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DIALOG The roadmap

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On now to the roadmap, at least at a high level.

Right now there is the normal post-acquisition “blue wash” going on and by Q2 will deliver IBM versions of all ILOG’s products and, obviously IBM’s global sales force and Global Services are being spun up. The core of the roadmap is to move the BRMS into the SOA foundation but Tom Rosamilia is also responsible for industry frameworks built on the SOA foundation and sees optimization, and rules, fitting in many of these. Sensors and RFID are another focus area of his and the ability to control this matters which again means more rules.

The IBM and ILOG folks said that cross-group sharing is working well. Things like DB2, visualization, WebSphere are widely used in IBM products and services and they expect ILOG’s products to likewise proliferate. There is no internal cross-charging so the products are free to each other. As a result there is lots of energy behind using the products.

For instance, the industry frameworks are all built on the SOA foundation. The frameworks are driven by use cases from clients and we can expect to see more and more use of rules and optimization. Similarly the Cognos group is also working with the ILOG folks and the Rational group is working on how rules might play in legacy modernization. They have no details to announce but lots of work ongoing.

Some specific questions came up:

  • What are IBM’s plans for Rules for .Net?
    Supporting Windows is a big thing in IBM and .Net is supported and embraced in several places – in the Rational tools for instance. There is no plan to drop the .Net product  – they plan to gain as much .Net market share as possible. They have no plans to make rules available only as part of WebSphere. They do expect to see more customers make “platform” decisions but not to the exclusion of best-of-breed sales.
  • Will there be changes to ILOG’s Roadmap?
    Because they see opportunities, for instance by bringing rules to CICS, the roadmap has to be a little different from when the products were just part of ILOG. That said, lots of integration work was already done as part of the partnering ILOG and IBM had done so there is not expected to be a lot of delay while integration is completed.
  • What about visualization?
    Sandy is excited about the visualization products too. For instance a demonstration of the integration of visualization with the BPM suite got a great reaction.
  • What about data mining and predictive analytics and integration of those with rules/optimization?
    I blogged about what I perceived as an attitude problem in IBM about data mining and predictive analytics. Right now IBM partners for these capabilities. Tom sees that integrating data mining and analytics into processes is hard because the groups are very different – you need a people confluence as well as a technology one. He sees IBM as having more to do but the timing may not be right. Today IBM is focused on finding example customers to see how they are making this work.
  • Will there be layoffs?
    IBM clearly sees ILOG as a growth acquisition and plans to add staff and expand footprint with the possible exception of G&A staff where there is typically some overlap. They don’t expect to see any serious number of layoffs as a result.
  • What about the Supply Chain Applications?
    ILOG and the Logic Tools acquisition were increasingly focused on supply chain applications not just the tools. This continues to be a focus now optimization is part of IBM.

More specifics are needed, obviously, but it sounds good so far.

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