Made in IBM Labs: Emerging Technology Connects the Dots Between Business and IT

"Dot2Dot" Translates Business Language Into IT Language for Faster Return; Easing Common Worker Pain Point

SAN JOSE, CA - 27 Oct 2006: At IBM's (NYSE: IBM) first-ever Information on Demand conference, the company demonstrated a host of emerging technologies ( from its research and development (R&D) laboratories, including one that brings business and IT people closer together by helping them "speak" the same language.

The software technology, "Dot2Dot," was created at IBM's Silicon Valley Lab and closes the age-old communication gap between business executives and IT developers by translating requirements for new IT projects into the terminology and format that each constituency understands best. This technology has the potential to reduce the back-and-forth time spent by business and IT departments communicating and understanding each other's needs, helping achieve business objectives more efficiently.

Dot2Dot automates the information exchange between people and products used for individual applications and other IT projects. Collaborators use the tools most familiar to them, and when it is time to pass work on to the next person in the chain, the technology automatically translates the information from the tool used by the first collaborator to a context appropriate for the next collaborator. Once widely adopted, this technology could completely change the way the business communicates with the IT department, fostering teamwork, creativity and efficiency.

"Millions of dollars and frustrating exchanges are wasted in the back and forth between business people and IT developers and architects," said Mary Roth, Information Management Executive, IBM Software Group. "Transforming a spreadsheet into a modeling or programming tool is as valuable as having a translator facilitate a conversation between two people who do not speak the same language."

For example, suppose a bank account manager would like to identify her high value customers to receive priority service and special promotions. She turns to a business analyst who translates the business requirements into a technical specification for the IT staff. Traditionally, such a specification would be written as a set of high-level directions and kept in a spreadsheet or text document. The IT staff would then start the time-consuming process of reading and interpreting those directions in order to begin the work in their own software development tools to create the software. With Dot2Dot, the specification will be automatically translated into the first draft of the programming code that can be immediately loaded into the right development tool, saving hours of iterations and potential confusion and frustration.

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