Analytics & Optimization How can a business rules solution enable compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA or similar?

Sep132005

A formalized, auditable collection of rules for collecting and acting upon information is central to the requirements of regulatory mandates such as Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA. Companies must ensure and enforce compliance by every employee, for every transaction, and in every automated system. With traditional programming techniques, logic on how a program should behave is hard coded into each individual system. So if a corporate policy needs to be changed (because of a new law or increased reporting requirements), each program must be examined, recoded, tested, and redeployed to production. A business rules product such as Blaze Advisor allows the logic that controls such requirements to be stored in a single location, where it can be reviewed, updated, audited, and accessed by multiple computer programs. Since the logic is not duplicated in multiple programming systems, it is consistent and up to date for use throughout the company. In a real world scenario, this could mean things like proper privacy warnings posted and audit logs generated for...

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Analytics & Optimization The Changing User Interface

Sep132005

This article InformationWeek > User Interfaces > The Changing User Interface > September 5, 2005 has an interesting section on AJAX - the combination of Javascript and HTML/XML to generate very dynamic web pages. The one downside with this approach, as practiced by most, is the replication of business rules into user interface code. Thus rules about, say, when I need to have a particular piece of data and when I do not (ask about Hurricane shutters in Florida but not in California) get embedded into Javascript - not the world's most accessible language for business users. What if, instead, you could manage the business rules that impact your user interface in the same way as you manage business rules that execute on your server and GENERATE the AJAX components you need from there? This would let you: Manage business rules once Deploy them to any platform, server or client Allow business users to manage business rules about user interaction without learning Javascript Move rules from client to server as you needed to Use the same rules...

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Analytics & Optimization Insurance Underwriting – pushing decisions to the point of contact

Sep092005

Auto Club Group, a AAA insurer, has used business rules to automate underwriting decisions - a classic business rules scenario. LIke many insurers they were manually reviewing 100% of their policy requests.As they expanded into new markets they needed to make independent agents prefer to work with them and they needed to keep their costs under control while growing their business. All of this in a heavily regulated market with different laws and restrictions in each of the states in which they did business - on top of federal laws and company policies. Auto Club Group came to InterACT, Fair Isaac's show, in October of 2004. Here they heard the Hartford talk about using business rules to automate underwriting for the first time. 9 months later they were live and 12 months later they were able to come to InterACT 2005 and present the results! 99% of their policies are now underwritten automatically, their business has grown 35% and the number of independent agents joining their network has tripled. Not bad for the first year of a new system! A detailed case study...

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Analytics & Optimization Competing on Analytics

Sep092005

This article on Competing on Analytics in DM Review caught my eye today. In it Jim Ericson discusses a report by Tom Davenport on using analytics for competition. While some of the aspects of competition that they discuss driving analytically are suitable targets for "traditional" BI (like M&A), some really require moving beyond that to what I call Enterprise Decision Management. Companies need to build a decisioning backbone that not only automates key customer-facing, high-volume transactions but allows them to compete by adding analytics to this backbone. "Among the leaders, Davenport has identified common traits: strong senior executive advocacy of analysis and fact based solutions; the use of predictive modeling and complex optimization techniques; analytic approaches across multiple functions or processes; and movement toward an enterprise level analytical strategy."Clearly to deliver predictive models across multiple processes as part of an enterprise strategy you need a technology backbone for managing these analytically-improved...

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Analytics & Optimization Is Orchestration tailor-made for business rules?

Sep082005

In his posting SOA=Orchestration, David Linthicum said, among other things, "Orchestration is a godlike control mechanism that's able to put our SOA to work, as well as provide a point of control. Orchestration layers allow you to change the way your business functions, as needed, to define or redefine any business process on-the-fly. This provides the business with the flexibility and agility needed to compete today." and "Orchestration must provide dynamic, flexible, and adaptable mechanisms to meet the changing needs of the domain. This is accomplished through the separation of process logic and the back-end services employed." As you read this you can immediately see the value of business rules. Business rules management systems: Offer a single point of control for managing business rules, something your orchestration layer needs Support change on the fly by the people who understand the business, the people who know how your business functions should evolve Deliver real business agility by reducing the time it takes to change the way...

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Risk & Compliance Sarbannes-Oxley Ideas and Suggestions

Sep082005

Two recent postings on Search CIO around work AMR did on Sarbannes-Oxley caught my eye today - SOX: Seven steps to CYA and SOX: New rules for year two. In these John Hagerty of AMR makes a couple of great points:In addition to reducing employee time, automated testing of controls enables companies to stop bad things from happening as they occur, not after the fact. To do this, companies can embed testing of internal controls right into the business processes themselves...Now this is a clear call to use business rules, at least to me. The advantage of automation is clear from the articles but what is the additional advantage of automating with a business rules management system? Business rules can be numerous, especially for larger more complex companies. Business rules management systems have the repository, reporting etc you need to MANAGE these rules, not just implement them. As John points out "SOX is a process, not a project" - you will have to evolve over time. This kind of compliance tends to be better understood by those executing the process...

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