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IBM to acquire ILOG

News from IBM: they are set to acquire ILOG. Among other things, ILOG makes CPLEX, one of the best linear and integer programming codes out there. Together with the previous purchase of Dash by Fair-Isaac, this means much of the operations research software world has changed hands in the last few months. It is interesting that most of the announcement is about rules, not optimization:

When completed, the acquisition of ILOG will strengthen IBM’s BPM and SOA position by providing customers a full set of rule management tools for complete information and application lifecycle management across a comprehensive platform including IBM’s leading WebSphere application development and management platform.

BPM allows companies to model, automate, monitor, and redesign business processes, such as opening a bank account, documenting a medical record, or customizing an insurance policy. It enables companies to improve customers’ service and increase efficiency, automation and accuracy. Using BPM, companies can examine tasks within an organization – particularly those done manually or involving significant document processing – and apply BPM to automate or streamline them. Such processes are becoming increasingly critical as business operations become more complex and information volumes grow at phenomenal rates. Building on IBM’s existing capabilities, ILOG will help customers manage change and complexity in their business processes by providing powerful, yet easy-to-use business tools.

For example, a business rule might be applied to elevate a premier customer to the front of a phone queue as part of a customer service process. ILOG’s Business Rule Management System provides users with tools that allow greater control over the criteria that determine how and when to route those premier customers. As such, businesses can accelerate the process of initiating policy changes that may be driven by market trends or competitive activity to ensure customer satisfaction is maintained.

ILOG technology has the potential to add significant capability across IBM’s entire software platform and bolster its existing rules management offerings. This includes improved rules and business optimization capabilities for Information Management offerings, better visualization for Lotus products, enhanced optimization within Tivoli solutions, and efficient supply chain management assets for planning and scheduling.

Stay tuned for the effect this has on CPLEX and the optimization world.  Note that this combination has to step through some regulatory hurdles, so it will be a few months (end of the year?) before ILOG people become IBMers.

{ 8 } Comments

  1. Anurag Verma | July 28, 2008 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    As a person who has used CPLEX for academic purposes, the news sounds saddening. For some reason acquisition of products one associates with doesn’t seem good.

  2. John Gregory | July 28, 2008 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    In response to Anurag Verma’s comment: some readers may be unaware of IBM’s decades-long commitment to the academic OR community. I see no reason to look at the news of this agreement in any but a positive light for researchers and educators.

  3. Greg Glockner | July 28, 2008 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Mike: I had the same reaction about the emphasis on business rules.

  4. Michael Trick | July 28, 2008 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    In fact, given IBM’s strong support for open source, I’m looking forward to CPLEX being open sourced in no time at all! OK, probably won’t happen, but IBM does seem to be a very good home. One possible worry: IBM (like Fair-Isaac) is not really a “product” company. Can they market the software?

  5. Matthew Saltzman | July 28, 2008 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Whether IBM can open CPLEX will depend on the agreements they make with ILOG and CPLEX principals to obtain it and whether there are prior agreements for technology in CPLEX that will have to be honored, as well as whether they want to continue it as a proprietary product–which depends on what they think the market is.

    I believe part of the reason they didn’t open OSL had to do with such obligations. (That’s also the reason nVidia claims they can’t open their video card drivers.)

  6. Anurag Verma | July 28, 2008 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for pointing that out. Being new to OR, I’m still not very aware of the who’s who in the community.

  7. Irv Lustig | July 29, 2008 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    See this article for analysis and quotes.

  8. Haluk Akin | July 29, 2008 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    I wonder how they will make sure knowledge does not flow between COIN-OR and CPLEX.

{ 8 } Trackbacks

  1. [...] CPLEX’in sahibi ILOG’u satın almak için görüşmelere başladığını duyurdu. Michael Trick’in de kendi blog’unda ayrıntılı olarak yer verdiği gelişme yöneylem araştırması açısından büyük önem [...]

  2. [...] other ILOG products. For example, Professor Michael Trick – a past president of INFORMS – wrote: “It is interesting that most of the announcement is about rules, not optimization.” This concern is echoed in the reader comments that follow Trick’s article. Since hearing the [...]

  3. [...] is also relevant to the recent IBM/ILOG acquisition.  We’d all love to hear from the ILOGers and IBMers on what they think it means.  I would [...]

  4. [...] by JDA Software for $346, continuing a wave of acquisitions in the optimization world (including ILOG and Dash). While this acquisition stays within the “supply chain optimization” space, [...]

  5. [...] October 13. I have been asked to note that CPLEX is sold by ILOG, not IBM.  You can see some past posts on the proposed acquistion of ILOG by IBM, but that has not yet been approved by the powers that [...]

  6. [...] the world of OR, this year will go down as a year full of flux in the commercial world.  ILOG is acquired by IBM (not quite yet, but things are underway); Dash is acquired by Fair-Isaac; Gurobi announces its [...]

  7. [...] “Official Response Document” that ILOG prepared responding to IBM’s offer is fascinating reading.  I particularly liked the “Historical Background” (pages 5-10) [...]

  8. [...] hate to be a broken record on this (there is an archaic metaphor), but note the URL for the IBM site with information on the [...]