May 21, 2007 10:37 AM PDT

IBM simulates business software in 3D game

IBM simulates business software in 3D game
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Call it "SOA" for the gaming generation.

IBM on Monday introduced a three-dimensional video game that puts a businessperson in a virtual office with the task of constructing a more efficient company.

The game, called Innov8, is meant to address a lack of skills in understanding and improving a company's internal business processes.

Process improvement is a critical component to service-oriented architectures (SOA), a way of designing software as a series of interlinked, modular business services. The software for modeling and running this modular software is called business process management, or BPM.

Images: Where 3D gaming meets SOAs

Innov8 stems from a business school contest where students were asked to come up with good ways to educate business and IT people on BPM and SOA concepts, said Sandy Carter, vice president of SOA and WebSphere strategy and marketing.

"To get business and IT people (to understand BPM), you need to look at a simulator or game. It's the way people learn today--it has to be visual and they want to have fun. And the businesspeople said they like to compete," Carter said.

In the game, a person is given a series of tasks from the CEO, including understanding a single business process, then finding the bottlenecks that slow it down.

Participants use a joystick to navigate around a virtual office where they can speak to other employees--say, in the call center operation--and report back to executives.

In the end, workers are assessed with a score on how well they did.

IBM showed off a prototype of Innov8 at its Impact 2007 conference in Orlando, Fla., where software executives also introduced enhancements to SOA-related products and services.

Carter said she expects the first version of Innov8 to be done in September. IBM intends to make online versions for gaming environments like Second Life, which will allow people to share scores and compete with people online.

A lack of skills in modular system design and process analysis is a problem for IBM, which is relying on its software business for the bulk of its earnings growth. Customers' knowledge of their business and technical environment is integral to sales of IBM's software and services, according to IBM.

When undertaking an SOA project, companies typically do a survey of their business processes and write software so that individual services, such as checking a customer's credit score, can be combined more easily with other processes.

Although IBM sells almost exclusively to business customers, its technology directors have heartily embraced virtual game environments. Over the past year, employees have been holding virtual meetings in Second Life, for example.

Other applications of immersive 3D gaming environments in business include design simulation of physical goods, like cars, according to IBM executives.

See more CNET content tagged:
SOA, BPM, business process, IBM Corp., business software

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Secondlife appears to most as to be a laundering virtual world, is that the FCC take on it, some say give me a break, I say investigate more....................

IF THAT BE THE CASE, WHY IS THAT IT TAKES ACTUAL USD MONEY IN ORDER TO GET LINDEN DOLLARS, FURTHERMORE, YOU CAN HAVE THE LINDEN DOLLARS CONVERTED BACK INTO USD, SO GIVE ME A BREAK, WHEN INVESTIGATING, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ALL THE FACTS AND THE FCC IS STILL INVESTIGATING SECOND LIFE, AND LINDENS............

THEY HAVE A TENDENCY TO TAKE ONES MONIES AND THEN SUSPEND THEIR ACCOUNT. WHY IS THAT, WHY IS IT THAT THEY ARE TRYING TO SELL OUT TO IBM CAUSE OF FINANCIAL DISTRESS............. WHY IS IT THAT MULTIPLES OF THEIR EMPS ARE LINKING OUT COMPANY BUSINESS, FOR REASON BEING OF NO JOB SECURITY........... COME ON NOW, GET WITH THE PROGRAM, I LOVE SECOND LIFE, HOWEVER, THERE ARE A LOT OF SITUATIONS GOING ON OTHER THAN JUST GAMBLING.......

FOR EXAMPLE, THE ROLE PLAY OF SOME PEOPLE CHOICE, THEY FORCING THEM TO MOVE TO A REMOTE LOCATION, WHEN IN FACT THEY PAID FOR THE SPOT THEY ARE IN, WHY OH SO A MORE NON MATURE NATURE OF PEOPLE CAN DO WHAT THEY WANT, BUT WHO IS SPENDING MORE OF THEY HARD EARN MONEY TO ENJOY A GAME, THAT IS NOT ALLOWING THEM TO DO SO...........IT IS TO THAT EXTENT THAT MOST ARE CONTEMPLATING LEAVING AND GOING TO A VIRTUAL WORLD OF FREEDOM, AND FREEDOM TO SPEND THEIR MONEY AS THEY CHOSE, YOU CAN GET ME ON A GAME AND USE MY MONEY AS YOU THINK IT SHOULD BE USED, COME ON NOW THAT IS MORE LIKE LAUNDERING, TO BE PRECISE...........
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