Deja Vu All Over Again

Deja Vu All Over Again

by Heather Hayes

To see firsthand the evolution of the decision support systems marketplace, one need only look at the history of Bitco Enterprises.

A leading IT solutions provider to value-added resellers, dealers, systems builders and integrators, Ashburn, Va.-based Bitco Enterprises came into being in August 1999 through the merger of Bitco International Inc. and Decision Support Systems Inc.

The latter was one of the top players in the decision support market in the early 1980s when the activity was a huge batch-based mainframe function, but soon left for a more profitable foray into the PC component distribution market.

But in what company officials see as deja vu all over again, Bitco Enterprises is plunging into the decision support arena. Bitco subsidiary Information Technology Systems Services recently signed an agreement with RiverLogic Inc. of Beverly, Mass., to license its Constraint Oriented Reasoning technology and to work as an integrator to deliver decision support solutions on that platform to several vertical markets, including government and health care.

"We looked at what was happening in private industry and government and saw that two major trends ? the implementation of enterprise resource planning solutions and data warehouses ? had not been as effective as people expected them to be," said Ed Pereira, a vice president of Bitco ITSS. "Organizations are asking, 'What are the ways available that allow me to run my business better?' Decision support tools will play a very important role."

ITSS officials believe there is still a great deal of opportunity in using individual decision support tools to model and simulate processes and determine organizational interdependencies.

With the RiverLogic tool, integrators and organizations can model "business processes as you see your processes, not as most decision support tools force you to look at your business," said Steve Holowach, president of Business Development Solutions of Woodland Hills, Calif., which is working with Bitco ITSS on decision support projects.

"Once you've simulated exactly what happens in your organization, benchmarked it against what is business fact and captured all the business rules, then you have a tool that can perform very powerful what-if analysis, both from an operational and a strategic standpoint," he said.

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