ILOG (NASDAQ: ILOG; Euronext: ILO, ISIN: FR0004042364) today announced the first business rule management system (BRMS) to make it practical for business and IT professionals to collaborate in managing business policies across the enterprise. With ILOG JRules 5.0, ILOG has taken the lead in providing a collaboration platform for all the stakeholders in the policy management process - IT professionals, business people and systems administrators.
All too often there is an awkward relationship between business executives and IT professionals within an organisation as both groups balance a need for business staff to control business policies and IT staff to control complicated and sometimes fragile IT systems. A BRMS is part of an important trend aimed at bringing business people closer to the systems that control their business by giving them an active role in maintaining software, specifically, automating essential business policies and regulations. Industry analysts have indicated the potential for technologies, like a BRMS, to enhance collaboration between these two groups that can be misaligned at best.
"The need for time-to-market response to business change is overwhelming, and it is putting a tremendous amount of pressure on businesses, including increased regulatory change. These pressures will require that business people become more active participants in the IT process," said James G. Sinur, Gartner vice president and research fellow. "Enabling business users to change a few critical business rules with a change cycle that bypasses the lengthy software change cycle certainly helps businesses react faster. Meanwhile, diligent collaboration will be required between business and the IS organisation for rule definition and management, calling for better tools and methods to enable this collaboration."
BRMS are becoming essential elements of IT projects for businesses worldwide, particularly redesign and re-architecting initiatives, because they address the challenges created by faster business cycles and change and aging software architectures that can't accommodate change quickly enough. By allowing business users - and not just IT staff - to make changes to the IT infrastructure in real-time, as business conditions and strategies change, these tools are becoming critical for achieving business agility across the enterprise.
CONCURRENT RULE CREATION BY DEVELOPERS, BUSINESS USERS
New features in ILOG JRules 5.0 allow business and IT professionals to work together more collaboratively - including the ability for both groups to work concurrently. Unlike other business rule solutions on the market, the new version of ILOG JRules supports collaboration on several versions of a business application at the same time, providing features to support concurrent rule development by IT development teams and rule management by policy managers. This collaboration is possible because ILOG JRules 5.0 includes first-ever support for repository merging through a combination of enhancements to the rule repository, query tool, and new best practices. Without ILOG JRules 5.0, development teams and policy managers cannot efficiently reconcile the changes each team makes to a business application over its lifetime.
"As the world leader in corrective lenses, Essilor is providing 60 million lenses per year that have to meet very unique requirements and combinations, representing a very wide range of manufacturing cost options. ILOG JRules' latest enhancements will help take our cost management to a whole new level of automation," said Philippe Marchan, IT director for the Finance Division, Essilor. "The new JRules not only allows us to extend the life of our existing financial mission-critical applications and improve business processes across the organisation, but it also enables more productive team collaboration. From a productivity standpoint, this is huge."
FIRST-EVER SUPPORT FOR MISSION-CRITICAL, 24x7 BUSINESS APPLICATIONS
In addition to being the first to acknowledge and address the role of systems administrators in the policy management process, ILOG JRules 5.0 introduces the Business Rule Execution (BRE) Server, the first rule execution environment to support the needs of mission-critical production applications. Using BRE Server, deployment of new business rules is greatly simplified by allowing system administrators to easily deploy new rulesets in a 24x7 application.
It also allows administrators, who manage system performance and resources, to monitor business rule execution in the environment they use to monitor all business applications, including system management tools like IBM Tivoli or HP OpenView. For the first time, administrators have the necessary visibility and remote control to manage rule execution within specific service levels. These features are critical for companies that have high-availability (24/7) service expectations, including service-level agreements with customers, and need to be able to monitor and track performance and availability.