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IBM and ILOG – Simpler, more agile processes


I am going to be attending ILOG’s DIALOG ’09 user group next month and I thought I would build up to it by posting my thoughts on some of the opportunities IBM has as it integrates ILOG’s technology into its product portfolio. Today is the first one in this series – the opportunity to use ILOG’s JRules product to buid simpler, more agile processes.

IBM has some solid process management tools – WebSphere Process Server and FileNet. Although IBM presents FileNet as a document management solution, both are able to manage the steps and dependencies of business processes. This kind of BPM creates real value through process automation and workflow definition and management. IBM’s focus on SOA as a platform for BPM is another strong feature. Integrating ILOG JRules with Process Server will help push IBM’s BPM solution forward into the next generation. Next generation BPM recognizes decisions as reusable assets, and replaces decision points with Decision Services. Decision services eliminate manual reviews, allow decision processes and data to changed independent of process changes, puts business users in control, and provide an ideal place to add business rules, data mining or optimization.

IBM will, I am sure, tightly integrate ILOG JRules with WebSphere Process Server – ensuring that data models and integration components can be shared, for instance. The opportunity for IBM is to do so in a way that allows decision management across processes (not just rule management within processes) and that brings the business-user into the decision management loop. For instance IBM can:

  • Make sure Business Modeler understands what a decision service is and how it can and should be built into business models so that the models are ready to exploit business rules
  • Make sure that Industry Models and Process Templates take maximum advantage of decision management by replacing decision points in those processes with decision services
  • Include rule maintenance components built using JRules in Business Space mashups so business users can collaborate on their processes and their decisions
  • Integrate audit trails between Process Server and JRules so that execution traces can show what was done and what was decided to ensure compliance
  • Make it easy for business users to see how a change to the process or a change to the decisions within that process will let them respond to change

More this week and next. If you are coming to DIALOG, drop me a line and let’s see if we can meet there.


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