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The small impact of business rules on the big players


Jim Sinur brought up an interesting point today when he blogged IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP have bought Business Rule Technology. What’s up with that? The big players seem to be toying with business rules – there’s plenty of activity but not much understanding or commitment.

  • SAP bought Yasu but until recently did not show much sign of “getting” the potential (though Sandy’s post on a recent SAP presentation sounds more hopeful)
  • IBM is going to buy ILOG but we don’t have many details and the issue of how the WebSphere and Information Management/FileNet groups will integrate rules into their stories remains an open issue – there are folks at IBM who get it but concerns among watchers that the two groups will not make it work between them and only one piece (probably WebSphere) will end up with rules.
  • Oracle bought Haley/Ruleburst but has made it clear that its platform products for BPM/SOA will continue to use their JESS-based rules implementation and Decision Service API. This raises an interesting question about Oracle’s future plans – another acquisition (Blaze Advisor, say) or development of their own (as Savvion did recently) as part of the Fusion plans .
  • Microsoft meanwhile remains completely opaque with little bits of this and that as well as at least one company (InRule) with a perfect product should Microsoft decide to buy something.

So, will any of them “get it”? If so which one(s)? Guess we will have to wait and see but we live in interesting times…


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Paul Vincent November 21, 2008, 8:17 am

    I had to smile at this as it sounds like the same story for these vendors’ CEP offerings:
    SAP – Yasu roadmap suggests interest in the business events direction, although they have already done research using a different rule engine.
    IBM – Acquired Aptsoft for their business-CEP offering, but have at least 2 other CEP tools (not including anything Ilog-based that might come out).
    Oracle – Acquired, and is promoting, BEA’s CEP tool – itself based on an open source CEP offering; but already had some home-grown tooling and could well acquire one of the smaller vendors in this space
    Microsoft – not playing so far, but there is at least one .NET CEP tool that might get itself acquired.

    As you said – we live in interesting times!

    [Disclosure: we at TIBCO consider a common platform for event-driven business rules *and* CEP to be the best approach…]


  • Bhupendra November 23, 2008, 8:04 pm

    This is a great news. And its all good for Analytics Industry. With the entry of these biggies, certainly the competition will increase and take industry to one level up.
    I got chance to use Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services and SQL Server Analytics Services few weeks back. Its really exciting on how they are coming up. Whole of the reporting can be done now, and MS is moving up the value chain with predictive models and rules (insider said).

    IBM, Infosys, Wipro, TCS, Accenture etc. all have BI and Analytics Team now. And they are focusing on productizing them very soon. Business Rules Technology will be a big component of their product. This is sure to give a tough time for established EDM companies like Fair ISaac.

    Interesting post. Thank you.

    — Bhupendra

  • Mannes Neuer December 1, 2008, 2:26 pm

    The evolution of rules platforms from discrete, service-based utility software to assume a more pervasive role in the enterprise is only good news for the clients of IBM, Oracle, SAP and others. The issue of interchange standards for rules will start to become paramount as organizations will want to mine rules from legacy applications and retool them into a modernized enterprise architecture in a consistent and reliable fashion.

  • Paul Vincent December 4, 2008, 9:37 am

    “The issue of interchange standards for rules will start to become paramount”

    Very true. James has blogged on rule standards before – the interchange work is being done as W3C RIF and rule modeling as OMG PRR.

    [Disclosure: rule engine vendors like us are involved in both efforts].