Unum's selection process was designed to find a business-rules engine suitable for widespread deployment—a true enterprise-class, business-rules engine—as well as one that would meet their key requirements. Unum looked at seven vendors and asked several to implement specific rules as a proof of concept. With all the other vendors Unum evaluated "rules still looked like code," and Unum found they had to invest hours in setup before they could even begin to implement rules. Based on their evaluation, Unum selected the Progress® Corticon® BRMS for the Simply Unum project. Unum found a number of unique features in Corticon BRMS:
- Automated Quality Assurance—Unique Corticon analysis tools helped to ensure the rules were right in a way that was understandable to business people.
- Integrated Design-time Testing—The business-friendly Corticon testing environment enables non-technical rule authors to verify the business intent of rules.
- Automated Generation of Deployment Artifacts—The model-driven Corticon architecture automatically generates executable decision services from rule models and other supporting deployment artifacts such as WSDLs, supporting Unum's vision of separate business and IT roles.
- Streamlined Rule Authoring—The Corticon 100% declarative, spreadsheet-easy rule modeling, one-click analysis tools and business-friendly testing eliminated hand-offs and made development and maintenance faster.
Unum found that business systems architects and analysts were productive with the Corticon Studio immediately after standard three-day Corticon training. Rule authoring involved identifying rules through facilitated sessions with multiple users and capturing the business rule logic directly in Corticon Studio. This was a big improvement for Unum as they previously had serious problems expressing rules.
In the past Unum had built various tools to collect business rules and terms, including Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word and even custom-developed use case templates and an enterprise data model for terms. None of these tools worked well, and the enterprise data model remained foreign to many on the business side of the organization. The ease with which rules could be documented and managed in Corticon contrasted strongly with this previous experience.
Unum purchased Corticon BRMS and rolled out the first production applications in mid 2007. In addition to Corticon BRMS for rules, Unum's SOA architecture includes TIBCO's iProcess for workflow, Exstream Dialogue for managing interactive documents, Microsoft BizTalk for integration to legacy systems, and Microsoft .NET for code-based customization. Unum's architecture delivers a unified, model-driven, service-oriented architecture that supports all their enterprise IT systems.
Using Corticon BRMS, Unum has developed true application-agnostic decision services, thus maximizing reuse and agility. With 63 decision services now in production, Unum reuses Corticon BRMS within TIBCO iProcess for process-based decisions, as well as directly with .NET applications and Microsoft BizTalk.
Business decisions from a number of domains have been automated using the Corticon BRMS. Customer acquisition, self-service, contact management, benefit administration and product specification have already been implemented, with benefits (claims) underway. In addition, decisions for some technical domains such as workflow, orchestration and document generation have also been automated. For instance, business rules are applied to workflow data and case data to make decisions to route an application to an auto-enrollment process or an interactive enrollment process.
Corticon managed decision services support many business functions across the Unum group of companies, and Unum has been delighted with the system to-date. The ease of use and transparency of Corticon mean that business analysts are fully empowered to manage business rules that comprise business decisions, leading to much faster turnaround on changes. For instance, one rule change had been estimated at 40 hours of development effort using the old approach. The whole change was complete and in production in one day using Corticon. This involved just 15 minutes of rule authoring, complete with logical analysis that highlighted three incomplete scenarios in the rule definition. Using Corticon eliminated a costly rework cycle had these problems not been found at rule authoring time.
Before the Simply Unum project, a customer could wait eight weeks after a price quote was accepted and before their policy was issued; now it takes as little as a week. Changes that would have taken weeks can be made in days even including all the necessary IT governance and controls. And changes are made with accuracy and confidence now, thanks to the model-driven approach and rule verification built into Corticon.