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Market Consolidation

-- Posted by Carole-Ann

IBM has announced their intention to buy ILOG.  This is quite interesting for the BRMS market.  Let me make a couple of comments on how this may change the dynamics.

After SAP acquired YASU last year, we all expected the beginning of a new acquisition cycle.  Platform vendors have been shopping heavily for Business Process Management (BPM) and Business Intelligence (BI), skimming the marketplace to some extent...

A sample of BPM acquisitions:

  • Filenet has been acquired by IBM
  • Fuego has been acquired by Oracle (via BEA)
  • SAP has acquired a small BPM vendor, OutlookSoft
  • Staffware has been acquired by Tibco

A sample of BI acquisitions:

  •  Oracle has acquired Hyperion
  • SAP has acquired Business Object
  • IBM has acquired Cognos

So, the YASU acquisition lead us to believe that Platform vendors were going to focus next on Business Rules Management Systems (BRMS).  IBM just confirmed that trend.  The size of the acquisition (one of two dominant players, Fair Isaac Blaze Advisor(r) being the other one of course) confirms what we have been advocating: "BRMS is a key component of the modern software architecture".

This is of course significant for us all, business rules evangelists and practitioners.  IBM weight will now expose the technology -- and actually the entire discipline -- to a greater audience.  Assuming that they are serious about getting into this business (which I do not doubt), this should boost adoption of BRMS at large.

What I find extremely exciting with this catalyst event is the prospect of elevating the debate to a whole new level.  As BRMS will become a de-facto standard piece of enterprise software, Decision Management will spread as well.  Why?  This is actually a simple answer: as more people will understand the value of automating decisions, more people will also realize they need to make better decisions.  Whether they drive those decisions from historical data using predictive analytics or they simulate and optimize those strategies in their labs, the Decision Management ecosystem will ignite the enterprise.

With the right determination on our part, and that of our followers, Decision Management may happen much sooner than anyone expected.  That is a great prospect, for all of us.

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