IBM FileNet Re-Emerges

For years now, the term ‘legacy’ ECM system has been synonymous with the word FileNet, the firm purchased by IBM back in 2006. It’s a product set with a long history and was, at one time, the most significant player in the market with Documentum (despite better name recognition) always lagging in second place. FileNet was and remained one of the cornerstones of ECM, with massive deployments of it running across the world, particularly in Financial Services.

But over the past few years, it has become a key target for its competitors. The perception, partly correct, was that IBM had ignored it and that the remaining installations of the system were ripe for replacement. In short, the industry perception was that FileNet was dead and that IBM had exited the ECM market and saw its remaining business as a cash cow to milk to exhaustion. And it is easy to see how that perception arose, as IBM was it’s own worst enemy for years as it figured out how to move forward. That all being said, FileNet is not dead. Indeed just this past week, a quick start option on AWS was released for the product. Without a doubt, FileNet P8 is an older legacy system, like any other legacy system it has its challenges. But it does not represent the entirety of the IBM portfolio. Furthermore, IBM remains a significant player with big ambitions to come out of the shadows to strike back in 2020. 

To quote my colleague, Connie Moore in her recently published IBM Vendor Vignette…”IBM is a formidable competitor in the digital process automation market and the information management space. It has years of experience fusing process automation with enterprise content management, content capture, business rules, decision support, and now also RPA and AI/ML for process automation that transforms back-office and customer-facing processes.”

In full disclosure, we, too, had seen IBM as a former rather than a current market mover. Due to the many changes, shifts, and opacity of its content and process business. But the team now leading this division has given us pause for thought. IBM is a massive company with a powerhouse of technology in its portfolio. And now having had a much closer look at what they are up to, we watch with interest as 2020 begins to unfold. Challenges remain, not least is fighting off the now deeply embedded perceptions, but the future for IBM in content and process looks interesting. You can read more in the report here.

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