Sandy's Turn: IBM BPM Analyst Day

  • October 22, 2012
  • Scott

So we’ve covered Jim Sinur’s thoughts, and we’ve covered Bruce Silver’s.  Now it is time to take a look at what Sandy Kemsley had to say about it.

The short version: Sandy gives the overall approach of analyst day and the IBM strategy a thumbs up.  David Millen, the new VP of BPM and DM (taking over for Phil Gilbert) gets good marks.  But regarding Case Manager, Sandy has some concerns:

I see that it’s a fundamental problem that FileNet/Case Manager is in a completely separate software business unit within IBM: I’ve been saying for a while that integration between the products would be easier if they were all part of the same group. Bruce Silver later referred to the lack of information about Case Manager as the elephant in the room: in his opinion, the one gaping whole in the content at today’s sessions.

As an outsider, I’d say the writing is on the wall here.  I don’t have any inside scoop, but from where I’m sitting, BPM and ODM is the center of gravity.  The fact that Case Manager is on the FileNet side is slowing IBM down from doing what everyone knows is the right thing to do – making it a consistent and coherent piece of the BPM / ODM story, just as they did with WPS and ILOG (and a few other technologies).


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  • Once again in my meanderings I stumble across some prognostication from the not-so-distant past. One the one hand I’d love to see a consolidated, collapsed process engine. On the other hand, per a forum discussion here at Insight this past Monday morning it’s not going to happen, nor is Case Manager and Case Foundation (nee FileNet) going to go away. Why? Install Base. On the FileNet side of the house legacy Image Services has been out there for over thirty years and will continue to be so for the very same reason.

    The install base on these platforms is very, very large. On the content side of the house Big Blue dwarfs everybody else out there put together. Documentum and OpenText would ‘like’ to believe they’re still big dawgz, but “no,” not really. Not by scale of relativity. And on the content side of the house it’s Case Manager and Content Foundation (again, FileNet) in tandem.

    • 100% agree on the content side. On the case side: IBM’s approach has hindered adoption. The writing may be on the wall but no one is reading it 😉 And IBM will continue to invest in two parallel efforts. Implementing case on top of the BPM engine w/ filenet backing is trivial (from a technical point of view) but apparently not from a “how IBM works” point of view. 3 years later… don’t see the progress on making this easy. If these were part of the same business unit (they still aren’t) this would be easy to resolve. BPM and ODM play really well together and came from two separate acquisitions and had plenty of room for overlap (looking at other vendors).

      But in the BPM/ODM case, reconciliation was done, “rules” were pulled out of BPM and consolidated in the ODM tech stack, and vice versa w.r.t. process. Same sort of thing should happen with respect to process and content (and BPM / Filenet). and rules and content (ODM/Filenet). And if done right, no damage to the install base. That should always be part of IBM’s goal and the benefit of working with them.

      • Problem with that is there’s a lot of IBM clients out there who run FileNet (Content/Case Foundation), ICM and BPM all and the never-ending question is “which one should I use” with the equally never-ending “it depends.” On ODM, that iLog under the hood and that was actually a FileNet acquisition c.2004 and it – jRules – is still under the hood on Case Foundation (FileNet Process Engine) as well. No one wants to jump to the big boy ODM ’til they really have a lot of rules, at least not from the legacy FileNet side. I can hit those rules from within ICM and externally via WSI both.

        • my understanding is ILOG was bought by IBM, not filenet, c. 2008. perhaps it was embedded/oem’ed by filenet in 2004?

          similar approach it sounds like to the BPM product – there are rules included (implemented by the ilog successor engine/code), but the3 opportunity to upgrade to ODM as needed. But you don’t have a BPM rules engine / etc. that has separate progeny from the ODM rules engine / etc. 🙂 (at least so far! )

          Agree with the never-ending question and the never-ending answer. Just think IBM would be cleaner on this with clear responsibilities for process, rules, and content. (or wrap them up together but i can’t see that happening as they each also have value stand-alone)