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Content Management Behind the Scenes: Targeting Transparency

A global law firm, a multi-agency county government and a giant energy-industry services firm demonstrate that the best approach to hiding content management complexity depends on user work habits and favored applications.

'Insuring' Success with Business Rules

As enterprises continue to move away from silo applications and towards a service-oriented paradigm, they will find it valuable to collect and manage rules centrally. Haley Systems customer Farm Bureau Financial Services reports that automated rules management helped reduce insurance transaction times by 75 percent--from days to a matter of hours--with 60 percent of 450,000 transactions in 2005 processed without manual review, up from 10 to 12 percent before the system was deployed in November 2004. Brett Clausen, vice president of underwriting and operations, says rules management has:

• Eliminated process paperwork and reduced workloads and expenses

• Cut policy issuance times

• Improved consistency in underwriting risks

• Increased adaptability and responsiveness to market and regulatory changes

• Freed underwriters to focus on exposure/ liability challenges

• Improved monitoring and management of results

The company's main deployment challenge was defining the insurance business ontology, but Haley's natural-language approach paid off: The task could be assigned to a business analyst rather than an application programmer. Haley's documentation was found lacking, but Clausen says training and patience were the keys to success.

The insurance industry is a natural for business rules management (BRM), but many businesses stand to benefit from the technology. Business rules can be integrated into custom applications and are an integrated part of business process management/automation (BPM/ BPA) solutions. The caveat, however, is that BRM is far easier to use in new systems--built from the ground up to work with rules engines--than it is to integrate with existing systems.