RESTful cloud service enables analytics-powered decisions, combining decision tables with powerful forecasting, machine learning, optimization and simulation models; supports low-code / no-code deployment in Microsoft Power Platform, Office 365 and Microsoft Azure.
INCLINE VILLAGE, NV – January 31, 2020 – Frontline Systems, developer of the Solver in desktop Microsoft Excel® and the RASON® Analytics API, has released RASON Decision Services V2020: a cloud service that enables companies to easily embed ‘intelligent decisions’ in a manual or automated business process, applying business rules and advanced analytics to reduce costs and mitigate risks, in fields ranging from manufacturing and distribution to energy, pharmaceuticals, investment and insurance.
Unlike existing ‘heavyweight’ Business Rule Management Systems, with year-long implementation schedules, six-figure budgets, and limited analytics power, RASON Decision Services enables creation of decision models powered by a full range of machine learning, optimization and simulation methods, with faster, simpler deployment thanks to best-in-class support for Office 365, Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, and Dynamics 365 via the Common Data Service, OneDrive, and CData’s Cloud Hub.
“We’ve made it easy to combine advanced analytics with business rules and decision tables for intelligent decisions” said Daniel Fylstra, Frontline’s President and CEO, “and to consume analytic model results as data – in web, mobile, server and desktop applications.”
Embracing Open Standards
Designed to be usable by business analysts and domain experts, not just data scientists and IT pros, RASON Decision Services offers easier model creation and deployment by embracing two open standards: DMN (Decision Model and Notation) and its FEEL (Friendly Enough Expression Language) from the Object Management Group – now a widely used alternative to proprietary business rules languages, and OData (Open Data Protocol), an ISO/IEC approved OASIS standard for RESTful data access – now a widely used alternative to older, on-premise methods such as ODBC (Open Data Base Connectivity). Besides enabling analytic models to easily consume OData sources, RASON produces OData endpoints for model results, enabling analytic model results as data – a key idea.
Integrating Analytics with Business Rules
RASON Decision Services provides everything needed for both advanced analytics and business rules: comprehensive data access, forecasting, text mining, machine learning, Monte Carlo simulation, and mathematical optimization. Use of a predictive model as input to a set of business rules – considered an advanced use case in older systems – is simple in RASON Decision Services, where results from any analytics method can be used in decision tables, and decision tables using FEEL, Excel formulas, and high-level RASON notation can be used for business logic inside optimization or simulation models.
Multi-Stage Workflows of Analytic Models
RASON V2020 enables users for the first time to define multiple “stages” in a single script, where a stage can perform a SQL operation, apply a data transformation, train a machine learning model, apply it to score new data, run a simulation, solve a mathematical optimization problem, or evaluate one or more linked decision tables. Results are passed between stages in a rich, standard “Indexed Data Frame” form. In Frontline’s product roadmap for RASON, such multi-stage workflows form the basis for a further facility to create reusable models, and automate both scheduled runs and on-demand use of such models.
OData Endpoints for Analytic Model Results
As a REST API, RASON accepts analytic models in JSON and returns results of solving these models in JSON; in RASON V2020 this is extended to multi-stage workflows of analytic models. But V2020 goes further: It automatically creates an OData endpoint for the results from solving an analytic model. While it’s easy for a newly-written Web or mobile application to consume RASON results in JSON, OData can be even better – since many popular Microsoft tools already consume OData feeds “out of the box.” By surfacing analytic model results as data this way, RASON enables many integration tasks to be done with no code at all. For example, a Power BI user can simply “point” to a RASON OData endpoint URL, then visualize, “slice and dice” analytic model results in a wide range of tables, charts and dashboards.
Rich Support for Power Platform, Office 365 and Azure
RASON aims to be the best decision management solution for companies with applications built on the “Microsoft technology stack,” by greatly simplifying model creation, data access and model deployment.
RASON V2020 makes it exceptionally easy to work with data sources in the Microsoft ecosystem:
- OneDrive and OneDrive for Business for Office 365
- Common Data Service for Dynamics 365, Power Apps, and Power Automate
- OData and CDS support for Power BI
- CData Cloud Hub support for access to 100+ enterprise data sources
RASON handles authentication and data source authorization using Microsoft Identity Management and OAuth2 standards, and maintains data access credentials in Azure “vaults” for information security.
Analytic Solver V2020, Frontline’s best-selling tool for building optimization, simulation and data mining models in Microsoft Excel – itself a modern, cloud-based “Office add-in” – can convert many Excel analytic models into RASON notation with just two mouse clicks. The RASON portal at https://rason.com and the scalable REST API server at https://rason.net both run on Microsoft Azure.
Model Management, Versioning and Logging
RASON V2020 also introduces new REST APIs for model management, including a way to maintain multiple versions of the same model, and designate certain versions as “champion” and “challenger” models – from machine learning to optimization, simulation, and decision table models. It also offers enhanced logging of analytic model runs and easy use of log results, through a new OData endpoint.
Free Trials, Learning and Coaching Resources
Business analysts and developers can sign up for free trial accounts to evaluate RASON Decision Services at Rason.com. They can use tools to compose RASON models, exercise the REST API, try out dozens of example models illustrating use of decision tables, predictive models and machine learning, optimization and simulation, and download the RASON User Guide and Reference Guide in PDF form.
Rason.com makes it easy to get started with RASON Decision Services, at no cost or risk. But Frontline Systems can offer help, through the firm’s consulting partners, to companies who need a solution, but may have limited experience with advanced analytics, decision tables or REST APIs. For information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frontline Systems Inc. (www.solver.com) is the alternative to analytics complexity, helping business analysts and managers gain insights and make better decisions for an uncertain future, without the cost, delays and risk of ‘big vendor’ tools. Its products integrate forecasting and data mining for “predictive analytics,” Monte Carlo simulation and risk analysis, and conventional and stochastic optimization for “prescriptive analytics.” Founded in 1987, Frontline is based in Incline Village, Nevada (775-831-0300).
Microsoft Excel, Office 365, Dynamics 365, Power BI, Power Apps, and Power Automate are trademarks of Microsoft Corp. CData Cloud Hub is a trademark of CData Software Inc. RASON® and Analytic Solver® are registered trademarks of Frontline Systems Inc.