Supposing you had a crystal ball for smart business decisions

No matter how much I'd like to argue otherwise, some decisions just can't be made from the gut.

That's why smart managers will be happy to hear that ILOG, a subsidiary of IBM, is coming out with the next generation of software applications that are intended to help managers make informed decisions about virtually every aspect of their business, including those that involve their supply chains.

So, as an example, the software could be used to set up an application to flag when a loan is a bad idea or when a loyal customer should be granted extra award points. ILOG, which is 12 years old, has 3,000 customers including Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Bank of the West, and NBC.

Here's a summary of the new applications:

  • IBM WebSphere ILOG JRules 7.0, which is an update of the main business rules management system specifically for Java integration
  • IBM WebSphere ILOG Rules for .Net 7.0, which obviously is centered on the Microsoft .Net framework
  • IBM ILOG LogicNet Plus XE 7.0, which is a design and planning application that you can use to measure the carbon footprint of your supply chain including production, transportation, warehousing and other costs. So, for example, you could set rules to limit the amount of carbon emissions your company will tolerate. This module also includes support for calculating the tax implications of different decisions
  • IBM ILOG Plant PowerOps 3.2, for production planning and scheduling. Benefits of the update include specific features to help reduce inventory and changeover costs.

All of the new ILOG products are supposed to be available in the second quarter of 2009.

Derek Nelson, product manager for ILOG, declined to provide any pricing information for the software, saying only that the majority of ILOG's customers are larger enterprises. Some consulting services, to set rules, may also be required to help your teams set up rules that are useful for the needs of your unique company.

You could think of enterprise applications like ILOG and even the software I wrote about yesterday from PlanetMetrics as the next wave of practical business intelligence, enabling you to dig into relevant data points that let your teams move almost as quickly as if they were going with their gut.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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