ILOG, now an IBM company, announced enhanced business rules management and supply chain management offerings. Ease-of-authoring is one of the goals of the software, which carries forward the independent ILOG's program to support both Java and .NET.
Now known as IBM WebSphere ILOG JRules 7.0, the JRules Java-based business rules management system from ILOG pursues the on-going trend to make business rules authoring easier, thus putting it in the hands of a wider group of users. It provides ILOG's Rule Solutions for Office integration with Microsoft Office Word and Excel, a very ubiquitous client platform. This release is also said to include improvements for managing and automating decisions in legacy mainframe applications.
Meanwhile, a rules engine for the Microsoft .NET platform adds ILOG BRMS rule repository and Web-based IBM WebSphere ILOG Rule Team Server support. With the software, rules can be deployed as so-called ''Transparent Decision Services'' for use in service-oriented architectures, according to the company.
"The two systems were siloed. Now, we have converged key components so they can be used by either platform," he said. The two engines can use a plug-in to Word, and a document type known as Rule Doc to enable Microsoft Office users to create rules. These can be imported back into the systems' rules repository, where they can be managed.
JRules has decisions validation services, said Stineman, it includes rule testing and simulation. Previously one had to go into a rules scenario manager to work with these tests. Now users can do testing in the same environment to make sure rules are authored correctly, as well to see the outcome of a change.
A software rule, like most any other software type, has a way of behaving differently when used in different combinations. ILOG's system allows people to query versus a variety of different parameters to see what rules fired in specific situations.
"People can see what rule was fired in terms of its business syntax," said Stineman.
As the focus on Word support shows, you can count ILOG among the rules vendors that see more of the rules authoring task moving to the business side. "When we think of business rules management, it continues to be about empowering business users, business leaders, and other non-technical people," said IBM ILOG's Kramer Reeves, manager of BPM product marketing.