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Some closing thoughts on IBM IMPACT 2011


I am back home after a couple of days at IBM IMPACT 2011 in Las Vegas and as promised here are a couple of closing thoughts.

  1. Decision Management has gone mainstream
    IBM put Decision Management front and center alongside Business Process Management. For someone like me who has been writing and talking about Decision Management for 9 years this is a dramatic validation of the approach and the market. The key ideas that decisions (especially operational micro decisions) are first class objects, that managing processes will work better if you manage decisions alongside them and that managing decisions require both business rules and analytics came through loud and clear at IMPACT.
  2. ILOG has gone viral at IBM
    It seemed that barely a minute went by without someone telling me that such-and-such a product is now embedding the ILOG rules engine or will be soon. IBM is clearly focusing both on maximizing the use of the ILOG engine and syntax (after all, business rules get everywhere). But IBM is also clear that there is a difference between embedding rules (in the new Business Process Manager 7.5 for example) and managing decisions using rules (for which you would still use the ILOG Business Rules Management System). Hopefully they will bite the bullet and rename it the ILOG Decision Management System before too long.
  3. Analytics is no longer restricted to the Information Management business at IBM
    Technically the SPSS and Cognos folks are not part of the WebSphere business unit that presents IMPACT. Yet analytics, the value of analytics and the need to adopt and integrated predictive analytics came up repeatedly. Great to see IBM crossing its own internal boundaries in this respect and integrating Cognos with Business Process Manager 7.5, SPSS with ILOG and more. We need to end this separation of operational and analytic systems and IBM is making the right initial moves in this regard.
  4. Consulting is catching up with model-based development
    IBM has a great set of model-based tools for developing systems – process models, rule models, analytic models. At IMPACT they announced a new methodology for their Global Services consulting force that takes advantage of these tools and approaches. For an area like Decision Management that often enables/drives major business innovation, an integrated consulting approach is important.
  5. Customers adopting BRMS and Decision Management get results that impress people
    As I blogged and tweeted from the show about the results customers got from using business rules management and Decision Management I got a lot of “wow” comments about the results. But these results (like those from Nationwide, If or W&W) were impressive, they are typical of what I see with successful Decision Management projects. This stuff works.

Can’t wait to see how far we have got by IMPACT 2012…


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Brett Stineman April 26, 2011, 4:14 pm


    I referenced your IMPACT posts and added one additional customer session on the IBM Good Decision! blog. You closing thoughts summarize what I saw and heard at the event. Now, to keep the DM drumbeat going!