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Progress Software Corp: On the cutting edge

To make data collected by the Curiosity Rover more accessible and usable for scientists, Nasa adopted Progress's Telerik software to help build a more intuitive web application.

PROGRESS Software Corporation is a Nasdaq-listed multinational that offers the leading platform for developing and deploying mission-critical business applications. It empowers enterprises and independent software vendors to build and deliver cognitive-first applications that harness big data to derive business insights and competitive advantage.

Progress offers leading technologies for easily building powerful user interfaces across any type of device, a reliable, scalable and secure backend platform to deploy modern applications, leading data connectivity to all sources, and award-winning predictive analytics that bring the power of machine learning to organisations. More than 1,700 independent software vendors, 100,000 enterprise customers and two million developers rely on Progress to power their apps.

Solutions that Progress have customised for some of the world's biggest names grappling with complex challenges daily include:

Nasa: The independent agency of the executive branch of the US Federal government is responsible for civilian space programmes as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.

Nasa's Curiosity Rover has been exploring Mars for years, collecting a giant archive of raw data in the process. To make this data more accessible and usable for scientists, Nasa adopted Progress's Telerik software to help build a more intuitive web application.

After an exhaustive search, the engineers at Nasa's Planetary Data System at Washington University finally decided to go with Progress's Telerik Ultimate suite. The engineers found that the Telerik Ultimate Suite presented Nasa with the complete package - it had all the tools and capabilities needed to make incoming data more easily assimilable and for Nasa to ensure future scalability.

eBay: Progress's proprietary software Corticon was adopted eBay transactions, rapidly evaluating thousands of business "rules" to determine if and how much to withhold, ensuring a smooth customer experience.

Rules relate to numerous complex variables, including product category, seller reputation, geographical location of both seller and buyer, regional legal regulations, transaction amounts and currencies. Corticon processes an average of 140 million business rules decisions per day.

With incredibly tight development timelines, eBay required a rules engine that could rapidly stand up to its demanding production needs. After implementing Corticon's rules engine for its escrow arrangement on its e-commerce website, eBay is working on extending the use of Corticon to other parts of its organisation.

DBS Bank Singapore: DBS chose Progress's Corticon Business Rules Management System to empower its loan-making operations with a better process, more accurate information, and improved agility. Using Corticon, DBS has been able to capture information quickly and then easily adapt processes to changing circumstances.

One of the key "back office" capabilities that supports many of these activities is credit reporting - the intelligence and skills needed to assess risk and creditworthiness for individuals and businesses.

At the turn of the 21st century, this was still largely a manual and ad hoc process, labour-intensive - and wasn't even working well.

According to Sakthidaran Swamirajan, vice-president of application management at DBS, the existing process was built around a questionnaire and was not linked to data. For example, in the old process, a relationship manager would typically asked applicants a series of questions and the applicants would give any answers as they please. The process was not linked directly to data.

According to DBS, because the bank's credit determination process was very manual and error-prone, DBS assumed higher risk and was required to hold more capital in reserve for potential bad loans.

In 2009, the company's credit process changed substantially. After briefly looking at alternative solutions, DBS chose to work with Progress, Tibco and Oracle to build a new credit determination process.

"Progress Corticon gave us the ability to change the way the credit scoring is done in DBS," said Mr Swamirajan. Progress's Corticon Business Rules Management System (BRMS), with Enterprise Data Connector, became the cornerstone of the bank's new system. DBS also employed Tibco BusinessWorks and Tibco iProcess Decisions along with an Oracle database as part of the solution.

With eight scoring models, each with hundreds of rules and factors that go into a score, the system took several months for the DBS team to develop, but the results were worth the time spent, according to Mr Swamirajan.

"With Progress's Corticon, we have been able to move at the speed of the market by implementing new rules to reflect new realities when needed. Corticon makes it easy to adopt and deploy these changes."

Toyota: When a relatively simple infrastructure change saves you US$100,000 in 24 hours, you know you've made a sound investment. That's what the Enterprise Data Management team at Toyota Motor Sales found when it introduced DataDirect Connect for ODBC (open database connectivity) to its intricate data architecture.

Toyota Motor Sales manages the marketing, sales, distribution and customer service functions of the Toyota, Lexus and Scion car lines. The immensity of Toyota Motor Sales' customer information network demands a top-notch business intelligence tool.

Toyota chose Hyperion 8 to manage and query its data stored in Oracle, SQL Server and DB2 database platforms. But Hyperion had already adopted Progress's DataDirect Connect for ODBC.

As a result, IT staff at Toyota Motor Sales now can deploy more analytical applications to more managers across more systems without worrying about data connectivity.