Intentia and Dash Associates Team Up

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Intentia and Dash Associates Team Up
S. McVey - September 9th, 1999

Event Summary

Stockholm-based Intentia, the third largest enterprise software vendor in Europe, and UK-based Dash Associates have teamed up to enhance the capabilities of Intentia's optimizer by the incorporation of XPRESS-MP modeler and optimizer components. The collaboration aims at providing highly accurate solutions to complex, real-world planning problems in the shortest possible times. Intentia plans to have integrated XPRESS-MP into its supply chain management functionality as early as the end of 1999 (70% probability).

Market Impact

The Intentia-Dash collaboration mirrors a long-standing trend in the enterprise marketplace in which vendors with broad-featured product suites partner with best-of-breed technology shops in order to impart a degree of depth to one or more aspects of their suites. A more familiar example is SAP's 1998 investment in ILOG S.A., in which the ERP giant acquired a 5% stake in return for the use of ILOG's advanced algorithms in its APO supply chain suite. Companies like Dash and ILOG have created a market in licensing advanced algorithms to larger ERP and SCM (Supply Chain Management) vendors. The interaction is symbiotic in that:

  1. Intentia gains best-of-breed optimization functionality to complement its Movex supply chain management and APP (Advanced Production Planner) applications and improves its marketability. Well-known in Europe, Intentia may become more attractive to North American companies provided that the integration is successful; optimization tends to be a strong differentiator among enterprise software vendors.

  2. Dash Associates obtains additional capital for pursuing acquisitions of its own and/or funding internal development projects.

User Recommendations

As any mathematician will confirm, optimization routines produce a truly "optimal" result only in a very limited set of circumstances - few, if any of which arise in real-world situations. Frequently, it is necessary to combine rigorous LP, IP, and MILP algorithms with some sort of heuristics ("rules-of-thumb") that serve to "nudge" the algorithms to a solution that, while not a true optimum, is "good enough". Otherwise, routines would doggedly search through the near infinite number of possibilities, failing to ever produce an adequate result. Advanced algorithms are being used more and more by software vendors to enhance their functionality and thereby, the attractiveness of their products. Users need to be sure that the state-of-the-art optimization routines touted by the vendor are usable in that they can solve real, complex planning problems within a feasible period.


LP - Linear Programming: Algorithms designed for problems involving real numbers, i.e., quantities that must be expressed using fractional values. Examples: cost, weight, product concentration.

IP - Integer Programming: Algorithms designed to solve problems involving only integers, i.e., discrete units. Examples: "widgets", orders, days.

MILP - Mixed Integer Linear Programming: combination of IP and LP.


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