Frontline Systems’ RASON® Simplifies Decision Management for Firms Using Azure, Office/Excel, Power Platform, Dynamics

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Cloud platform enables business analysts and web/mobile developers to ‘speak a common language’, easily create, manage and govern analytics-powered RESTful decision services using optimization, Monte Carlo simulation, data mining and machine learning, rules and decision tables.

A multi-stage prediction and decision flow in RASON can be created "point and click" in the DMN DRD-style Diagram Editor.

RASON Diagram Editor

We’re enabling organizations to ‘move beyond Excel’, easily deploy analytics in the cloud, and govern both data and models – while still leveraging their Excel modeling skills -- yielding results and ROI faster, with less cost and risk.

Frontline Systems has released a major new version of RASON® Decision Services, its cloud service on Azure, that enables companies to easily embed ‘decision intelligence’ in activities ranging from annual or quarterly planning to everyday business processes – yielding reduced costs and risks, in fields ranging from manufacturing and distribution to energy, pharmaceuticals, investment and insurance.

RASON empowers users – both analysts and developers – to create, ‘publish’ and manage analytic models as RESTful decision services, easily usable in Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, or any application that can consume JSON or OData. Models can be written in RASON’s own high-level modeling language embedded in JSON, or created in standard Excel workbooks using Analytic Solver®, Frontline’s toolset for Excel for the Web, Windows and Macintosh.

“We’re enabling organizations to ‘move beyond Excel’, easily deploy analytics in the cloud, and govern both data and models – while still leveraging their Excel modeling skills” said Daniel Fylstra, Frontline’s President and CEO. “These analytics projects yield results and ROI much faster, with less cost and risk.”

Excel Workbook Models Run Directly as Cloud Services

New in this release, Excel workbook models of arbitrary size and complexity built with Analytic Solver, that solve optimization, simulation and risk analysis, data mining and machine learning, or business rule and decision table problems can be “used as-is” on the RASON Server, supplied with new data from 100+ cloud data sources, and run, governed and managed as RESTful cloud decision services. As an extra benefit of the latest Analytic Solver release, workbooks originally created for desktop-only use with @RISK, a popular Excel add-in for risk analysis from Palisade Corporation, can be converted to run as RASON cloud services.

Management, Monitoring, and Security of Analytic Models

RASON models can be created, updated, and run via simple REST API calls from nearly any modern application. Users can get started at Rason.com, a ‘web portal’ for the REST API, that also provides browser-based text and diagram editors, and tools for managing secure data connections and API tokens. RASON or Excel models can be ‘published’ – point and click without any coding – for use as live models on Power BI and Tableau dashboards. They can be easily used from Microsoft Power Apps, Power Automate, and Dynamics 365 by leveraging RASON’s direct support for the Common Data Service.

Models can be managed, and model runs can be monitored via simple REST API calls. RASON includes automatic ‘versioning’ of models, and support for ‘champion and challenger’ versions. Models are maintained in Azure containers, while data access credentials are maintained in Azure vaults. Tokens used to access RASON REST APIs can be created using OAuth 2.0 PKCE standards. And on Azure, models and data are always encrypted in motion and encrypted at rest.

Multi-Stage ‘Decision Flows’ Automatically Run Analytic Models

RASON enables users to easily define multi-stage ‘decision flows’, 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. RASON uses an in-memory SQL database engine, plus “smart evaluation” to run only the stages that have new input data, to execute these multi-stage flows as efficiently as possible.

New in this release, RASON offers a graphical diagram editor, based on the DMN standard for DRDs (Decision Requirements Diagrams), to create or modify multi-stage flows “point and click”. The user can switch between graphical and JSON text views at any time.

RASON models and multi-stage flows can be executed “on demand” as decision services via REST API calls, or scheduled for automatic execution. Users can either specify days/times to run, or just say “how recently” each model or stage must have been run to be considered up-to-date.

Results from solving RASON models are always available as both simple JSON responses, and as more structured OData feeds – enabling easy use of analytic model results as data – a key idea.

Free Trials, Learning and Coaching Resources

Business analysts and developers can sign up for free trial accounts to evaluate Analytic Solver and RASON together at https://www.solver.com, or RASON alone at https://rason.com. They can use tools to create and solve models in Excel and RASON, 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 Analytic Solver and RASON User Guides and Reference Guides in PDF form. For more information or an online demo please contact sales@solver.com.

Frontline Systems Inc. (http://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 for risk analysis, conventional and stochastic optimization for “prescriptive analytics,” and business rules and Excel calculations to make the best business decisions. 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. @RISK is a trademark of Palisade Corp. RASON® and Analytic Solver® are registered trademarks of Frontline Systems Inc.

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Daniel Fylstra
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