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IndustryComputer software
FateAcquired by IBM (2006)
Number of locations
Costa Mesa, California, Paris, France and Wimbledon Village, England and Bad Homburg, Germany and Sydney, Australia.
Key people
Lee Roberts, CEO
Ted Smith, Chairman and Founder
ProductsFileNet P8 Platform

FileNet, a company acquired by IBM, developed software to help enterprises manage their content and business processes. The FileNet P8 platform, their flagship system, is a framework for developing custom enterprise systems, offering much functionality out of the box and capable of being customized to manage a specific business process.

Based in Costa Mesa, California, the company markets Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Business Process Management (BPM) solutions[buzzword] in more than 90 countries through its own global sales, services and support organizations, as well as via its ValueNet Partner network of resellers, system integrators and application developers.

The Early Years[edit]

FileNet was founded in 1982 by Ted Smith formerly of Basic 4. Ted saw the potential of the new laserdisc technology to hold the massive amount of data required by scanned images to implement a storage and retrieval system paired with programmed workflow routing that would efficiently replace the manual file folder systems and mail cart routing of the day. The early laserdiscs by Hitachi Systems held 2.6 GB of data which was massive when compared with the Rimfire magnetic media drives holding 150 MB. FileNet designed and built their own Optical Storage and Retrieval (OSAR) laserdisc jukeboxes holding 64 laserdiscs, their own FileNet Distributed Operating System (FDOS), all to run on their own server hardware base on the powerful Motorola 68000 series processors with 8 to 32 MB of RAM. The networking subsystem implemented the Xerox Network Standard (XNS) with Network Clearing House (NCH) as the directory service. The first systems shipped to beta customers in 1985 was FDOS version 1.6 with 1.8 released in 1986 and 2.2 in 1987. The early systems also included a limited workflow scripting system which was rewritten in the late 1980's to be Windows PC based and supported full language features.

Open systems[edit]

In the early 1990s, FileNet introduced a more "open" version of its WorkFlo Business System software, the Series 6500, that ran on the IBM RS/6000 platform and the AIX operating system. The networking software utilized TCP/IP but used FileNet's proprietary application protocols. For Olivetti, a special port of the software to System V, Release 4 running on an Intel 80486 multi-CPU Olivetti LSX5000 platform was developed. With the movement to standard PC hardware running Microsoft Windows, FileNet added support for the PC as a client platform with its WorkForce Desktop software. Its old workstation line was phased out for standard hardware and software as demanded by the customers.

Acquisition of Watermark, Saros and Greenbar[edit]

FileNet acquired Saros Corporation in 1995 for its electronic document management. FileNet also acquired Watermark Software, a document imaging solution, Watermark Enterprise and Ensemble, and a Windows-based COLD product called Greenbar. This would help FileNet become the first document management company to have a complete "Integrated Document Management" suite with document imaging, electronic document management, COLD and workflow offerings. Around the same time, FileNet delivered their own internally developed entry-level system called Workgroup. The Watermark products were retired by 1999.

In the mid-1990s, FileNet's WorkFlow Business System had evolved into Visual WorkFlo, one of the first workflow solutions[buzzword] with a graphical interface for process modeling.


As a result of their Integrated Document Management strategy, FileNet rebranded the entire product line — the original IMS products, the Saros products, and the newly developed client IDM products — as the Panagon software suite in 1998.

The Panagon Suite included the following products:

  • Panagon Image Services (high-end imaging solution[buzzword] formerly known as IMS)
  • Panagon Content Services (EDM solution[buzzword], previously known as Saros Mezzanine)
  • Panagon Report Manager (COLD solution[buzzword] formerly known as Greenbar)
  • Panagon Desktop (new client interface created for the Panagon Suite)
  • Panagon Web Services (new web interface with a common code base with Panagon Desktop; replaced Saros @Mezzanine)
  • Panagon eProcess (Workflow Automation Solution[buzzword] built on top the Visual WorkFlo engine)

In January 2001 FileNet released Acenza as an entrée into the applications marketplace. Acenza was not broadly adopted and was later rebranded as FileNet Case Manager for Image Management (CMIM).


In January 2002 FileNet announced BrightSpire, an application that was eventually rebranded as FileNet P8 ECM. There are a number of FileNet P8 ECM suites that leveraged the experience gained from integrated document management, web content management, and workflow into an integrated Enterprise Content Management (ECM) platform. In addition, it took the Workflow products and further developed analysis and optimization components with the Panagon Process Analyzer and Process Simulator, respectively. This enabled organizations to analyze and improve processes. This move took FileNet into the Business Process Management field (BPM), and it is regarded as a leader in this growing area.[citation needed]

In April 2002, FileNet acquired Bethesda, MD based eGrail Corporation to add Web Content Management (WCM) to both the Panagon and FileNet P8 ECM families of products.

In April 2003, FileNet added eForms capabilities to the Panagon and P8 products with the acquisition of long time form software vendor Shana Corporation of Edmonton, Canada.

Also in 2003, FileNet extended the P8 suite extending compliance capabilities with the P8 Records Manager solution[buzzword] which helps companies solve regulatory compliance and records issues. In 2004 FileNet added Team Collaboration Manager, built on the P8 platform it is an out-of-the box solution[buzzword] that helps organizations to be more agile and competitive by allowing virtual team members to work together across functional and geographical areas.

Late in 2005, FileNet acquired Yaletown Technology Group of Canada, formerly a FileNet ValueNet Partner; this allowed them to further their capabilities in managing different types of content in the FileNet P8 ECM platform with the Email Manager product (which they had been exclusively marketing in an OEM agreement and was formerly sold as eCW) and furthered their reach into compliance with Records Crawler, formerly known as Universal File Importer or UFI.

They also extended their Business Process Management capabilities releasing the Business Activity Monitor (BAM) solution[buzzword], which provided real-time event management and visibility of business performance data to enhance operational responsiveness and decision making.

On August 10, 2006, IBM agreed to acquire FileNet for US$1.6 billion in cash (about US$35 per share).[1] The transaction closed on October 12, 2006.

P8 Versions and Editions[edit]

Version Release Date Ownership
3.5.x Dec 21, 2005 FileNet
4.0.x Mar 15, 2007 FileNet
4.5.x Dec 12, 2008[2] IBM
5.0.x Dec 16, 2010 IBM
5.1.x Aug 26, 2011 IBM
5.2.0 Apr 12, 2013[3] IBM
5.2.1 Oct 28, 2014[4] IBM
5.5.0 Dec 7, 2017[5] IBM
5.5.1 Jun 28, 2018[6] IBM
5.5.2 Dec 13, 2018[7] IBM


  1. ^ Schneiderman, R.M. (August 11, 2006). "IBM Buying Spree Continues With FileNet Acquisition (Forbes)". Archived from the original on July 28, 2011. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  2. ^ IBM United States Software Announcement 208-382
  3. ^ IBM FileNet Content Manager V5.2 delivers new social content management features and enterprise management capabilities
  4. ^ IBM Case Foundation V5.2.1 delivers reduced complexity
  5. ^ IBM Enterprise Content Management delivers new capabilities for IBM Content Foundation V5.5
  6. ^ FileNet P8 V5.5.1 release notes
  7. ^ FileNet P8 V5.5.2 release notes


External links[edit]