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IBM and ILOG for a smarter planet


One of IBM’s big initiatives is their focus on a smarter planet. One of the ways IBM could really use ILOG is to make the construction of smarter systems (or smart (enough) systems) easier and faster. To illustrate what I mean I took some quotes from Sam Palmisano’s Smarter Planet speech

our world is becoming instrumented

Absolutely and now IBM make it easy for companies to build the kinds of systems that will let them exploit that instrumentation. After all, most input from instrumentation does not require a response but it is important you can quickly determine the ones that do. Business rules are perfect for this as they allow business users to specify which ones matter (and who else would know if not business users) and because they are declarative and atomic, making it easy to manage the very large numbers of rules you are likely to get as a result.

In an instrumented world, systems and objects can now “speak” to one another, too

But will they have anything intelligent to say? Most existing systems are as dumb as toast – all the intelligence is provided by people. This can’t continue if systems and objects are going to speak with one another intelligently. Companies need to be able to modernize their applications quickly and effectively to handle these more intlligent interactions. Rules, again.

New computing models can handle the proliferation of end-user devices, sensors and actuators and connect them with powerful back-end systems.

Which is great but only useful if the powerful back-end systems can handle the logic complexity. IBM can make the standard way companies handle complexity more effective by putting rules into everything and allowing the decisions about what to do to be properly managed alongside processes and events. The available computing power means that the focus should shift to complexity handling and business agility and that means rules (again).

turn mountains of data into intelligence. And that intelligence can be translated into action, making our systems, processes and infrastructures more efficient, more productive and responsive—in a word, smarter.

IBM is already using ILOG’s optimization products in this way and I expect that to continue but JRules also offers an ideal platform for the processing of analytic information. Not only do many data mining techniques generate rules (making an easy integration possible), but JRules supports a score card model that makes it easy to deploy more complex analytic models on a rules platform. This combines analytic power with rapid depoyment and agilty – two thinks rarely associated with analytics – but only if the information on demand and analytics technology is integrated into a JRules decision delivery capability.

IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative is a great thing and ILOG, along with decision management techniques, is going to get them there.

BTW it looks like I will be participating in a session at DIALOG on Competitive B2B and B2C Relationship Management — Setting a New Agility Standard in CRM as well as attending sessions, blogging and being available to give free advice, sign copies of Smart (Enough) Systems etc. Hope to see some of you there.


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  • Jean Pommier January 30, 2009, 8:01 am

    Right on, James! For more than 20 years, getting the world smarter through helping our customers making better decision faster has been our mantra. Joining a company 500 times our size will surely give a interesting boost. Thanks for connecting the dots and highlighting the EDM role in this area.

    On the road for a “smart enough planet” ! 😉