount of time and provide a high throughput. Still, for a few things, Datacap doesn't support out-of-the-box hot keys. You have to customize for that. For lookups, Datacap gives links. Now users have to click those links with the mouse and that increases their indexing time. They're typing with something and they're grabbing mouse and then they're clicking. Considering they're doing thousands of indexing, thousands of batches every day, that takes up a lot of time. We faced those challenges. That's why the users didn't like the solution. We did our own customization, added our own hot keys and changed everything.
The most valuable feature of Content Manager is its flexibility in handling a lot of documents and document images; being an IBM product, I like that. It's not designed to just use DB2, which is another IBM product. It's flexible enough that you have the choice to choose a different back end. We use Oracle, which is a different database back end.
It's not that easy to figure out for a newbie, but I managed to learn it in the past few months.
It's made the management of document images much easier. We're using a product like Content Manager instead of managing ourselves millions of files, whatever that entails; moving them around, figuring out file names, allocating storage, assigning indexes so that we can search for documents easily in terms of document types, whatever is contained in a document or whatever we can think of to tag documents. For example, this is a form, this is a loan document, this is a proof of income document. Using Content Manager, we're able to classify documents with attributes like that.
I would like there to be more documentation. A lot of the knowledge that we have gained has been from calling IBM support people, or Googling things on the web and then learning from experiences of other users. I would like there to be more formal IBM documentation. If you do a Google search for anything, you don't know how official the results are or if those things are even supported. If you do things this way, you might be doing things that are not recommended by IBM and you void some kind of contract with them or something. I would feel better if the searchable knowledge base is actually IBM's. I would like them to provide that.
As far as the product itself, I don't have many major complaints. So far, we've had to develop a custom program that we have for searching and viewing; basically, an interface in front of the users. I've heard a lot about Content Navigator, which is their own interface and would probably replace of our custom one. I was going to mention that I wanted something out of the box that we could immediately use for searching, viewing and indexing documents, but I guess they have it. It's just that I haven't had any experience working with it. They promise that Content Navigator is something that you can use out of the box without coding, quickly slap together and the users can just run with it.
However, I've heard from other users, other IBM customers, that's not necessarily the case. Nothing out of the box can really be used immediately. You still have to do some kind of customization. I'm thinking that's almost like what we have done already. Why move to Content Navigator and throw away our development to do other development? I am holding my verdict until I have hands-on experience with Content Navigator, because what I’ve heard is only hearsay. I don't know myself if it's really that difficult or that useless.
I think it's fairly stable in the sense that we have been running it for more than five years. Once a year, if at all, we would get some kind of failure. Once you get it up and running, it's pretty stable. The complexity lies in the setup and the administration.
Right now, the only area of scalability I'm exposed to is the storage of the images themselves. The setup we have has been around for 10 years or so. The number of documents has grown more in the last two years than in the eight years prior to that. We've had to add more storage to house all those files. I thought that it would be a humongous project, a big endeavor to do that, but Content Manager made it easier for us. All we had to do was allocate another drive and tell Content Manager about it. That's it. It took over from there.
It's very scalable.
The initial setup and implementation is complex. I don't know if we're unique in terms of IBM's customers having this kind of setup. We have a bunch of servers that are working together. Some are Windows and some are Linux. Each of the three major components of Content Manager – the library server, resource manager, and the custom Java API – are on a different server, whereas some customers might have all of them on one server. I don't know how unique we are in that sense, but I think the complexity was a result of that, in terms of trying to make them work together.
For a new setup, I would advise employing IBM's help at the earliest possible stage. Don't try to figure everything out by yourself. Of course, a lot of research beforehand would be beneficial, before even starting to put hands on the keyboard. I think a lot of planning is required. As I’ve mentioned, employ IBM's help early on, don’t include them only after you're having trouble already.
As a group, we are thinking of employing IBM in more of a hybrid approach. As far as I know, we have not finalized any strategy yet in terms of usage of cloud. We are fairly new to that space, so I think that's where that's coming from. I don't see any technical hindrances from our side as far as going to a full-blown cloud solution, but the nature of it is, we're a big organization. Things happen more slowly, or more slowly than other, more agile organizations just because of the nature of our size. That's why I think it's more of a hybrid. We want to go to a cloud solution because that's where, I think, things are going, but doing a hybrid approach allows us to get our feet wet first, then go to the final product.
I’m not aware of any new analytics applications that we're now able to provide for our organization as a result of using this solution, right now.
There aren’t any existing services that we're able to provide better than we were before. We have been using IBM's Content Management suite of products for a while now. I don't know if we have anything better, aside from moving to newer versions every time they come in. We're reaping benefits from that, but I'm not sure if anything major has improved in the last few years. I'm not aware of that.
We definitely have plans to include mobile. We are seeing a lot more business users requesting that kind of capability, where they can search for documents, they can view images using their mobile device; maybe even capturing documents, scanning them from a mobile platform. I hear a lot of demand for that kind of thing.
In the last few months, even within the last year, I have seen that more users are going to our Content Manager custom application for things like researching legal requirements or figuring out what is involved in some kind of audit request for documents. Before, they would rely on more traditional approaches, such as going to an engineer who is responsible for databases. That engineer would search in the database and would figure out where the corresponding documents are. Within the last few years, we have enabled those users – whether in the legal department or somewhere else not related to loan origination, which is our primary user base for my small team – to use our custom application. Instead of those lawyers or legal personnel requesting things from us, we can say to them, "Why don't you just go to the source?" They can do whatever search they need to do.
Usability is okay. As I’ve mentioned, once you set it up, once you have it up and running, it's fairly easy to figure out, to maintain, to keep running. I don't have any complaints around that.
When selecting a vendor to work with, we want someone who has the resources to stick around and be available for any kind of support, such as for production issues or for major upgrades that we are doing; to help us out in setting up; and also someone who's committed to helping customers, not just sell to customers, and help them use their products to their maximum abilities, to take advantage of all its features and so on. I think IBM is doing a good job with that.
My rating comes from a place where I have grown more familiar with it. I've grown more comfortable with how it works. I appreciate the complexity of what it's trying to do. Granted, it's my first experience with anything related to content management, so I'm a little biased because I haven't seen anything else.
The most valuable feature is its flexibility: the ability to expand and scale the application and to integrate it with current applications that we have for business solutions. We are able to expand, add functionality and integrate with other IBM applications and their flexibility to resolve business solutions.
It's given us compliance. It's given us the ability to go to cloud or to stay on-prem. It's at the forefront of technology. It always has new products that come out that give us new functionality, which give us new business capabilities. It's reliable. Sometimes you deal with smaller companies and they don't have the support, but IBM has fantastic support. They've supported us over the years. We use AVP and they've been fantastic. It's a reliable solution.
With Datacap, the development piece should definitely be improved; the usability. It's a little hard to use. To do a Datacap application, you have to go to several different places in the application to get it to do what you want it to do, as opposed to linking those things into one UI. There are Rulerunner server configurations. There are Taskmaster server configurations. There are application configurations. There is integration. For each of those things, you have to go to different places. It should be better integrated. For instance, there’s a generic flavor that you can just start with and then customize it. Even the generic flavor is difficult to customize off the shelf.
It's a little confusing when you start to add in different objects into the application, as to which object to use or what are the best objects to use. Sometimes there are too many options. That's what would be better. I heard it's better with version 9. I haven't played with 9 too much, but I heard it's better with 9.
With the cloud solution, probably our biggest issue would be the customization that we would need to go along with the cloud solution. I haven't really gotten into that yet because I haven't had approval for cloud, for Datacap. I recently attended a conference to look at using Datacap in the cloud. We haven't tried it yet. Right now, we are just evaluating whether or not we want to go into the cloud for Datacap.
With FileNet, I think there is room for improvement with the ability to use it. It gets complex on how to integrate some of the solutions into what we currently have. At the end of the day, it’s just IT.
With Datacap, what would earn it a perfect rating is definitely the ability to create applications. Creating applications in Datacap is kind of cludgy. If they had a better way of doing that, I think I would probably move it more towards a perfect rating.
We couldn't run the silent install scripts.
Stability is great. It's actually gotten a lot better over the years, to be honest. We do have issues where, it's not the fault of IBM, but we integrate and customize things to work with the IBM products, which is sometimes hard to manage. Actually a big concern about going to the cloud is, how do we move those custom apps or custom batch scripts and things like that into the cloud as well? How do they integrate into the cloud? It's been a topic of discussion for us.
Scalability has always been fine. That's something that's planned upfront. We've never had an issue with scalability. With cloud, it's going to be easier, of course. When you have it on-prem, and you're using physical or virtual servers, it's more of a plan-ahead thing. With cloud, it's expand as you go, which is nice. Scaling has never been an issue as long as you have good planning upfront.
We usually go through our representatives and they, in turn, will use tier 2 and tier 3 technical support to help us. We get excellent service from them.
FileNet was already onboard when I started at this company. I was part of the decision process for Datacap only. We were not using something else. We were using Capture and we had to create a tool. We had to write our own application around Capture before it became Datacap. When we were scanning documents, we were creating batches and indexes based upon human input, as opposed to IC or OCR, which Datacap gives you. I was part of that decision.
I was involved in the initial setup of Datacap, but not with ICN. It was straightforward, even though the installs didn't install the way the instructions said to install them. We were able to work around it. We just couldn't install it silently. We had to install it manually, but we have 57 servers for the total solution, so it took us a little bit more time than we cared to use to install it. I'm not sure if that's fixed with the new version.
We considered another vendor’s solution, but I forget the other vendor's name.
We chose Datacap because it integrated with our current IBM system. We can go from Datacap right into the content engine. Our data has connectors into the content engine or to image services. At the time, it just seemed to make sense, to use something that can easily integrate with what we currently had.
I think the decision-making process took around three months. I wasn't involved with the other client. I was mostly involved with just the Datacap IBM piece of it; just only as a consultant. It took about three months to make a decision. I think the process took the normal length of time; it didn't go fast and it didn't go slow in my opinion.
We already had an in-house solution; what we wanted to get away with is not having our own in-house solution.
The most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor to work with are definitely stability, the ability to integrate, scalability, security, and ease of deployment. How easy is it to integrate with what we currently have?
Do the same route that you normally do. Do the evaluation and what works best for you. I don't really have any specific recommendations, such as saying, "Oh, it's better if you go this way or that way." Not all things are for all people.
You have to be very careful about what you choose because that's what you're going to have to live with. You want to make sure that it's configurable to what you currently have. Unless you're starting from scratch – which hardly anyone does these days – it has to integrate with what you currently have.
I haven't used other products because we chose these, but for us, the support and IBM’s ability to move the product forward has been great in my opinion. If someone were to ask me, "Can I recommend another product?", I probably couldn't, for what we use it for.
We are considering employing IBM on cloud, hybrid or Box solutions to reduce cost and to add functionality. Also, we are currently looking to expand our data centers and, as opposed to expanding physical data centers, going to cloud will give us the same ability to expand data across multiple data centers, as well as applications.
As far as new analytics or content management services that we're now able to provide for your organization, what we are implementing through Datacap is the ability to read script and signatures, to work with Docusign. We have it implemented, but not the new features of 9.0. We're also looking at implementing Box along with that.
We are doing a lot with Datacap. We are looking at unstructured data, not just scanned data - our unstructured data that comes through digital content, such as email - as well as scanning in previous documents, older documents, like contracts, that are usually written in paper. We're going to start incorporating those into Datacap, so that we can scrub them for data, do analytics on it. Datacap, for us, is becoming more of an integrated solution, not only just analytics, but also capturing and storing documents for the long term.
Regarding existing services that we're now able to provide better than before, we are just now bringing on Content Navigator. Content Navigator is going to be the forefront of pretty much everything. We use image services. We use PA. We use Datacap. Content Navigator is going to be at the forefront of that. For our image services solution, we're looking to go to the cloud. ICN will be on-prem, but it will be used for everything in the book; the cloud and what's on-prem.
We do not have any plans to include mobile, which is not to say that my clients don't. Mobile is not new to us. It's just that before, as an IBM solution, we haven't had the business push us to use mobile.
As far as how the experiences of your internal and or external customers have changed since implementing Datacap, I think it's really sparked their interest in learning, in knowing that there's more functionality out there that could be used. There’s more functionality that could be used with the application and looking at those functions. What we started to do is create services around those functions. Our clients have been very eager to start using those services. It has added something new, something it didn't have before.
Case Manager’s most valuable feature is its ability to store all of our documents in a single place that we can give the business lines access to. By business lines, I mean accounting, credit, finance, risks, sales; all of our partners and customers are working together. For example, for the legal department, we generate all the contracts. We need a place to store those, and also give people the ability to go back and search prior versions and legacy contracts, things like that. We're also looking at using the workflow tool. It's a new implementation that we're working on. We're really excited about the workflow capabilities that are built into it.
We're using this in conjunction with Emptoris Contract Manager; the authoring and management, full lifecycle, of a contract as well as the company repository that we can give the business lines access to.
We're looking at including mobile because we've got sales people and in, maybe, 130 countries. You’d want to give them the tools so that they can effectively do their job.
So far, usability has been pretty straightforward; it's good.
We're in the proof of concept stage right now. We haven't rolled it out yet. I think it's premature to make any remarks about organizational improvements.
I would probably like simpler admin screens, a simpler way to administer the product. ACCE and some of the other UI is not very intuitive for new users. If you think of the TurboTax workflow, something simpler like that would be awesome.
Overall, the Admin screens for Case Manager (accessed via the ACCE and other interfaces) are not intuitive for a novice user. I am fairly technical and catch on quickly, however the ACCE (and other) interfaces leave me wondering where to start, and what to do next, etc.
“Case Manager” is defined as the following:
Our setup is as follows: When a contract is executed in Emptoris, the connector pushes a copy over to Case Manager. We are also using the bulk upload facility in Emptoris, which also pushes a copy over to Case Manager.
My job is to get Case Manager (those items listed above) and Emptoris setup – adding contract classes, mapping metadata (properties), setting up security, etc. I do not setup the servers, network, firewalls, or other infrastructure. That is handled by our IT staff.
We also want to setup and use the workflow capabilities.
What I would like to see with any technology is a wrapper (or wizard) that asks: “What do you want to do?” and has several button options to choose from, like:
When you make a selection, it then walks you through all the programs, and based on what you select, presents the appropriate questions you can answer yes/no, choose from dropdown, select ratio button, etc. Then, the system can provision all of the necessary stuff in the background.
This should apply to all areas – Emptoris-Filenet Connector, Case Manager, Workflows, ACCE, etc.
I have been using it for several months.
So far, it's been very robust. We really haven't had any issues with it. It runs in a hardened data center.
There shouldn't be any scalability issues, based on the databases it sits upon.
I have used technical support a little bit. It's been going well.
We’re currently using SharePoint and direction came down from above that we needed to go to a new system and so they looked around. This is the one they chose, probably because of the feature functionality.
Comparing Case Manager to SharePoint is an apples-to-oranges comparison. We used some of the built-in features in SharePoint to generate contracts but it's not a contract management system like Emptoris is.
I wasn't part of the discussion to decide to go with the IBM solution. I was hired to run this for the business after they made the decision. I don't believe they considered building a solution in-house.
I'm in the legal department. We've got 120 attorneys and they're generating contracts in 130 countries. Just to get your arms around the management of all that is a pretty significant task. We started with Emptoris and then Case Manager kind of came along with it. Now we're looking at Case Manager and all the ways we can use that.
Initial setup is both straightforward and complex. If you're just thinking about Case Manager, it's probably not too complex. When you add Emptoris to it, it becomes very complex. There are a lot of moving parts. There's a lot of software. There are a lot of servers, ports, firewalls. It's a pretty extensive product. It just takes some time.
We're also looking at Box Solutions, for collaboration with external partners.
When selecting a vendor to work with, I look for a company that is reliable, responsive and easy to work with.
Look at all the different integrations and all the different products that it talks to. Look for a holistic solution, when you're integrating with Box and other front ends and back ends and so on. It's a lot easier to get something from one vendor than to try to cobble together different systems.
If this project goes successfully and everybody's happy, I would give this product a perfect rating.
Basically, we can govern our documents and all types of content securely with proper retention and disposition schedules, as well as provide access to all those who need it and to manage those.
It is usable. We like the Navigator platform. We plugged a number of things in that have been custom or unique to our line of business. It has worked very, very well.
We spend less time at filing cabinets. We spend less time searching for documents, wondering what the status of something is because it is on someone's desk or they are out of the office. Who knows where it is? We are looking for it in an in-basket, in their mailbox.
Everything is digitized, everything is online, it is accessible and you can get it immediately. It's just a time saver, which saves money.
We have considered IBM on cloud, hybrid, or box solutions, and we've implemented that because of some governance requirements that we have to keep certain documents on the premises of the country in which we are doing business. It has to be physically stored there. So, we do cloud, where those servers are hosted in that country. We are doing that.
There are absolutely new analytics services that we provide for your organization. Now that you have that data, especially for business processes, when does the document get submitted? How many times it was touched? Who touched it, where were the delays? Where were the bottlenecks? We can really find efficiencies in our processes, and make a difference in being more efficient.
We are able to provide all of the above existing services better than we had been able to before. One thing that really works well is self service. It seems like we are constantly generating new content, constantly developing new processes, where someone can launch a workflow or ingest a different or new type of document and bring that up to speed very, very quickly with the proper security, with the proper retention and those legal requirements. It's done very efficiently, and we can get the analytics on top of that, to say, what is going on with these documents? Where are they going? Who is touching them, the audit log, and so on.
We have included mobile with the Case Manager Mobile App. People are very, very busy. They are on the go. They are always in meetings. They are not at their desktops anymore. To have that data at their fingertips on their device of choice, where they are going lean, more lightweight, with a tablet or with a phone, not carrying a laptop around. You have to have an app that will search, find and deliver that content wherever they are.
I think we need to see less dependence on Java, and get away from those applets. Those things need to be fixes. They have the HTML5 viewer, but there are other aspects in Content Navigator that need to be elevated and moved off that to newer technology.
The print function, email links and so on are based on little Java applets. Process Administrator is all Java, so that's no longer going to be supported on Firefox; it’s no longer supported in Chrome. It's those types of things that need to be updated. I think that is on the road map, so I'm preaching to the choir.
Stability has been wonderful, absolutely wonderful. We have had no problems, whatsoever.
It’s absolutely scalable. We are a worldwide organization, operating in hundreds of countries. It's a big deal to be scalable.
We have used technical support just with PMRs and so on. Then we have our sales engineers that have been assigned to us that really have been wonderful and integrate with us well. Things are going very, very well. We have been pleased and it's been a wonderful partnership.
We were previously using an end-of-life product, Vignette Records & Documents. It was purchased by OpenText, and it was no longer being continued. We evaluated a number of different software options, partners and things, and finally it landed on being IBM FileNet.
Obviously, we were on another content management system, so we needed to migrate all of the old content to the new system, build those solutions, as well as capture solutions for those and all those kinds of things. It's been a good long journey, but very, very successful.
Initial setup was complex because of our requirements. The solution can be as simple or complex as you require it, depending on the business requirements. Ours were extensive and very, very complex. IBM was a great fit because of that, because we could handle a variety of processes that were very complex, and make those work.
We considered other solutions, but it has been so long, a few years, that I can't recall which ones, and things change. We have been pleased with IBM.
It was a just a matter of having a good decision process that consisted of knowing our requirements, plugging those in and seeing who came out on top. It was a process of about 4 or 5 months. It was quite extensive, a lot of research and due diligence there.
We thought about building a solution ourselves – we do have a robust IT shop – but we wanted an industry standard, we wanted to align ourselves with professionals that had been in the industry, that have worked with large corporations that knew more than we did, and we wanted to leverage that.
Know your processes, know your business requirements. It's one thing to technically be able to do something, but why do you need to do it. What is the business justification? Know those requirements and that will guide you to the right software, and the right implementation and the right partner.
When selecting a vendor to work with, the relationship is very, very important; that they respect what we do and understand our business. Also important is the industry reputation; that they have that experience, that they have that connection and are developing features that we don't have to request or customize it. They are built into the product.
The experiences of our internal and external customers have absolutely changed since implementing the solution. I think it is a pleasure to use the system, to manage the data. We are more organized, we are more agile, we have more information and we can react to that information better.
I'd have to say scalability is the most valuable feature. I know there are vendors out there that have products that are really good at collaboration and good at project work, but FileNet/IBM really excels when you get into the hundreds of thousands – the millions – of documents, and having some structure and some metadata on those documents.
Usability is pretty good, especially with Navigator. What I saw at a recent conference was a lot of people engaging the user experience people; usability testing. I think Content Navigator gives you the flexibility to do so much stuff with the layout that we can probably just push that to some team to figure out, and I don't have to worry about where some text box goes or some masking of a field or something. We can leave that to people for whom it’s their bread and butter.
I'm still a little new to this organization, but I think forcing users to use some sort of taxonomy, having users understand their data better, so they can classify it and retrieve it has improved this organization. The old way would be storing documents in a file system, in folders, and that's just chaos. It’s probably a little generic, but the big driver is having more control over that data.
We are considering employing IBM on cloud, hybrid or box solutions. I think we have resource constraints. We have some people that might be retiring, so I'm looking toward augmenting our team in whatever ways we can, including cloud, hybrid cloud, and so on.
We're still working on providing analytics and reporting services for my organization. Reporting is one of the areas that we've fallen a little bit behind in ECM. We're just not there yet, but we're definitely looking at that.
We're now able to provide better content management services than had existed before.
I think a lot of the internal and external customer experiences have gotten better, just at a high level, due to our implementation of FileNet, going from a bunch of weird VB6 and PowerBuilder client server apps to something that is distributed computing and can scale out, scale up, etc.
I think performance has improved, and then also that relates to supportability. If you have a bunch of client server apps, you have a lot of people that need to work on a desktop team to support them. I think there's some value there.
I think we're looking at including mobile. I honestly don't know the business side a whole lot. I'm more involved with the infrastructure, but I know we're looking at mobile. We've played around with ICN Mobile. I know we'll probably be doing Datacap at some point.
We would like to see some more basic reporting built into the core, such as content engine and so on. I know there's some stuff around reporting based on Case Analyzer, which used to be Process Analyzer; stuff with workflow. I would like to see more content reporting baked into the product.
Also, this might be coming, but it seems like five years ago, somebody did a session at a conference on security proxies. I saw the same session again at a recent conference. Somebody else found out how to do it; it's really kind of an obscure workaround. I would like to see IBM bake that into the content platform engine. It would allow dynamic security updates of millions of objects with a click of a button rather than actually hitting each individual object.
Stability is another area where it shines. You can install it on Linux, WebSphere, J2EE. You can scale it really hardcore. If you do it right, it's pretty solid.
Technical support is pretty good. It's a crap shoot. It depends on the engineer that you get. Some of them are really good and go above and beyond. For some of them, it's actually more like training; they're helping you with implementation. The other ones delineate the work. One of the frustrations that everybody has is, if they want to delay you, they just keep asking for additional logs: "Can you give me your logs? I want logs from this, this, this. Turn on tracing. Do this." They kind of nickel-and-dime you to death. It really does depend on the engineer that you get in support.
It’s something I want to see improved. I would like to see the engineers that do go above and beyond rewarded for that. I think, back in the FileNet days, all the surveys just went back to a big pool; individual engineers weren't rated on their individual performance. I'm not sure if that's the case anymore. This was 10 years ago. I hope that is the case, so when I fill out those surveys, I hope that goes back to reflect on the engineers themselves.
I was not involved in the decision process to invest in FileNet. I was in the private sector for 10 years, and two-and-a-half years in the public sector, and they've always had FileNet. I would be a supporter of it, but I'd definitely push for the Linux platform, Linux WebSphere. I'll go with SQL Server; I don't like Oracle that much, but people seem to like it.
Initial setup is fairly straightforward, if you're familiar with the J2EE world. It's gotten a lot better over the years. We're not even talking about 3.5, but 4.5, 5.2, 5.2.1 were pretty easy to install. Oracle's always a nightmare. I think the IBM ECM suite is pretty easy to install.
Look at the cloud and hybrid cloud. I don't know a whole lot about other solutions such as OnBase or Documentum. I've heard things, but I can't really evaluate. Look at the cloud; whatever you can offload, be it storage or whatever and so on, to save money, would be cool.
I have rated it to reflect where it excels, such as scalability.
There was a quote from one of the sessions at a recent conference. I think it was IBM's CEO. “Where you invest the money, your house is in order,” or something like that. I think that is how I look at FileNet. You use SharePoint for project content that's around for a short period of time, but for your system of record, your system of authority, that’s where you spend the money. It's where you force users to properly classify things, so it's not a garbage-in, garbage-out situation.
The most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor to work with, if we're just talking about vendors that help out doing migrations and so on, I like case references. Generally, I'm pretty familiar with people I've worked with in the past. When I was in the private sector, I talked to some people at Fairfax. They helped us out. They did a great job. I would use them in the future.
I saw something at a recent conference that used Imagine Solutions. It looks like they had a really good experience. That, to me, means everything; just that reference account, essentially.
The most valuable feature is being able to just capture the different pieces within a document, being able to classify them and get the document going into the right back-end solution.
It has allowed us to take all of our faxes and put them directly into our systems versus having to print them off first and then scan them in. It's greatly sped up our front-end processing. It's made us a lot more efficient.
We are not considering employing IBM on cloud, hybrid or box solutions, at this time, although we are starting to look at it. We don't have the latest and greatest Datacap. We're hoping to be able to see some of those on the cloud, and be able to say, "Oh yeah. That's what we need," and then work, kind of as another extension of our systems. We have a test system, a QA system and a production system, and we would like to be able to see a system with the latest and greatest of Datacap and then ask, can we use it?
There are definitely new analytics services that we're able to provide to your organization now. We’re now able to see our documents going through, the process, how fast they’re going through. Some of our documents are time-based, so we're able to say, "Yup, they made it through the system in this amount of time."
Some of our SLAs on our documents have been greatly improved. We're able to show and prove that our SLAs are working and that we're getting our documents in on specific times.
The documents we're putting through the system has greatly increased. Our internal and external customers are using Datacap in a totally different way. Their jobs have changed tremendously because in the past they were doing a lot more indexing and so on, and now they don't have to.
We do not have plans to include mobile, at this time.
Datacap is a very complex system. There are Taskmasters, there's Rulerunner, there are all these different pieces. It seems to me that these pieces were written by different people, although I don't know the newest and latest and greatest; we're on 8.1. It would seem that they could kind of converge them into one big package. Save on one screen is not necessarily a save on another screen, right now anyway. Make it comprehensive and the same across all parts of the tool. It is very much an ease-of-use issue.
It's very powerful, but it's also very complex. Make it easier to use.
Our Datacap system has been great. It's stable; very, very stable. We've had one down time and IBM was able to step in and get us up as quick as they could. It was a very good showing of IBM's capabilities of helping us.
We're able to scale. We've got two Rulerunner servers now. We're going to add two more; very easy to scale.
We have used technical support a few times. It’s very good; excellent on their tech support.
I was involved in the decision process to invest in Datacap from the technical side, but not as an overall yes or no kind of a thing.
We were previously using a different system, RRI, that actually got bought out by a bigger company and they made it very difficult to actually work with. That's why we ended up looking for something else.
Initial setup was complex, but I think it was the BlueCross side that was complex, working through all of our security and networking, and so on.
It's been a while since we did the research. We actually brought Datacap in before it was bought by IBM. We've had it for a while. I know we looked at it and a few other solutions. I think Documentum was one of them. I don't remember, and I don't know necessarily why. The architects liked the technology of Datacap enough that they decided that was where we should go.
It was BlueCross that slowed down the decision-making process. We were looking for a system that could do some of our documents all on its own in the background and Datacap was able to do that: take in our faxes; turn around and do stuff with them that no other system could do; and then just get the data we needed off of them and send them on their way, without us having to do anything with them.
I think it took six months to a year to decide what we were going to do with it.
We did not consider building a solution in-house.
Depending on what you’re looking for, I think Datacap does a really good job. I'm looking at some of the mobile stuff and it looks very cool. I wish we were getting into more of the mobile because I would like to see that. Depending on where or the way you are looking, I would say, look closely at Datacap. I think it's a really good tool.
It's very powerful. It does what it's cut out to do.
Speed of the build and being easy to work with are the most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor to work with. They don’t have to be local; that didn’t seem to be an issue. Our last application was built by IBM and professional services did a great job.