Interview with Lee Roberts, CEO and Chairman, FileNet

My interview today is with Lee Roberts, CEO and Chairman of Costa Mesa-based FileNet. FileNet is one of the great high tech successes in the area, and unique as it has remained a large and independent software firm. Lee is being awarded the Software Council of Southern California's Lifetime Achievement Award tomorrow at the group's annual Software Industry Awards ( is a sponsor), so I thought it would be interesting to hear from Lee about the company and its success.

BK: Thanks for the interview, and congratulations on the Lifetime Award from the Software Council. For those who aren't familiar with FileNet, what's FileNet all about, and how do you fit into the document management space?

LR: Thank you for the honor.

Years ago, FileNet pioneered imaging and workflow because we believed that the value to the customer is not just in document management but also in process management. FileNet has since led the evolution of the Enterprise Content Management software sector. The ECM market comprises much more that document management; it comprises business process management, records management, email management, web content management and more. This market thrives - driven by the proliferation of content, corporate efficiency demands, and compliance requirements.

Today, as the leader of ECM, we provide solutions to 4000 customers globally - in financial services, insurance, government, telecom and utilities - helping customers make better decisions faster by managing an organization's most critical information and putting that information to work through automated processes. With FileNet, an organization can tap the right information at the right time to react quickly to market changes, customer request, or strategic decision-making. We've helped our customers realize significant results and hard ROI, such as reducing critical process from 7 to 2 days, accessing files in 2 seconds rather than 2 weeks, and handling 30% more work with 15% less staff.

Our strength in the marketplace is defined by these customer successes, our high customer loyalty and our leading FileNet P8 platform, which offers robust, single architecture of comprehensive ECM/BPM solutions. FileNet is well positioned as the leader to meet customer needs and excel in the market.

BK: FileNet is one of the bigger software companies in Southern California, and one of the rare Southern California independents that didn't sell out early to a bigger company. Why did FileNet decide to go it alone, and has that been positive or negative for FileNet?

LR: FileNet has enjoyed 22 years of remarkable achievements: we transformed from a hardware company to a software company; we transformed from a limited provider to a global enterprise; we transformed from an imaging provider to the leader of the ECM market. Through innovation, resilience and adaptability, FileNet has thrived on its own and successfully competed against tough, larger competitors.

BK: Many people claim that in this current environment it's going to be tough to build a large software business. Do you think that's true, and what's your perspective on building a successful software business in today's business climate?

LR: Building a large software company is not unlike building any viable business. It's predicated on your ability to show unique value and build strong, loyal relationships with your customers. At FileNet, we've been able to do this through our proven return on investment, providing customers with solutions that address their business needs. Today's business climate is fast paced and to be successful you must act with a sense of urgency, however, successful organizations are those that also take the time to work with their customers to understand their needs. Then, act undauntedly in their pursuit of developing products that address real world issues across their customer's enterprises.

BK: Thanks, and congrats on the award!


More Headlines