If you were talking to someone whose organization is considering IBM Business Automation Workflow, what would you say?
How would you rate it and why? Any other tips or advice?
We being a government organization, our options are to select the product to open bidding. At this time this product is being rolled out in the initial phase of implementation with the intention of going company-wide. So at this point, it's too early to switch to some other product. This is a product that I would recommend to others who are interested in using it. I would rate IBM Business Automation Workflow a seven out of ten.
IBM Business Automation Workflow is a good tool provided you can use it cross-platform where there are a lot of features. Another good thing, which other products, like Pega and Oracle don't have, is that it is a very optimizing solution providing the IBM BPM process orchestration. On a scale of one to ten, I would give IBM Business Automation Workflow a nine. Since I have been working with multiple vendors on multiple projects in the billion dollar project range, I see that it works for end-to-end functionality. It provides a solution for integration orchestration. This solution is for any organization in the banking, telecommunications, healthcare, manufacturing, and all domains and industries.
I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.
Decide what you are looking to do and make sure that this solution does that before you go for it. I would rate it a six out of ten. To make it a higher score, it should be less complex.
My advice for anybody who is implementing this product is to be sure to fully understand the processes that you want to automate. This has to be done in advance of starting. Also, according to their plan, the license model should be worked out properly. I would rate this solution a six out of ten.
The solution is like a chart on the overall operations of our organization. We use it every day. It's a part of our processes. It's used every minute. A company that is considering implementing it must make sure they have people on staff that have the right skill sets from day one to manage the solution. I would suggest if there isn't someone well versed in IBM, that someone gets training before the implementation process. I'd rate the solution eight out of ten.
The hybrid solution is something very good. We promote it to the client to try it out. It is great holistic, end-to-end tool, which is why I recommend it. For the IBM portfolio, we have DBA, ODM, and BPM. They are very good for scalability and performance. They are also pretty stable right now. We have third-party applications too. For integration, we are exposing our APIs, then they are consuming them. So, most of them are REST APIs. Within the VPN, we have connectors that we are using. We do have plans to expand our use of automation. I will be attending the technical tracks. In the technical track, I would like to explore all the components specific to AI, which is very hot in the market with our clients. They want to how AI can help them and how automation plays a role.
Don't choose a product until you've actually tried to build a simple workflow by yourself. Our business users have fairly good usability. The Salient team wrote the SparkUI components, that we use, which allow us to really create a better user experience. We found that a lot of our processes were very similar, then we were able to generalize them in a way that we didn't expect. The integration process is fair and normal. I did the tech track for the first session, then the business level track for the second. The thing that I learned in the tech track was they talked about these things called emitters: this idea of data admission. So, I'm excited to try to use the dashboards that they were talking about.
It is pretty usable. There is still a market for people like us, which means that it is not 100 percent usable. There are also some really good accelerators in the market to even increase the usability. In general, it is very usable. As long as you have a good understanding of the process, know what you are doing, and are not falling into pitfalls, then the tool is easy enough to use. It's pretty low code. The solution helped us with compliance or governance issues to some extent, but it is not really something that we internally use it for. I've seen it in several use cases external to our consultancy where that is the case. The integration process is great. Every integration is unique and has its whole gamut of complexities. In general, it has the tools there to make the integration simpler and a lot more straightforward. The tools exist: Web Service connectors, subconnectors, drag and drop REST calls and SQL calls. The components are there, but that doesn't mean it's just going to work. I've seen this happen several times, but I don't think that is any fault of the tool. I have seen a lot of use cases where it does have an effect on decision-making. We do automation projects with this tool for a living. However, internally, it sort of depends on if we have a use case that fits the tool. If we have some resources that are available to sort of build something like that, then I will use it. The vision of the product is very good. They are on the right path. The emerging case in process is a no-brainer, Anybody who has been in this space for awhile realizes that processes aren't structured or unstructured, and there is a lot of fluidity. While the vision is there, I just don't think it's quite there yet. This goes back to that there is a pretty strong disconnect between the case functionality and process functionality. Biggest lesson learned: How to visualize processes and visualize improvement areas/problem areas. I really like that the tool is visual. E.g., if you get a chart that is expressing some sort of information to you, and until you can interpret the chart, you can't really act on that information. The visual component of the product: seeing processes, flow lines, boxes as are activities, swim lanes, and all these BPM concepts, which are visually displayed throughout the application, helps you understand what is happening. It helps me bring myself up to speed. I can go into an organization that has complex processes with no explanation. By just using this tool, I can pretty well understand what is going on. I might have some questions like, "Why did you do that?" I might not know how they got there, but I know what the organization does.
The biggest lesson I've learned using this solution is to start small and show success with a smaller-scale process application. Start on the cloud, start small, and focus on your customer experience before the technical requirements. We have integrated the solution with other solutions. It was a positive process for compatible and built-in integrations, and limited for more broad, generally-available integrations. I would rate this solution at six out of ten because it needs to evolve and transform more quickly than it actually is, as compared to its competitors. And there is still a relatively high total cost of ownership to actually implement, support, and stand up solutions.
Start taking advantage of all the features that have been given as part of this product. Sometimes - especially the DBAs - they will execute it as an IT project. More than that, they should start using it from a holistic perspective. How can this bring value to the whole organization? It's like a double-edged knife: If you don't know how to use it, it might come back to haunt you and hurt you. But the way they have implemented it, evolved it, it's actually helping us to improve and provide plug-and-play. We find that if it is not going to go well, if we need to create more APIs to overwrite some solutions, then we can actually do plug-and-play as well. I would rate Business Automation Workflow at eight out of ten. Compared to other products, this one has actually evolved a lot, and they have brought a lot of value with it, especially adapting to the rapid expansion of industry.